Be Honest: And Other Advice from Students Across the Country

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Overview


Be Honest is the newest innovative publishing project from 826 National, the tutoring center founded by bestselling author Dave Eggers, now with branches in eight cities nationwide. Eggers’s co-founder Nínive Calegari, the former CEO of 826 National and a co-author of the bestselling Teachers Have It Easy, presents a riveting book full of surprising insights from young people who have a lot to say to their teachers.

Be Honest presents the first-person stories of dozens of high ...

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Be Honest: And Other Advice from Students Across the Country

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Overview


Be Honest is the newest innovative publishing project from 826 National, the tutoring center founded by bestselling author Dave Eggers, now with branches in eight cities nationwide. Eggers’s co-founder Nínive Calegari, the former CEO of 826 National and a co-author of the bestselling Teachers Have It Easy, presents a riveting book full of surprising insights from young people who have a lot to say to their teachers.

Be Honest presents the first-person stories of dozens of high school students from every ethnic group and financial bracket: a girl from an immigrant family is put in an ESL class even though her English is fluent; an African American boy talks about the social pressures that prevent him from asking his teacher for help; and a privileged private school student describes his transition to public school—and reports that he was able to learn more with the increased freedom it brought.

Through these personal narratives, teachers and activists will learn an invaluable lesson: what the classroom looks like from the other side of the desk.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Insightful observations and useful ideas abound in these writings by participants in 826 National, a nonprofit San Francisco–based tutoring program focused on writing. In these "Letters to Teachers," edited by Calegari, the program's cofounder (along with Dave Eggers), the writers address specific "teachers who had an impact on their lives." All the writers are teenagers, and the essays focus on a wide range of subjects: the section "Vignettes Inspired by Sherman Alexie" recalls events from primary through high school. Another section addresses a phrase from James Baldwin, "prepared to ‘go for broke,'" as starting point and assesses the state of American education. One student writes: "I have witnessed the dismantling of the California public education system, one budget cut at a time." Another group of essays explores how schools would look if the students ran them: cleaner bathrooms and working water fountains, more innovative use of space, and a rethinking of metal detectors. The collection is fresh and as informing as much research-oriented work. In pithy, pertinent, and affecting writings, the students advise administrators to make "sure good teachers running all of the classes," and urge teachers to "raise their expectations of all students so that precious potential will not be lost." (July)
From the Publisher

Insightful observations and useful ideas abound in these writings by participants in 826 National, a nonprofit San Francisco–based tutoring program focused on writing. In these "Letters to Teachers," edited by Nínive Calegari, the program's cofounder (along with Dave Eggers), the writers address specific "teachers who had an impact on their lives." All the writers are teenagers, and the essays focus on a wide range of subjects: the section "Vignettes Inspired by Sherman Alexie" recalls events from primary through high school. Another section addresses a phrase from James Baldwin, "prepared to 'go for broke,' as a starting point and assesses the state of American education. One student writes: "I have witnessed the dismantling of the California public education system, one budget cut at a time." Another group of essays explores how schools would look if the students ran them: cleaner bathrooms and working water fountains, more innovative use of space, and a rethinking of metal detectors. The collection is fresh and as informing as much research-oriented work. In pithy, pertinent, and affecting writings, the students advise administrators to make "sure good teachers [are] running all of the classes," and urge teachers to "raise their expectations of all students so that precious potential will not be lost."
Publishers Weekly
Library Journal
826 National is a nonprofit organization that partners writers and educators with classroom teachers and students to develop writing as a means of expression. There are nine 826 locations across the country—Calegari cofounded, with Dave Eggers, the first, in San Francisco. In this collection, students express their thoughts about what works and what doesn't in American education today. While not scholarly or particularly authoritative, the volume has power beyond research and statistics via the voices of students within the educational system. Readers get to see how current policies as they are implemented impact those they are meant to help. VERDICT This is an outstanding book. Not only is it eye-opening to see how students feel about schools and education, it is encouraging to read teens express themselves so capably. It also displays the influence of 826, one of the more innovative school/community partnerships out there. A valuable look at education from students' perspectives.—Mark Bay, Univ. of the Cumberlands Lib., Williamsburg, KY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595586094
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 7/26/2011
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Nínive Calegari is the co-founder of 826 Valencia, and the former CEO of 826 National. She is a co-author (with Daniel Moulthrop and Dave Eggers) of Teachers Have It Easy. She lives in San Francisco.

Neko Case is an American singer-songwriter. Her album Middle Cyclone was released in March 2009. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.

826 National is a nonprofit tutoring, writing, and publishing organization with locations in Ann Arbor, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. It is the recipient of a 2010 Jim Henson Community Honor Award and a 2010 Innovations in Reading Prize from the National Book Foundation.

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Table of Contents

Preface Nínive Calegari xv

Foreword Neko Case xix

1 "Thanks for Teaching Me How to Steer": Letters to Educators 1

"You Interrupted My Dinner" Julia Peck, age 16, Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, Washington, D.C. 3

"Like a Chess Game" Ha Truong, age 18, Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, Washington, D.C. 7

"Hmmmmm, Yeah, Life Is Good" Sergio Hernandez, age 17, Huron High School, Ann Arbor 10

"K.I.S.S. the Equation" Sandra Liu, age 17, Wallenberg Traditional High School, San Francisco 13

"Your Smile Said It All" Heidy Garcia, age 16, Academic Leadership Community, Los Angeles 16

"My Boy" Jonathan Avila, age 16, César Chávez Public Charter School, Washington, D.C. 19

"The Self-Taught Student" Sayre Quevedo, age 17, San Francisco School of the Arts, San Francisco 21

"You Actually Care" Ruby Buendia, age 18, Rauner College Preparatory, Chicago 23

"Change for the Better" Eduardo Diaz, age 13, Hans Christian Andersen School, Chicago 27

"I Will Never Forget" Tatiana Jackson, age 14, Hans Christian Andersen School, Chicago 29

"Algebra for the Afternoon" Michael R.Thompson, age 15, Hans Christian Andersen School, Chicago 32

"Teaching Us About Ourselves" Virginia Urzua Rios, age 18, Oakland Unity High School, San Francisco 34

"What If?" Jessica Volodarsky, age 17, San Francisco School of the Arts, San Francisco 38

"You Are One of Those Teachers" Carrie Hutcheson, age 17, Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, Washington, D.C. 40

"Mixing It Up a Bit" Claire Gillooly Dempsey, age 15, Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, Washington, D.C. 43

"In My Memories and Calculator" Christopher Goodwin Jones, age 16, Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, Washington, D.C. 46

"Dear Chemistry Teacher" Jasmine Franco, age 18, Huron High School, Ann Arbor 48

"A Raffle Ticket Kind of Teacher" Natali Salcedo, age 15, Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, Washington, D.C. 51

"If It Weren't for You" Ryan Hotchkiss, age 17, Huron High School, Ann Arbor 54

"They Matter, As Long As You Make Them Matter" ChyAnne McKinney-Thomas, age 18, Huron High School, Ann Arbor 57

"Building Confidence" Ulises Mendoza, age 14, Hans Christian Andersen School, Chicago 59

"My Very Best Teacher" Ashley Jones, age 17, Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, Washington, D.C. 62

2 "Bobbing When I Should Have Weaved": Vignettes Inspired Sherman Alexie 65

An Introduction Sherman Alexie 67

"Indian Education" Sherman Alexie 68

"The Torment Haunted Me for Some Time" Roderick Casey II, age 16, Huron High School, Ann Arbor 76

"The Contrast" Maria Roldan, age 17, Huron High School, Ann Arbor 81

"Public Schools in San Francisco" Jessica Barrog, age 17, San Francisco School of the Arts, San Francisco 85

"School Is for Learning" Nola McCue, age 17, San Francisco School of the Arts, San Francisco 90

"A New Beginning" Janice Campbell, age 16, the English High School, Boston 95

"Social Birthplace" Daryn Gethers, age 18, the English High School, Boston 98

"Transition" Marco Madera, age 17, the English High School, Boston 101

"Back to Basics" Elizabeth (Ellie) Nguyen, age 16, the English High School, Boston 104

"Empty" Kylie Perry, age 18, the English High School, Boston 107

"My First Teacher Crush" Alexis Polanco, age 18, the English High School, Boston 109

"High School in My Shoes" Justin "Fuzz" Dennis, age 19, Huron High School, Ann Arbor 113

"Bars" Adrienne Flowers, age 17, Huron High School, Ann Arbor 117

"No Turning Back" Cynthia De Jesus Hernández, age 17, Culver City High School, Los Angeles 120

"A New Stage" Michael Liu, age 17, Huron High School, Ann Arbor 125

"The Beautiful Spotlight" Tracy Arteaga, age 18, the English High School, Boston 128

"Rediscovering Me" Arthur Rishaud Thomas, age 18, the English High School Boston 130

"Dead Poets Society" Jamel Richardson, age 17, the English High School, Boston 133

3 Going for Broke": Essays inspired James Baldwin 137

"Silence Is Not Always Golden" Dani Navarre, age 18, Lake Washington High School, Seattle 139

"We Have Already Gone Broke" Gabriela June Tully- Claymore, age 17, San Francisco School of the Arts, San Francisco 142

"A Lesson for Teachers" Cesar Franco, age 21, John Marshall High School, Los Angeles 146

"The Story of My Life" Saif Ghanem, age 17, Huron High School, Ann Arbor 149

"Home Building Class" Travis Adkins, age 18, Huron High School, Ann Arbor 152

4 "Help Us Help Ourselves": Essays Explaining What Schools Would Look Like if These Students Ran Them 155

"Buildings, Do-Nows, and Resources" Jennie Chu, age 18, Wallenberg Traditional High School, San Francisco 157

"New School" Gerardo Longoria, age 17, Huron High School, Ann Arbor 160

"Garden" Chris Olivares, age 14, Miguel Contreras Learning Complex, Los Angeles 165

"Those Horrid Blackouts" Eli Ramírez, age 16, Downtown Business Magnet High School, Los Angeles 168

"If I Ran the School..." Eleanor Hodgson, age 15, Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, Washington, D.C. 171

"A Note from the Principal of Michelle Obama Senior High School" Kelsi Nicole Jones, age 17, Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, Washington, D.C. 175

"Don't Sit" Jake Lindsay, age 18, Running Start Program at Central Community College, Seattle 178

"Talking Back: Changing DCPS and Wilson Senior High School" Alex Neeley, age 16, Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, Washington, D.C. 181

"The New School" Katherine Rosenman, age 15, Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, Washington, D.C. 184

"Only DCPS" by Kirby Sikes, age 15, Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, Washington, D.C. 186

"Teacher, You Don't Understand Me!" Amyiah Alexander, age 19, Huron High School, Ann Arbor 189

"Teachers, Our Last Salvation" Marie Angeles, age 18, Franklin High School, Seattle 192

"Raising the Standards" Natalia Varela, age 18, Summanmish High School, Seattle 195

"Making Mistakes and Learning" Brian Curcio, age 15, British School of Chicago, Chicago 197

"Does it Matter?" Brenda Carrillo, age 18, T.E.C. at the Evergreen Campus, Seattle 202

5 "Tomorrow's Leaders": Speeches in the Voices of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, President Barack Obama, or the Students Themselves 207

"For All" Marlin Quintanilla, age 17, the Branson School, San Francisco 209

"Our Children, Our Role" Madeleine Buck, age 17, San Francisco School of the Arts, San Francisco 213

"The Concerns of Schools" Yuhana Gidey, age 17, Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, Washington, D.C. 216

"The Proper Tools to Prosper" Tinsley Harris, age 15, Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, Washington, D.C. 219

"How It Feels to Be on That List" Yolanda Jordan, age 13, Elizabeth Peabody School, Chicago 222

"Obama's Speech" Kaitlyn Pieske, age 16, Huron High School, Ann Arbor 228

Afterword: "I Didn't Know You Talked Like That" Pirette McKamey 232

Some Suggestions for Making Classroom Publishing Projects Work 235

About the Editors 237

About 826 National 238

Acknowledgments 244

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    If he tried, I would punch him. So its not.

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