Just where are we in the process of reforming public education? What state are we in? Author and educator Caren Black suggests we're in a state of exhaustion with a nagging feeling that education should be reformed by now. New programs often suffocate under the latest federal, state or district focus. Despite the Herculean efforts of dedicated, intelligent people, things have a way of going back to where they were. Black points out that, when it comes to education, Americans have done a lot of complaining, explaining, reforming, spending and general noise-making without quite the desired effect. She carefully develops and cogently presents her theory as to why this is true and leaves us with a framework for doing something about it.

Clearly, she's been there, done that and paid her dues in a variety of settings and programs. Black applies her diverse experience to major public education issues, using her home state of California for examples. Interweaving ideas from systems studies, science, business and the arts, she cajoles us with humor and wit to leave the current frame of public education and enter what she sees as a potential future. Most importantly, she helps us discover how, by drawing on our own experience, we can all take a fresh, unconventional look at other forms of education right in our own backyards.

A brisk, fun and lively read, Black's book will not only get you to think outside the box of current school reform, it will help you to plot your escape.