MixedThe Wall Street JournalThis kind of rhetoric, on display throughout Torn Apart, makes it hard to take Ms. Roberts’s analysis seriously. And indeed, she says that, contrary to the idea that foster care rescues children from dangerous family members, children \'are much more likely to be maltreated in foster care than in their homes.\' In fact, the median rate of reported maltreatment of children in foster care is well below the rate for the general population. The cherry-picked studies Ms. Roberts cites to support her case are often decades old, with tiny sample sizes. Her own research involves interviews with mothers who answer her flyers asking for their thoughts on child protective services ... When one sees Angela Davis, the feminist-Marxist activist, giving Torn Apart a gushing blurb, it’s easy to dismiss the book as a marginal work of analysis. But last month the Biden administration official in charge of child welfare compared the workers in the field to \'overseers on plantations\' and advised the public not to call child protective services: \'Save Black children from that knock on the door and that tunnel of child welfare, out of which they may never see their way.\' Such views will only keep black families—all families—from getting the help they need.
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.