05 January 2013

The Finest Education Money Can Buy; Richard L. Gaines

The Finest Education Money Can BuyThe Finest Education Money Can Buy by Richard L. Gaines
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As a product of an "elite" education, and having worked in several "elite" schools, I was interested to read this. Despite this having been written in 1972, some of what Gaines talks about is still very relevant: how we engage students, what expectations we have of them (in terms of responsibility, academic achievement, etc.) and what teacher/student/administrative relations are and could be. It's really sad, in fact, that so little has changed.

One of the problems (forget the dating issue) is that this centers on Lawrenceville and Newton South, with an occasional mention of Choate, St. Mark's, Moses Brown and a few other schools. It would have been interesting had we heard about schools in less affluent areas, or a wider range of schools (ie, not the St. Grottlesex schools but perhaps Chadwick or Lakewood in the West). It also begs the reader to accept that Gaines is one of the more enlightened, even when he says he falls into the unenlightened category. This was clearly a very personal book, and sometimes it suffers from that.

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