A must-read for parents, teachers and all those involved in improving the state of education

A Review of Reinventing Education, Hope, and the American Dream: The Challenge for Twenty-First Century America, on Amazon.com by Thalia:

“Reinventing Education, Hope, and the American Dream: The Challenge for Twenty-First Century America’, by Mel Hawkins, provides a critical look at the current state of education in America and follows through with innovative, inspired and crucial steps to reviving the standard of education in American and, thereby, reinvigorating the future of its workforce and the standard of living throughout the nation. Hawkins argues that the current state of matters must be tackled with `unprecedented urgency’, otherwise America’s very way of life will be jeopardized, with its stint as the richest and most powerful nation in the history of the world likely to end.

Hawkins explains that education in America has lost its relevancy, with citizens no longer seeing it as `the ticket to the American Dream’. Therefore, education is no longer deemed as important as it once was and, because of this, many children are not infused with this knowledge by their parents, which has a roll-on effect to their levels of motivation and abilities to withstand peer pressures and, ultimately, their levels of academic success.

This is particularly concerning as, through research and data analysis, Hawkins shows us that motivation alone (or lack thereof) to learn is the predominant factor which influences the success of a child in reaching their full capabilities (not race, parental income levels, teacher skill or other such factors which are usually associated with variances in levels of academic success).

Therefore, Hawkins advises that the education system must be overhauled to create a reality where children are motivated to learn and every child ‘succeeds’ (because all success is relative). In order to do so, however, people must be challenged to change their basic assumptions about the way children are educated. They must recognize how kids learn (through encouragement) and do their utmost to both motivate and support them so that they are always working at the edge of their own capabilities. Of course, this entails changing the current class structures and increasing the teacher to student ratio, if students are to be working alongside one another at different levels, but Hawkins outlines smart and practical solutions to making this system workable.

What I like most about Hawkins approach (and what separates this from other educational reference texts) is that he recognizes that more qualified teachers, better facilities, better materials and better technology in classrooms are not the solution to what has become an entrenched and festering crisis. Educational performance can only be remarkably improved if the current widespread symptoms of hopelessness and powerlessness are counteracted with a surge in motivation for education, which can only be achieved by a joint effort between parents and teachers, administrators and principals, and government and public figures, to name a few.

The only thing missing for me were the graphs/figures which were not displayed in the kindle version (perhaps as I have an older kindle, images were replaced with an icon of a camera). However, the data I assume these figures displayed was adequately discussed and analysed in the text, therefore it did not really take away from the text, more that these may have added that something extra.” [Editor’s note: the graphs are visible on most devices.]

“This handbook is particularly useful for parents, teachers, support staff and school administrators who work with American children. From a wider perspective, it is valuable in supporting children in general to become their best selves, hence this book is an invaluable source of information to all who play a role in children’s education.”

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