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"Mike Rose gets it. We either close the monstrous gap between academic study and skilled trades, or we fall into it. Back to School is a second chance not just for those individuals who need one, but for civilized life as we know it."
—Mike Rowe, creator and executive producer of the Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs
"At a time when more and more are flocking back to the hallowed halls of the university in search of re-training and more substantial resumes, famed educator and professor Rose (Possible Lives) rethinks the role of college in American social and political life, proffering moving arguments for higher education reform.... Those working in secondary education would be remiss to ignore these crucial lessons."
"Whether the students Rose interviews are attending school for retraining, for the social interaction, or for a second chance at a better life, his prose pulls readers into becoming cheerleaders for them as they struggle to master basic reading and writing skills or learn the complexities of welding."
"Rose's idealism is the best kind: informed, tough-minded, self-aware. Those of us who inhabit lives on the cushier side of the educational boundary should honor, and act upon, his profoundly democratic spirit."
—The Cutting Edge News
"Thoughtful and surprising."
—The Washington Post
"Rose is a natural storyteller [with] an inclusive vision...A very important book."
—The Daily Kos
"Impassioned, compelling...[Rose] has the knack of an experienced news writer for placing you on the scene."
"Rose insists eloquently that every productive adult in our society needs an education that fully engages the mind and heart."
"We see what Rose sees, and hear what he hears, in deep and sustained ways as he travels alongside students he accompanies to class in a range of 'second chance' programs
We get to know those students."
—The Journal of Higher Education
"Back to School makes its argument with Rose's usual intellectual thoroughness, low-key eloquence, and keen journalistic eye."
—Erin Aubry Kaplan, KCET-TV
Preface: Second Chances xiii
Introduction: Why Going Back to School Matters 1
1 Adult Education and the Landscape of Opportunity 33
2 Who Should Go to College? Unpacking the College-for-All Versus Occupational Training Debate 57
3 Full Cognitive Throttle: When Education for Work Ignites the Mind 67
4 Who We Are: Portraits from an Urban Community College 81
5 Overcoming Bad Ideas: Toward Success with Remedial Education and Bridging the Academic-Vocational Divide 115
6 Improving the People's College 143
Conclusion: A Learning Society 183