MixedThe New York Time Book Review... gut-wrenching ... The book is interspersed with lovely scenes and odd facts from the natural world — Sentilles’s efforts to make sense of her fierce attachment to this tiny stranger. Some may bristle at the incessant comparisons of a mother-child bond with trees and insects and whales and ostriches and parrots ... Unfortunately, Sentilles is dismissive of foster parents who look elsewhere for guidance and don’t share her worldview.
MixedThe Washington ExaminerRisher correctly diagnoses the discomfort that we may feel with hiring people to do things that we have been raised to think we should do ourselves ... But there is something more fundamental at work here. Risher cannot muster a defense of the system that has brought her family such success ... Risher herself doesn’t seem to understand the obligations that come with being rich.
MixedThe Wall Street JournalAs compelling as Who Gets In and Why is for disinterested observers, parents of high-school students will especially value (or desperately flip to) the sections where Mr. Selingo offers an inside view of the admissions process at Emory University, Davidson College and the University of Washington ... Mr. Selingo’s counsel to families that they can reduce their anxiety and their debt by going to a nonelite school will likely fall on deaf ears. While he is right that many schools with lesser reputations offer equally good if not better educations, the imprimatur of a selective, high-prestige school seems to matter more to students and parents alike, and their preferences drive the whole process.
PanThe Wall Street JournalMr. Shapiro ignores or dismisses the research showing that too much screen time is correlated with higher levels of anxiety and depression in children and a lower capacity for prolonged concentration, not to mention an inability to read social cues ... almost all of the assertions in The New Childhood are offered up without so much as a footnote. Mr. Shapiro says (without citation) that the total screen time for kids \'averages somewhere between 90 minutes and three hours per day.\' According to Common Sense Media, kids between the ages of 8 and 12 spend six hours a day on screens, not including homework. Teens spend closer to nine.
MixedThe Wall Street JournalPolitical memoirs are rarely tear-jerkers, but Arne Duncan’s look back at his time as secretary of education under Barack Obama may make school reformers want to cry ... As Mr. Duncan’s account makes clear, it would be hard to devise an educational system that is more harmful to racial minorities if we tried. Mr. Duncan offers a lot of trivial solutions at the end of the book that he says could also improve things—universal pre-K programs, more after-school programs, more counselors to prevent gun violence ... For the most part, though, Mr. Duncan does understand \'how schools work.\' The tragedy is that he and his boss didn’t have what it takes to make them work better.