Book Review: Assembly Required (Lezotte, McKee)
It's a busy world we educators live in now. We are bracing for some kind of money situation-- it could be good, it might be bad. The world is in a flux. I feel a little bit like chicken little, but there's always respite in a great book that makes all the intricacies of our professional pursuits seem almost manageable.
Enter Assembly Required by Lezotte and McKee (2002). I am not sure how this little jewel passed me by; I could have been "teaching like my hair was on fire" or wasn't paying attention when anyone else mentioned it. I wasn't even too happy when I was introduced to the book by my district issuing me a copy and telling me to read it for a professional development opportunity that we would be having soon. But, let me tell you, all that changed when I grabbed a cup of homemade coffee (it's very "in" to make your own coffee in these tense financial times) and read the first chapter.
Now, I like stuff that is written in a low brow, "leave out the laborious" research quoting that reminds me a lot of the begat section of the Bible. And, this book is written in a casual engaging way that had me hooked from "hello." Being a child of the sixties and seventies, I grew up with the Coleman Report (schools don't matter), A Nation At Risk (schools are so bad that it would be an act of war if anyone did this kind of schooling to us), and Effective Schools (all kids can learn, it's up to us). So, when Lezotte referenced all this in the book, I just felt like old home week.
But the book is so much more than that. It's an up-to-date version of the Effective Schools Movement taken into realityville. The book is based on the theories of Effective Schools, Continuous School Improvement, and Systems Theory. But, it's not just theory anymore; it's a lot of effective how to's--- and I definitely like an idea of how to get effectively and efficiently from point A to point B.
So, in between all your literature driven self improvement opportunities from Marzano, Buck, Payne, McLeod, et al, throw in this quick great read; it might bring you back home to ideas that always were and still are great ways to improve schools.