This book pleads with educators and administrators to assist in the immediate transformation of American schools. He describes in detail the "buffers" that American schools have created which have led to the illusion that a high percentage of American schools are actually effective (which he points out in detail, actually are not). This "buffer" that Schmoker describes has led to teacher isolation, lack of quality instruction, and to the reality that administrators are virtually devoid of influence when trying to effect the quality of instruction. This is a sample of some of the startling statistics Schmoker presents, (page 18):
o "Classrooms in which there was evidence of a clear learning objective: 4 percent"
o "Classrooms in which there was evidence of higher-order thinking: 3 percent"
o "Classrooms in which non-instructional activities were occurring" 35 percent"
(Note: to get specifics on this research-based study, visit his book)
One of the most motivating features of this book is that the author reminds educators of how much they already know about effective teaching practices, especially as a collaborative group. Often educators are fixated on new programs, more materials, more workshops and the need for more money. This quote is an example of this idea, "We have relied far too much, with miserable results, on a failed model for improving instructional practice: training, in the form of workshops or staff development."
Chapter 8 of this book entitled, "Professional Learning Communities" is a pro-active approach to reforming schools and demonstrates Schmoker's true value of educators.
As for administrators, don't feel left out because Schmoker is fully aware of your limitations, boundaries and lack of support. Again keeping pro-activity in mind, Schmoker suggests several solutions which will change educational leadership and its effect on instructional quality.
This is one of the very few books that doesn't try to state the issues with a politically correct point of view. His writing style is blunt yet lacks negativity. In fact, this book has the effect of challenging educators to make some simple and high effective changes TOMORROW, that can produce immediate results.
This ending quote from Results Now demonstrates why I give this book 5 stars (on a 5 point scale) for educators and educational leaders and as guessed, is suggested as a MUST READ.
(From Page163's CONCLUSION, "WHY NOT US WHY NOT NOW"): "With so much at stake, is there any decent reason to postpone what could be education's greatest moment?"
Note from me : This book is startling when you first read it mainly because of the statistics he shares and what was found inside our American classrooms, but these startling revelations are what truly should provoke all educators, leaders, and parents too, to make serious changes in the American school system.