Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Public Schools Are Archaic

A short book from M.R. Ussery, we are told herein that public schools do not meet the range of educational demands of our children in the 21st century. Public schools are archaic, by which the author is referring to processes and the system only (not meaning thereby to hurt any human agents). The essential learning focus of public school learning is on memorizing and not “doing” besides ignoring the range of the required timeframe among different students for successfully accomplishing the same educational tasks. The book tells us that we need a modern, more flexible, and updated system of education.

To M.R. Ussery, this proposed system comes in the form of learning modules developed for students after assessment of their learning needs and incorporating modern multimedia and digital technologies. There are special learning advantages to gain from schools operating on these modules including a broader range of learning that is not rigidly time-bound and takes into consideration the aspects of a student’s practical achievements. The author proposes a pilot program for developing such a system.

What you will like in this book is that it does not attempt at any kind of negative criticism of public schools. Instead, it proceeds in a very positive tone toward the book’s point, inviting all educated professionals to contribute their own ideas for the potential development of a better educational system. This book is a good read for parents, educators, and policymakers but also for thoughtful individuals from any walk of life.

ISBN: 978-1432758059


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Laura Ann Bradbury (Missing) – A Father's Search

This one is a disturbing, empowering, and thought-provoking book by Mike Bradbury who, along with his father-in-law Dana Scott Winters, has shared his story of 25 years of a hope-and-disappointment cycle experienced during the search for his kidnapped daughter Laura. The little girl, only three-and-a-half then, was abducted from a site of camping in Joshua Tree National Monument, California, in October 1984. Since then, Mike spared no effort in trying to find his daughter, including facing armed criminals and partaking of private investigation. His challenges grew as he discovered the unexpected.

Finding an abducted girl may have been much harder back in the 80s but what made Laura’s case particularly cumbersome were the seams in the efficiency, and even intentionality, of the concerned sheriff’s department. Not responding properly to reports of sightings and exhibiting slackness in investigating suspects as well as handling evidence, the local police soon lost its reliability with Mike and his family, leading to Mike’s personal quest in collaboration with private investigators to find a trace of Laura. This led to an adventure full of risk, desperation, and hope for the Bradburys.

Above all, Mike’s search for Laura was accompanied by the establishment of the Bradbury’s own center for finding the child, attaining organized, collective effort that world serve as an example of self-help for everyone facing loss and/or trauma. Every phone call, every sighting, and each bit of help from volunteers/philanthropists reinforced the belief that good does not prostrate before evil. Mike’s loss became a symbol of threat for the entire community. Criminals existed, were active, and were getting away; they could harm anyone, anytime; and protecting one’s family was no more solely the burden of the law enforcement agencies – it was also one’s own. The way Mike pursued his mission of finding Laura is a winning story with a lesson Never Give In!

Laura Ann Bradbury (Missing) is truly a father’s search. It tells the story from Mike’s side. In one sense, it is more of a man’s book as Patty (Laura’s mother) is not allowed much to tell therein. Yet, it is a book that everyone needs to read, especially the parents and would-be parents, to learn from Mike’s experience and to help their own children grow safer. Laura may still be out there, and Mike’s hope is alive! It is hard to read this book without developing the crushing feeling of somehow reuniting Laura with her family. Mike’s story speaks to the human soul in all of us.

ISBN: 978-1-60264-535-6