Book Review

Raising the Standard: An Eight-Step Action Guide for Schools and Communities

Reviewed by Rene Townsend
Lecturer in Educational Leadership,
California State University San Marcos


Raising the Standard makes sense, common sense. Denis P. Doyle and Susan Pimentel's book, subtitled An Eight-Step Action Guide for Schools and Communities, offers valuable advice for people who are serious about the vital work of setting higher standards and helping all students reach them.

Based on a strong foundation of theories, best practice and common sense principles, Raising the Standard addresses the importance of broad-based involvement and continuous learning for everyone who has a stake in making schools better--site and district leaders, teachers, students, parents and the broader community.

Doyle and Pimentel emphasize the need for leaders to ask and answer pointed questions with brutal honesty regarding the current status of their schools and the level of the standards and student achievement. They provide suggestions for setting high standards, building capacity and establishing accountability.

The book is readable and accessible for professionals and lay people. Chapters feature explanations of the components of each step, lists of critical questions and summaries of key ideas. They describe the experiences of leaders in five school districts.

For anyone serious about seeing that all students meet high standards, Raising the Standard would be an excellent guide to action.

(Raising the Standard: An Eight-Step Action Guide for Schools and Communities, by Denis P. Doyle and Susan Pimentel, Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, Calif., 1999, 190 pp. with index)