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Book Review: Are You in A Pickle?: Lessons Learned Along The Way: Students’ Performance And Achievement Gaps by Patricia L. Pickles, Ph.D.

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Educators serving in many different roles will find this book engaging and useful. Dr. Patricia L. Pickles has been around the “education block” and offers helpful insights that allow educators to learn from her vast experience. I found Are You in A Pickle? to be helpful in my role as a new private school owner.

Early on in the book, Dr. Pickles shares a few life lessons learned. While all of them were interesting, I found one to be particularly powerful. She says “To prepare students for today’s workforce, learning must be relevant.” This is very true because the needs of our society are constantly evolving, and education will also need to evolve to remain relevant. This one life lesson is the main reason I left public education and started my own school.

Dr. Pickles provides valuable data that shows the reality of education and offers suggestions and advice for improving our current status. In the book, there is a table showing the kindergarten readiness for different socioeconomic groups, and the importance of learning in the early years. Dr. Pickles also asks some great thought-provoking questions in the book. One in particular that struck me was “At the elementary level, are multiple intelligences embraced to determine and identify the unique gifts in young people?” What are we doing for our students that will help them not only learn the skills necessary for the future, but to support them in strengthening their personal talents and gifts?

Dr. Pickles said, “A manager ensures that things are done right, but a leader does the right thing.” As a school owner and leader, I found this statement to be one of the most powerful in the book. She goes on to talk a little about a variety of great leaders in our country and world, and I was incredibly inspired to improve my own leadership skills.

Throughout the book, Dr. Patricia L. Pickles gives heartfelt insight along with facts to make Are You in A Pickle? a must read for educators in general, and school leaders in particular. I plan to keep this book handy as a reference when I need a pick-me-up.

(Reviewed by Christine Watson for Reader Views)

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About Christine Watson

  • This book could be a good reference for teachers, administrators, parents and students. Early education should seek to teach children the following:

    o the importance of the local library
    o the need for cooperation among peers
    o respect for authority figures
    o setting boundaries
    o the importance of doing homework first
    o the need for having a good hobby
    o nightly sleep
    o brushing and flossing teeth
    o brushing and shining shoes
    o overall personal grooming
    o when to put away cell phones
    o listening skills

    Is any of this familiar?