Controversial Non-fiction
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We think it is just as important to surface information about controversies as to provide references to publications we fully endorse.  We will be expanding this section and would like to add additional publications recommended by readers. 

The Bipolar Child by Demitri Papalos M.D. and Janice Papolos. This book is based in part on the research that caused the mental health community to recognize the existence of Juvenile Bipolar Disorder for the first time.  The book has generated some controversy.  The principal criticism is that it too broadly describes juvenile bipolar disorder.  We leave it to the scientists and psychiatrists to fight that battle.  We can state that apart from the research on which the Papolos' book is based, the old view that a child cannot have bipolar disorder would still be the prevailing view.  Very few if any contemporary mental health professionals would now deny that there is such a thing as childhood bipolar disorder.  Many would question the breadth of Papolos's criteria for diagnosis. We think it is important to understand the controversy regardless of your point of view about it. 

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua We don't usually list a book that none of us has read, but we confess to not having read this one. The book is about the author's experience as the mother of two teenage girls, as she understood the Chinese approach to child rearing and how it contrasts with the American way. Her style was a blend of the two.  

Tom Croke heard the Amy Chua speak about the book and the controversy it created at an IECA conference.   She gave a fair summary of the "Tiger Mother" approach to parenting.  She pointed out both pros and cons as opposed to telling us why the Chinese way is better, having acknowledged that the approach was a total failure with her younger daughter.  Contrary to what one might expect from the criticism that erupted when the book was published, Ms. Chua acknowledged that the Chinese approach is likely to inculcate better self discipline, but is just as likely to stifle creativity. 

We believe this is a study in cultural contrasts worth exploring.  We found Ms. Chua's speech valuable as a source of insight into the contrast we so often see between high achieving Asian scholars in American schools and their American counterpart.  Just how much of the Chinese way should we copy?      After hearing Ms. Chua, we did not experience the need to read the book.  But for those interested in the strengths and weaknesses of American education who have not had the experience of hearing Ms. Chua, the book should be of great interest.

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Disclaimer: No  program review, no matter how positive, is a blanket endorsement. No criticism is a blanket condemnation.  When we express our level of confidence in a school or program, that is our subjective opinion with which others might reasonably disagree.  When we assert something as fact, we have done our best to be accurate, but we cannot guarantee that all of our information is accurate and up to date. When we address compliance with our guidelines, you need to remember that these are only OUR guidelines -- not guidelines from an official source.  We have also set the bar very high, and do not expect any school or program to be in total compliance.  It is not appropriate to draw a conclusion of impropriety (or even failure to live up to conventional wisdom) from our lack of confidence in a school or program or from less than perfect conformity to our guidelines.  Some will say we expect too much. Readers are responsible for verifying accuracy of information supplied here prior to acting upon it. We are not responsible for inaccuracies.


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Last updated August 12 2012


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