To Live And Learn With Neurological Conditions:
Stories of Two Teenagers in a Learning Community
Howard M. Bloom
Howard Bloom’s book shines a bright light onto one of the tragedies of our time: the way too many children are sidelined by our public education system because of the expectation that they will fit into certain patterns devised by the dominant academic culture. The boys whose histories appear in this book were victims of the school system, which couldn’t provide them with a satisfactory learning environment due to their neurological challenges. That situation was exacerbated by the disempowerment, lack of choice, rigidity, pressure, and, in this case, pathologizing, to which young people are routinely subjected by both schools and the larger society. Bloom’s home-based educational solution provides the respect, trust, understanding, and empowerment that are the right of every child and every learner–not just “at-risk” ones.
Wendy Priesnitz, Author, School Free–The Homeschooling Handbook and Challenging and Challenging Assumptions in Education–From Institutionalized Education to a Learning Society. Editor, Life Learning Magazine, Founder, Canadian Alliance of Home Schoolers.
Dr. Bloom’s work presents a model of inquiry that explores and exposes his knowledge, beliefs, and practices in ways that foster a comfortable and conversational familiarity. His text combines portfolio elements with inquiry as it reveals personal and scholarly progress, methodological and theoretical familiarity, deep and meaningful engagement with the needs of community, and identifies gaps in theory, practice, policy, and politics. It also shows an abiding passion to understand and meet the needs of individuals marginalized by biology, genetics, and the misfortunes (or fortunes) handed to the least and most gifted in society.
Dr. Bloom’s self characterization casts him as a “prick of conscience” as his study pokes at the soft underbelly of the learned establishment and the mistreatment and misunderstanding of those who do not fit neatly into the expectations of mainstream education or pose challenges to preparedness for full inclusion. A must read for those in the caring professions.
Dr. Michael Kompf, Professor, Faculty of Education, Brock University