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Beyond the Classroom
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Based on a comprehensive national study of high-school students, Beyond the Classroom explains that it is parents and peers, not teachers, who have the greatest influence over a student's classroom performance. The reason so many students do badly in school is not that their schools are deficient but that their parents either don't care about their children's performance or don't show their children in positive ways that they do. Children who know that their parents value education perform much better in school than other children.The other great influence on school performance, according to the study reported in this book, is the peer group. Children are strongly influenced by their friends' attitudes toward school. As a group, children whose friends believe that hard work earns rewards and who value good grades do well in school. Unfortunately, according to the study, fewer than one-fifth of all students say that their friends believe it is important to get good grades. For the most part, adolescent peer culture demeans school success and scorns those students who try to do well in school. The peer culture is so powerful that it can even undermine the positive contributions of parents.The study on which this book is based also found striking and consistent ethnic differences in student performance, differences that cut across socioeconomic groups. African-American and Latino students lag behind their peers while Asian-American students - even in the very same school - perform at the highest levels. Beyond the Classroom explains why this is and offers answers that will help all students, regardless of ethnic background, to do better in school. Beyond the Classroom identifies the real nature of the education crisis in America. It explains why some students succeed brilliantly while others flounder and draws valuable lessons about the nature of successful parental and peer group support.
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