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Raising the Curve: A Year Inside One of America's 45,000* Failing Public Schools Hardcover – March 5, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Hardcover (March 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 042525268X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425252680
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Raising the Curve is more than just a fascinating glimpse at life on the front lines of teaching. It’s an education.”—Taylor Mali

“In a compulsively readable and fast-paced chronicle of the lives of administrators, teachers, and students, Berler captures the deep love the teachers have for their students and the teachers’ struggles to teach to the test while hoping to instill a love of learning.”—Publishers Weekly

“Berler’s ability to recount the struggles of failing schools through the viewpoints of its primary players—students, teachers and administrators—provides new insight.”—Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Ron Berler has devoted much of his career to reporting on youth issues. He wrote a weekly kids’ issues column for the Chicago Tribune; served as editor in chief of NBA Inside Stuff, a pro-basketball magazine for teens; and wrote about youth sports injuries for The New York Times Magazine. He has authored one children’s book, The Super Book of Baseball, and edited another, Rising Stars: The 10 Best Young Players in the NBA. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Wired, Men’s Journal, and ESPN.com, among other publications.

More About the Author

I have spent a large chunk of my life either in school or thinking about school. When your mother is a lifelong teacher (fourth grade) the issue is hard to avoid. My first paid writing was about school - while a high-school senior, I wrote a weekly news-about-campus column in the local Westport, Conn., Town Crier, for which I earned three dollars a week. Not as much as I had pocketed from my first media-related job, delivering the Bridgeport (Conn.) Post, at age 11, but it was a start.

I began my current writing gig shortly before graduating Northwestern University. A professor of mine whose second job was music editor of the Chicago Tribune encouraged me to freelance for his paper. I reported on drag racing, the Jackson Five and the art of panhandling, among other topics, and then found my niche after taking over as manager of a local Little League team, a position I would hold for 20 years.

Youth issues. It was the best beat I ever had. Children - if they trust you - have no self-editing mechanism. They have the refreshing habit of telling you exactly what they think. I began by writing on sports matters - a 12-year-old baseball star faced with pressure from fellow players to carry the ball club; the loneliness of a Korean child eager to assimilate at his school, who had to beg his father to let him try out for the middle-school basketball team. That led to a weekly, general interest youth-issues column in the Tribune - a job that required me to spend two or three days a week chasing stories in Chicago-area classrooms.

Eventually I moved to New York and became a senior editor at React, a teen newsweekly published by Parade. Later I served as editor in chief at NBA Inside Stuff, a pro basketball magazine for tweens published by Sports Illustrated For Kids. Along the way I wrote one children's book (The Super Book of Baseball) and edited another (Rising Stars: The 10 Best Young Players in the NBA). My work has also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Wired, Sports Illustrated, Men's Journal and Outside, among other publications.

Some years ago, I married a Norwalk, Conn., elementary-school speech pathologist and began mentoring troubled boys in her building. It led to the idea for Raising the Curve. Once again, I was back in school.

You can read more about the book -- and me -- at my website: www.ronberlerbooks.com

Or visit my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/RonBerlerBooks

Customer Reviews

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This is an extremely well-written book about a very important topic.
William H.
A great place to start for parent and teachers who are passionate about the current state of public education.
Julie Marshall
This book is my favorite kind of book: nonfiction that reads like fiction.
andrea

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By andrea on June 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
When I saw the subtitle (A Year Inside One of America's Failing Public Schools), I thought this book was going to be another attack on the public schools; another person who's never taught, telling teachers like me how bad we are. If only teachers were good enough, every single child would be on grade level! (This seems to be a favorite national myth.)
Instead, every single page has had me mentally nodding and murmuring, "This is so familiar.....so familiar." It is SO "the way it is." The author doesn't sensationalize, and he seemed to have selected an "average" Title I school, not an extreme inner city school.
In fact, what surprised me is the school is in Connecticut, which is supposed to be one of the top-achieving states. I teach in the south in a state that has sunk to 48th in the nation in pupil spending. There are no unions here (not allowed), so we are fortunate if we get 15 minutes of duty-free lunch (many schools in my district do not even have that), to give one small example of our working conditions. I think of everything as better in a place like Connecticut public schools. Better paid teachers, better working conditions, tons of resources thrown at kids to help them achieve. I expect them to be farther along in innovation. But in actuality, my district adopted Reading Recovery and Lucy Calkins' workshop model long before the school featured in the book. We were pushed to collaborate, collaborate, collaborate; to open those classroom doors and share with our colleagues.
This book is my favorite kind of book: nonfiction that reads like fiction. It gives a very true picture of teaching today.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Adam Kanter on April 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mr. Berler pulls no punches in presenting his experiences of a highly interesting, if often troubling (and, at other times, hopeful) account of a year spent at a "failing" school in Connecticut. Mr. Berler deftly weaves together narrative threads that could easily have been written in dry, distanced tone and instead provides a compelling read more akin to a novel, leaving you empathizing with the teachers, literacy specialists, and administrators who struggle with the often thankless task of providing education at a time when expectations have never been higher, and (perhaps notwithstanding the headlines about educational spending in the United States) funding has never been lower.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Debnance at Readerbuzz on September 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Just the title sounds bleak. Oh my. Do we really have forty-five thousand failing public schools? Impossible task, really, isn't it?

Or so it can seem. And when it feels impossible, teachers seek out inspiration, inspiration like the kind found in this book by Ron Berler about a school where administrators and teachers work to bring out the best in children and improve the school, not with new programs and new instructors, but by using the best of what works.

Read this book, teachers, and you can face another day in the trenches.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Julie Marshall on April 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A thoughtful journey into the world of real-life kids and teachers navigating the slippery slope of mandatory testing and standards in our public schools. A great place to start for parent and teachers who are passionate about the current state of public education.
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