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Lives on the Boundary: A Moving Account of the Struggles and Achievements of America's Educationally Underprepared Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Revised edition (July 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143035460
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143035466
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 6.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Rose, associate director of the UCLA writing program, traces his journey from a Los Angeles ghetto, where illiteracy was the norm, through a series of educational serendipities that led to his career as a teacher. In moving autobiographical vignettes, he pays homage to the interested teachers of his parochial high school, whose best efforts nevertheless left him unready for the rigors of higher education. However, at Loyola, a small Catholic college, Rose experienced epiphany, became successful with the untiring nurturance of four humanities professors who, he shows, exemplify the best in liberal education. Although the anecdotes of Rose's early working-class background are vivid, they function as the underpinning of a thoughtful and enlightening analysis of the tremendous difficulties ghetto children face in finding their places in the American educational system.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Because a teacher believed in him, Rose (writing program, UCLA) was able to escape from poverty and go to college. There he floundered, unfamiliar with the conventions and demands of academic discourse, until another teacher realized his potential and took a personal interest in him. In Lives , Rose talks about the tremendous barriers to learning which handicap the underprivileged in their striving to educate themselves. Rose uses examples from his own and his students' lives to show how change takes place through a dialogue of possibility between teacher and pupil. "Knowledge gained its meaning, at least initially, through a touch on the shoulder." Rose impresses upon us the importance of reaching these students and convinces us that they can be saved. An admirable, life-affirming book, deserving a wide readership.
- David Keymer, Coll. of Technology, Utica
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Mike Rose is a Research Professor in the Social Research Methodology Division of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. He has taught in a wide range of educational settings, from elementary school to adult literacy and job training programs. He is a member of the National Academy of Education and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Grawemeyer Award in Education, and awards from the Spencer Foundation, the National Council of Teachers of English, the Modern Language Association, and the American Educational Research Association.

He has written over 75 opinion pieces and commentaries and appeared on approximately 200 national and regional radio and television shows including Fresh Air, Diane Rehm, Bill Moyers' World of Ideas, Studs Terkel, NPR Weekend Edition, Speaking of Faith, and Tavis Smiley.

His books include Lives on the Boundary: The Struggles and Achievements of America's Underprepared, Possible Lives: The Promise of Public Education in America, The Mind at Work: Valuing the Intelligence of the American Worker, Why School: Reclaiming Education for All of Us, and Back to School: Why Everyone Deserves a Second Chance at Education.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Compact and easy to use.
Orlando V. Perrotta
I strongly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in teaching literacy or remedial education or will be working with such students.
Donna Keiko
This book is a great help to all teachers who want to put themselves in the minds of their struggling students.
R. Moore

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By John Burkett on November 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
The hero in this success story is Mike Rose: author, educator, teacher of writing, and a disadvantaged student from the Los Angeles ghetto. Mike barely made it, but a young, new English teacher intervened in his high school, equipping Mike with the intellectual tools that enabled him to enter and succeed in college his "pivotal...freshman year" (165). Mike Rose's career has largely consisted of culling and applying the social and intellectual tools, the habits of mind that empower underprepared students on the margins of society, helping them transition into college. He knows the psychology of disenfranchisement, and also the defunct English curriculum that plagues many schools. But like many Americans, our hero believes in education, and at the center of education, according to Rose, are community, language and strategies of thinking.
"This is a hopeful book about those who fail" (xi), Rose begins, and the hope he communicates lies in his ability to teach teachers to empower their students with academic literacy. His book models his teaching, and so a reasonable review will evaluate how well Mike Rose's book fulfills his didactic design and practical hope. I evaluate Lives on the Boundary, therefore, according to how well it engages his audience, the usefulness of its educational doctrines, and how well it inspires hope, confidence and a passion for teaching. From the outset, I cannot hold back how well I think Mike Rose accomplishes his task. I highly recommend his book to new composition teachers with the hope that we may reach our students and not fail them.

Does Rose engage his audience, an audience of educators and writing teachers? His book reads quickly and fluidly, and this is a strategic and effective part of Rose's educational engagement.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Laurie Moore on February 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
I was required to read this book for one of my english courses. I felt that it really took me on a journey through the mind of a determined student. Mike Rose helped me to understand what it is like to be unknowing of your place in the educational system. This book is illustrates the life of an underpriviledged student who eventually achieves his dreams. I believe that it will help me to be a successful teacher. I am inspired by the efforts of this one student.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Glen Engel Cox on March 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
What is literacy? It seems such a simple word, yet the view from the classroom is much different than from the person on the street. Mike Rose challenges our assumptions of reading and writing, of how a student is educationally introduced to both concepts, and how so many are being lost by the wayside of this much older "information highway."
The book is mostly autobiography as Rose describes how he was accidentally put into a remedial class due to a clerical error (shades of Brazil, anyone). The mistake went undetected for over a year, partly due to his parents' unfamiliarity with the school system and Rose's own attitude. He was lucky, though, when a teacher noticed a discrepancy between his standardized test scores and those of his incorrect file, and he was moved to the regular classroom. This early experience haunted him throughout his school career, however, and his struggle to enter into the "main- stream" of education becomes a mirror by which he views the process of becoming literate. His experience coupled with his volunteer work with underprepared children, veterans, and college students gives him fresh insight into the question that started this: what is literacy? Rose's experience is that no one sentence is sufficient to capture the idea, and that literacy is many things to many people.
Well, duh, you say, but stop and think about the "back to basics" arguments you hear from education reformers. What do they say about the process by which students learn to read and write? "All they need is work on the fundamentals," is a common theme. But Rose's challenge is that this is too simplistic.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By s lindsey on April 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Lives on the Boundary is a refreshing look at children lost in between schooling and curriculum where so many children still find themselves today. Mike Rose deliberately askes questions about teachers, school systems, and administrators who never truely teach but merely instruct. This is a wonderful book that provides inspiration for individuals that really want to make a difference in the lives of children.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is such a refreshing and honest book on the underclass of America's students. Rose tells a great narrative of his own account of how he struggled and suffered through a world of education when in fact he had no idea what education was or meant. I read this and felt like" Hey I am not the only one who was once lost and confused about all this knowledge around me that I am so unprepared to learn and accept." A great read!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By lwijnand@heinleinschrock.com on March 31, 1998
Format: Paperback
Drawing from his own experience, Mike Rose describes what it's like to grow up in the inner city...misdiagnosed by instructors as "remedial". His struggle to a position in a top university is not so much a tribute to him personally, but an account of how a student's life can be set on the right track if a teacher pays attention to certain cues. It's a story of hope, and should be required reading for English/composition instructors everywhere. -- Lisa Wijnands, Kansas City
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