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Book Review by Dennis Moore

Every Child in America deserves a world-class education. Today, more than ever, a world-class education is a prerequisite for success. America was once the best-educated nation in the world. A generation ago, we led all nations in college completion, but today, ten countries have passed us. The issue is not that their students are smarter than ours. It is that these countries are being smarter about how to educate their students. And the countries that out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow.

We must do better. Together we must achieve a new goal, that by 2020, the United States will once again lead the world in college completion. We must raise the expectations for our students, our schools, and ourselves – this must be a national priority. We must ensure that every student graduate from high school well prepared for college and a career. -- President Barack Obama (2010), 44th President of the United States

“A Blueprint for Reform: The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act”

Dr. Andrea M. Nelson-Royes, an educator, researcher, author, and parent who has a passionate interest in how children learn to read and how to keep them reading, has written this thought-provoking book, Success in School and Career: Common Core Standards in Language Arts K – 5, that should resonate with all parents and educators interested in America reclaiming its status as the best educated nation in the world.  The author holds a doctoral degree in education and organizational leadership from Nova Southeastern University in Florida, and it is exemplified in this scholarly and well written book. In numerous phone interviews with the author it dawned on me that this book that she has written is personal as well as professional, as she has a deep passion and commitment to educating our youth. It starts with her own children.

Perhaps most significant in Dr. Royes’ book is a statement made in the preface: “Educators must rally, join forces, and welcome the changes stemming from the CCSS expectations. Educators must also embrace the literacy initiatives embedded in the CCSS to prepare students for educational and career success. Just imagine how fulfilling it will be when even ordinary students are transformed into superb students! Superior, empowered students have the best opportunity for a lifetime of success.” CCSS actually stands for Common Core State Standards, which the author indicates in her book that educators such as herself are duty bound to embrace to bring about a better way of teaching.

In this book, which is backed up by statistics and graphs, Dr. Royes states: “A high-quality education for every American student is vital to the health of our nation.” She relies on organizations such as the ‘Alliance for Excellent Education (the Alliance),’ which indicated that if just half of the nation’s dropouts from the Class of 2011 had graduated, they would likely have provided the following economic benefits to the nation:

  • $19 billion in increased home sales and $74 million in increased annual auto sales.
  • 54,000 new jobs and a $9.6 billion increase in the gross domestic product.
  • $713 million in increased annual state tax revenues.

Clearly, the author recognizes a need for our students to be better prepared for college, which essentially is what this book is about. It starts in the formative years for children K – 5. She is analytical in her approach as well as pragmatic.

Significantly, in Success in School and Career, Dr. Royes states: “Educators, students, parents, and caregivers must understand the advanced literary skills students need, in order to be college and career ready. Most important, these literacy developments require state and district actions to develop system-level strategies to link them across the curricula.” It is one thing for the author to make this statement, yet another to get others to embrace it. Perhaps that is why throughout this book she focuses on everyone throughout the nation being on the same page, or the “Common Core State Standards.” She uses the State of New York as an example, by stating: “The New York State Education Department has already developed assessments aligned to the CCSS. In the 2012-2013 school year, the department worked with the Board of Regents to align the state testing programs to the CCSS. Educators around the state of New York have already instituted the CCSS instruction in classrooms. In June 2012 SED released the New York State Common Core Sample Questions. For each grade level and subject, SED has provided about twelve sample questions. The questions include multiple choice, short constructed response, and extended constructed response:”

  • Multiple choice questions ask students to identify various aspects of a given text. These aspects include central idea, style elements, character and plot development, and vocabulary.
  • Short constructed response questions are single questions that ask students to respond to a prompt or question, state their answer, and provide textual evidence for support. The goal is for students to show briefly their ability to understand text.
  • Extended constructed response questions assess a student’s ability to write from sources. These questions also allow students to demonstrate the ability to write a coherent essay using textual evidence to support their ideas.

Clearly, the author has done a lot of research to assess the needs and common goals of educators throughout the nation to bring America back to its pre-eminent status in the world regarding our educational system. This is more of a primer for or other educators to get on board, as well as a wakeup call to our nation about our falling behind the rest of the world, and the collective effort on the part of many to turn things around. It is a book that I am sure is going to resonate with the nation, as it has with me. Dr. Royes has done a service to our nation by writing this book.

Dennis Moore is a writer and book reviewer with the East County Magazine in San Diego and the book review editor for SDWriteway, an online newsletter for writers in San Diego that has partnered with the East County Magazine. He has also been a freelance contributor to EURweb based out of Los Angeles as well as the San Diego Union-Tribune Newspaper. Mr. Moore can be contacted at or you can follow him on Twitter at @DennisMoore8.




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Success in School and Career . . . & Life

This is a topic that seems to have no expiration date. As usual Dennis Moore's review has peaked my interest and made me confront my own dormant feelings about the modern school system. The problem I see is historical. In the 1800s we were a farming and growing industrialized nation. In the 1900s were were a country of factory workers. We're now in the 21st Century and jobs are technical and entrepreneurial and that should be the focus of our education. Target education for an individual's future opportunities and not train them for past lives. A strong historical appreciation can steer people in the proper direction and this is why I author history books with modern innovations such as YouTube links to view the content of the text. This pioneering effort debuted in my latest book, "This Day in Comedy: The Ethnic Encyclopedia of Laughter" which I was fortunate enough receive a sterling review from Dennis Moore. It made my year.

"Families as Partners: Essential Link in Children's Education"

Dr. Andrea M. Nelson-Royes, has come out with another book on education, which I received just yesterday, giving me the honor of writing a review of; "Families as Partners: The Essential Link in Children's Education". She is passionate about her work!

Excellent Review

Well-deserved review for a great author, Dr Andrea M Nelson-Royes. I look up to you and those of your calibre.

Thank you

It is nice to be appreciated, but it is important to say thanks. Thank you for your comment, it warmed my heart.

"Common Core" Standards in the news in Los Angeles Times

The "Common Core Standards" that Dr. Royes writes about and for which her book is based on was in the news this week. Teresa Watanabe, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times Newspaper stated in regard to her article about the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD): "Letitia Johnson-Davis, Baldwin Hills' principal, said the school was using the more generous funding this year in part to train teachers on new learning standards known as Common Core. The standards, which are being fully rolled out state-wide this year, are aimed at boosting problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. Johnson-Davis said her school, for instance, will be using more nonfiction texts, such as 'African Beginnings' about the history and contributions of Egypt, Mali and other civilizations."

"Success in School and Career"

Parker J. Palmer, likewise an educator and one who has authored books on spirituality and education similarly look to an education that is prayerful and excellent. It is also my conviction that when both are present that authentic and spontaneous relations flourish between oneself and the world. Conducting a book signing and education symposium in Memphis would present a great opportunity to increase the awareness and significance of a high-quality education for all students.

Success in School

Great review Dennis. I believe that in order for all students to get a equal and quality education there must be some core standards all students are expected to learn. Education is supposed to educate the whole child (spirit, soul and body/natural) and I'm sorry that spirituality is not part of the equation, since this nation was founded on spiritual principles.

"Success in School and Career"

Thank you so much Dorothy, as you are an educator yourself, we hope to bring the message of this book to your hometown of Memphis, and perhaps conduct a book signing and/or symposium on education with you and other educators.

"Success in School and Career"

Success in school and career directly influences students’ life chances and outcomes. It is indeed vital, that together, all concerned individuals must endeavor to increase awareness of the value of a high-quality education, to create a better future for all children.

A great review by Dennis

A great review by Dennis Moore! Thank you Dennis for increasing awareness to this important topic. Lots of success to Dr. Andrea M. Nelson-Royes on her book!

"Success in School and Career"

Thank you Anat, as you are an educator yourself, being a high school math teacher in San Diego, your understanding and appreciation of Dr. Royes' book resonates with me and the author.

A great review by Dennis

A great review by Dennis Moore! Thank you Dennis for increasing awareness to this important topic. Lots of success to Dr. Andrea M. Nelson-Royes on her book!


Dennis thank you for taking the time to write this superb book review. A high-quality education must truly be a national priority, as our nation’s children are our most valuable and natural resource. In addition to the statistics you quoted in the book review, it is also important to note that in 2012, the Alliance also indicated that about 1.2 million students did not graduate from high school in 2011.

"Success in School and Career"

It was all my pleasure, as I have realized all my life how vital a high-quality education is. I stressed it with my own children, and as a matter of fact, my son just stopped by to visit and it reminded me of what a high-quality education can do. He was recently accepted into one of the top acting schools in the country, if not the top school, CalArts in Valencia, California. Every time I see him or think about him, it reminds me of hard he prepared himself in his early years in school. Your book is certainly going to resonate with many other parents, as well as educators.We should all take special pride in seeing our children obtain that quality education, realizing that it is the door to their future.