Too many American public school students, especially poor and minority students, lack basic reading and math proficiency and are educated by uninspired teachers. What to do? To find out, UC Berkeley education and public policy expert David Kirp spent a year at in classrooms in a school district in Union City, N.J., that, improbably, works very well, despite its 20% poverty rate and substantial immigrant population. Among the keys to success are mutual help among teachers through mentoring, and more informal support among students through learning centers, as well as a sophisticated bilingual program. Kirp devotes a chapter to Union City’s preschools, which are available to all and focus on pre-K language development skills. Particularly on the high school level, Union City isn’t immune to the bane of contemporary education, “teaching to the [state proficiency] test.” However, Kirp shows how administrators and teachers mine test data to benchmark and help advance students’ progress, so that 89% of those who begin high school graduate compared with 74% nationally. The school system also benefits from a mayor who doubles as a state senator and has secured extra state education funding. This impressive book doesn’t provide a blueprint, but the author describes seven guiding principles for how other school systems can achieve sustained educational success.
I stated out skeptical but he convinced that public schools can heal themselves under the right leadership. -He still did not convince that KIPP and the like cannot be scaledPublished 2 months ago by gadget fan
A well written book that shows through analysis of successful schools in bad situations that there is a way to succeed in education. His analysis and recommendations a good. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Doctor Doctor
I am reading "Improbable Scholars" with great interest. The question in my mind is: what are the KEY factors in school success in Union City? Read morePublished 5 months ago by Harry S. Pearle
A thorough-going look at what it takes to raise the performance of a whole school system; surprisingly, a page-turner as well.Published 5 months ago by John Rouse
Very interesting story. Gives hope for other failing schools...Published 5 months ago by Erika Della Rosa
An excellent and balanced overview of what is possible in challenged public schools but this is no quick fix. And far too many are into it for the wick fix.Published 6 months ago by Cynthia L. Chase
Readers might justifiably complain "Not another book of proposed solutions for America's educational problems. Read morePublished 8 months ago by jem