A Chance to Make History: What Works and What Doesn't in Providing an Excellent Education for All

A Chance to Make History: What Works and What Doesn't in Providing an Excellent Education for All

by Wendy Kopp
     
 

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On Teach For America’s twentieth anniversary, its founder offers an inspiring summation of the lessons learned: The achievement gap can be closed, and there’s nothing elusive about what it will takeSee more details below

Overview

On Teach For America’s twentieth anniversary, its founder offers an inspiring summation of the lessons learned: The achievement gap can be closed, and there’s nothing elusive about what it will take

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Anoptimistic narrative about school reform from an author with an unusual perspective.

Kopp (One Day, All Children...: The Unlikely Triumph of Teach For America and What I Learned Along the Way, 2001) founded Teach for America 20 years ago, and currently serves as its chief executive. Because of her vision, tens of thousands of young men and women decided to instruct the neediest children in schools across the United States, both in decaying urban cores and isolated rural areas. Despite—orpossibly because of—their lack of teacher training within colleges, those trained by Kopp tend to improve classroom learning. The author mostly remains in the background as she distills lessons learned from Teach for America enrollees. Although numerous attitudes and skills constitute superb teaching, perhaps the foremost attribute is the belief that disadvantaged children can learn well enough to attend college. Then it becomes a matter of persuading those children about what they can achieve. As Kopp seems to be veering into the never-never land of outsized optimism, she reins herself in by showing how far most schools need to travel todeliver on thepromise ofa first-class education for every student. A large percentage of the author's examples derive from New Orleans, where school administrators started fresh after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina; Washington, D.C., during the controversial tenure of superintendent Michelle Rhea; and New York City, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg and schools chief Joel Klein refused to believe that good was good enough. Kopp labels the desirable educators "transformational teachers." She has observed many such educators, especially those she knows from Teach for America, and interviewed many of them while composing this book. Transformational teachers tend to raise the overall learning abilities and standardized test scores of every student in the classroom, despite the seeming improbability of such an outcome. However, Kopp emphasizes that there are no shortcuts. Even the most successful teachers need time, counted in years, to hone their leadership skills and sell their ways of functioning to suspicious, by-the-book administrators.

No matter the real-world glitches in her proposals, Kopp's insistence on aiming high should make it required reading for all professional educators.

From the Publisher
“Kopp’s insistence on aiming high should make it required reading for all professional educators.”
Kirkus

“Kate Mulligan does a fine job narrating . . . [her voice] fits the serious topic being discussed. . . . This book is for educators or anyone who has a deep interest in improving our educational system.”
AudioFile

Library Journal
On the heels of the 20th anniversary of Teach for America (www.teachforamerica.org), the international nonprofit's founder and president, Kopp (One Day, All Children), and vice president, Farr (Teaching as Leadership), describe largely through anecdotes the successes of the renowned program that began as a grassroots initiative with the lofty goal of ending educational inequality in the United States. With recent college graduates encouraged to contract two years of K-12 teaching in high-poverty schools, many of the program's participants have stayed on for longer; many others have made education, education reform, or educational leadership their unexpected career path. The authors maintain that the secret to the organization's transformational results are hard work, dedication, the recruitment of outside resources, and an unshakable belief in the potential of the children they teach. Kate Mulligan narrates in a pleasantly clear and straightforward manner. For education and social science policy collections. ["Sure to inspire both current and future teachers," read the review of the PublicAffairs hc, LJ Xpress Reviews, 12/24/10.—Ed.]—J. Sara Paulk, Wythe-Grayson Regional Lib., Independence, VA

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781586487409
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Publication date:
01/25/2011
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
943,584
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

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