- Paperback: 232 pages
- Publisher: Harvard Education Press (September 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1934742287
- ISBN-13: 978-1934742280
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.5 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #837,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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How It's Being Done: Urgent Lessons from Unexpected Schools
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If ever there were a book on education that should be read, it is certainly this one…Chenoweth shows us what it takes to beat the odds against adversity and improve student learning and achievement in schools serving disadvantaged children. --from the foreword by Pedro Noguera, New York University
The schools in How It's Being Done exhibit the same hopeful pattern for successful schooling: teachers and leaders who formulate and then actually teach to clear, essential standards; who shun worksheets and movies and who work together to ensure that all students are taught effectively every day, regardless of who their teacher is. This (all too rare) combination cannot fail. --Mike Schmoker, author of Results NOW: How We Can Achieve Unprecedented Improvements in Teaching and Learning
From the Back Cover
“If ever there were a book on education that should be read, it is certainly this one….Chenoweth shows us what it takes to beat the odds against adversity and improve student learning and achievement in schools serving disadvantaged children.” — from the forward by Pedro Noguera, professor of teaching and learning, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University
“This encouraging and important book is, above all, a good read. Karin Chenoweth is a thoughtful observer, a keen analyst, and a good storyteller.” — John Merrow, education correspondent, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and president, Learning Matters
“How It’s Being Done is a must-read for teachers and administrators who are currently struggling to help disadvantaged and at-risk students. There are invaluable lessons and practical strategies for all educators. I believe that all teachers will take away suggestions that will help them become better teachers.” — Paul F. Cain, mathematics and physics teacher, Ysleta High School, El Paso, Texas, and 2008 Texas Teacher of the Year
“The schools in How It’s Being Done exhibit the same hopeful pattern for successful schooling: teachers and leaders who formulate—and then actually teach to—clear, essential standards; who shun worksheets and movies and who work together to ensure that all students are taught effectively every day, regardless of who their teacher is. This (all too rare) combination cannot fail.” — Mike Schmoker, author of Results NOW: How We Can Achieve Unprecedented Improvements in Teaching and Learning
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Now, not taking that into consideration, I really enjoyed this book and seeing how many school districts around the country have been able to come together to make some specific changes that have had such expansive positive impact on student achievement in their buildings. It seems that the whole quantitative measure of success for a district seems to hinge on a variety of situations that make the schools that are implementing a variety of successful strategies, but likely work as an economic, cultural, social, ethnic, and geographic biome that is not directly translatable to other schools. As a matter of fact, the entire opening introduction focuses on Massachusetts and what they are doing well and why it is working – but I am not sure that that analysis is entirely true, but only works on average with the state as a whole using a publicly funded, original assessment tool. As they switch to PARCC and the entire system is changed (well, if that happens) to a private institution that will receive millions of dollars of state funding for some arbitrary test that everyone adds value to, I do wonder what this will look like in its immediate implementation... If it is not arbitrary and truly standardized, we should see the same numbers, right?
Meanwhile there are probably many low-income, depressed areas of Massachusetts that look just like the states that are mostly low-income and depressed, and that takes all of those elements that make up the biome and really throws it out the window because it is the same and it is meeting the criteria at a different volume. This makes the Massachusetts statements largely moot considering that the statistics are the exact same, save for the fact that we have less of that happening per capita than other states. This is the problem with anecdotal evidence – it is only fact as far as the anecdote takes us.
The thing that is unfortunate about the whole book, though, is that it is entirely a story. It is a well told story about schools that have done some great things – and these things can be identified into some very specific things that schools can do to increase achievement. It is also A truth, not THE truth. This editorial from Huff Post Politics actually sums it up nicely, considering that there are some specific things the schools are doing well, but measuring that success is by far a great deal more difficult than just taking a standardized test in a poor town that seems to be segregated form a great deal of the major problems that bigger cities with the same issues face: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gerald-bracey/its-being-done-oh-really_b_63067.html
While I liked this book, I guess my point is that there is a lot missing from the information presented, not just about the schools presented, but also about the problems in education on a more macro scale. Furthermore, there is really nothing that someone reading this book should be taking as the end all be all strategy for turning their school around. Most of the successes that are here are very specific to the schools that are presented, and only a fraction of the many, many problems in low income and urban populations could be solved using similar tactics to these. It is almost like, rather than an instruction or technical manual on how to turn schools around, this would have better been written and marketed as a narrative.
Richard Whitmire, author, Why Boys Fail.