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Novel Presents a Better Way for Kids to Learn

FITHIAN, Ill. – In the novel “Conspiracy” (published by Trafford Publishing) Dr. Edwin M. Swengel presents Plainston, a Midwestern city that is literally walled off from the outside world—a place where there are no cars, no hunger, no religious strife.  Karl Kornhauer, a national political writer, has been asked to investigate the conspiracy talked about both inside and outside the walls.  As he explores Plainston, he tries to discover what makes the city and its residents so wonderfully different.  The quest finally leads him to the year-round schools which are like no other schools he has ever seen.  Kornhauer spends months in the schools, observing what has replaced the traditional system so familiar to most Americans.

Jane Swengel Creason finished the novel after her father’s death.  She says, “Our educational system is constantly under attack—and rightfully so.  Yet we continue to hold to age-related classrooms, grade-level achievement standards, testing and more testing, teacher-led classrooms, and grades which reward success or identify mediocrity and failure.  Characters of all ages make Dad’s unique schools come alive and illustrate his concept of Mutual Instruction, which means simply kids being trained to help each other.”  Creason also explains that even though her father’s purpose was to present his ideas for change, “Conspiracy” is an engaging story.

About the Author

Edwin M. Swengel (1917-2010) earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Illinois and later a doctorate from UCLA.  He taught in a two-room school, in several high schools, and at the college level.  He also co-founded a Montessori school.  During his many years in the classroom, he recognized the basic flaws in our educational system.  Jane Swengel Creason has taught in traditional schools at the grade school, middle school, high school, and college levels.  She also received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Illinois.

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