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The Street Stops Here: A Year at a Catholic High School in Harlem / Edition 1

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Overview

"There are two Harlems," observes Patrick J. McCloskey in this engrossing narrative. "One bursts with new hope, while the other has remained marooned on the edge of the mainstream for generations." The problem, he asserts, is the enormous difficulty urban minority children face in getting a quality education. The Street Stops Here offers a deeply personal and compelling account of this struggle in a controversial setting, a Catholic high school in central Harlem, where mostly disadvantaged (and often non-Catholic) African American young men graduate on time and get into college. Interweaving vivid portraits of day-to-day school life with clear and even-handed analysis, McCloskey takes us through an eventful year at Rice High School, as staff, students, and families make heroic efforts to prevail against society's negative expectations. McCloskey's riveting narrative brings into sharp relief an urgent public policy question: whether (and how) to save these schools, which provide the only educational hope for thousands of poor and working-class students - and thus fulfill a crucial public mandate. Just as significantly, The Street Stops Here offers invaluable lessons for low-performing urban public schools.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Keeping the challenges of urban education in mind, McCloskey, who writes for the New York Times, monitors a year of studies at a Catholic high school in Harlem in his debut book, revealing the soaring cost of academically training young poor and non-Catholic black males for graduation and college. The subject of the yearlong investigation is Rice High School, with principal Orlando Gober, who keeps the street culture at bay while pursuing educational excellence and a high moral foundation. With the highest black student population in the regional diocese, Gober makes no excuses for how schools have failed: "parents and teachers made excuses, which crippled their willpower.... People have to be held responsible for what they do." It is illuminating to see the struggles and triumphs of a school day where students feud, teachers jockey for power, and administrative control must be maintained at all costs. Powerful, eloquent, candid, McCloskey's account should be required reading for those who seek to remedy the academic woes of our troubled urban schools. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
McCloskey embarks on a qualitative exploration of a New York City parochial high school. "The most urgent problem in American education today," the author writes, "is the high dropout rate and low achievement of inner-city minority students." As the Catholic school model has shown a measure of success in educational achievement and graduation rates, often with fewer resources than public institutions, McCloskey undertook a nonideological inquiry to see what makes one inner-city, underfunded Catholic school successful. This entailed a yearlong immersion into Rice High School, an all-boys parochial academy in Harlem with a student body comprised of 85 percent African-Americans and 15 percent Hispanics. The author sat in on daily classes, attended events and teachers' meetings, conducted interviews and visited students on their home turf. Rice is no cakewalk for students or teachers: All kids, regardless of issues, are taught in the same way, with a demanding curriculum, and there are expectations, discipline and extensive parent-teacher interaction. No effort is made to convert students to Catholicism, but morality and social justice are tangible dimensions of daily life. McCloskey situates Rice within the evolution of U.S. public and parochial education, noting its imperfections, but also the fact that it graduates many more students than public schools with similarly difficult demographics. The author makes a solid case for public funding of inner-city parochial schools that is both hard to challenge-certainly as long as the pedagogical and administrative model meets resistance in the public-education sphere-and likely to cause church-state feuds. Still, he notes, "[t]he only certaintyhere is that people who fight against public funding for inner-city Catholics schools would never condemn their children to the public schools they so readily consign those children."The unadorned narrative is convincing in its portrayal of Rice's mission to put an education, not a creed, into young men's heads.
Wall Street Journal
Should be required reading for anyone who is interested in the welfare of our kids.
San Francisco Chronicle
“ A primer for urban school districts. . . (A) tale of educational triumph that the book rises to page after page.”
The Weekly Standard
“If President Obama . . . . wants to know "what works for kids," particularly students on the social margins, he should pick up The Street Stops Here.”
National Catholic Reporter
“While others have told the story of Catholic education today, none have told the story on the school level better than McCloskey.”
Ottawa Citizen
“Hollywood should grab this plot and ensure Denzel Washington gets the lead role.”
Christianity Today/ Books & Culture
“Not only an engaging read; it actually provides a model for reforming a segment of our nation’s schools.”
New York Times
“Anyone who questions the value of a good Catholic school education must read Patrick J. McCloskey’s “The Street Stops Here.””
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Patrick J. McCloskey writes for many prominent publications, including City Journal, New York Times, STATS.org, Teacher Magazine and the National Post.

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