“To Renew America” by Newt Gingrich

To Renew America
by Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich has written a best-selling book of lists. In fact, a more appropriate title for it might be Six Steps to Renewing America. While describing it this way could seem insulting, carefully itemizing the main points of complex topics is actually the way one expects a logical, organized college professor to present his material. In fact, some parts of Professor Gingrich’s book read like his speeches which, to me, resemble college lectures.

Speaker Gingrich has a real knack for illustrating a problem in a direct and interesting way. For example, anyone who has heard more than two speeches by Newt has probably heard him say, “No civilization can survive for long with twelve-year-olds having babies, fifteen-year-olds killing one another, seventeen-year-olds dying of AIDS, and eighteen-year-olds getting diplomas they can’t read.” It’s in the book. So is the following “Newt-ation”, taken from Chapter 12:

“I recently asked a group of college students how many of them could have graduated from high school in three years if there had been an incentive to do so. All of them raised their hands. How many could have gotten out in two years? One-third raised their hands.

Imagine a system so inefficient that one-third of its participants believe they are wasting half their time, and virtually all students believe they are wasting at least 25 percent of their time. That is the inevitable result of counting classroom hours instead of knowledge learned.”

Much of the remaining chapters review The Contract WITH America from conception to implementation. But there are also brief encounters with other issues not currently in the political spotlight like higher education, new frontiers in science and space, and defense in 21st century.

© Copyright 1996, 2008, Clancy Cross.  All rights reserved.

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