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Work Hard. Be Nice: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America
     

Work Hard. Be Nice: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America

2.8 14
by Jay Mathews, Paul Boehmer (Narrated by)
 

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When Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin signed up for Teach for America right after college and found themselves utter failures in the classroom, they vowed to remake themselves into superior educators. They did that-and more. In their early twenties, by sheer force of talent and determination never to take no for an answer, they created a wildly successful fifth-grade

Overview

When Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin signed up for Teach for America right after college and found themselves utter failures in the classroom, they vowed to remake themselves into superior educators. They did that-and more. In their early twenties, by sheer force of talent and determination never to take no for an answer, they created a wildly successful fifth-grade experience that would grow into the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP), which today includes sixty-six schools in nineteen states and the District of Columbia. KIPP schools incorporate what Feinberg and Levin learned from America's best, most charismatic teachers: lessons need to be lively; school days need to be longer (the KIPP day is nine and a half hours); the completion of homework has to be sacrosanct (KIPP teachers are available by telephone day and night). Chants, songs, and slogans such as "Work hard, be nice" energize the program. Illuminating the ups and downs of the KIPP founders and their students, Mathews gives us something quite rare: a hopeful book about education.

Editorial Reviews

USA Today
“A grand example of humanitarianism in the classroom: Naysayers who believe there’s no hope for America’s inner-city schools haven’t met Feinberg and Levin.”
Kirkus
From the Publisher
“J. Paul Boehmer captures both the fiery idealism and initial naïveté in the voices of the two protagonists as they parlay their postcollege Teach for America stint in inner-city Houston into a bold national experiment in classroom instruction and school governance.”
Publishers Weekly

“Along with a fascinating palette of tone and phrasing variations, Paul Boehmer’s performance adds a fitting amount of admiration for the authors’ achievements.”
AudioFile

Publishers Weekly
Mathews's sprawling narrative traces the birth and early development of the controversial Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) through the eyes of its charismatic young founders, Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin. J. Paul Boehmer captures both the fiery idealism and initial naïveté in the voices of the two protagonists as they parlay their postcollege Teach for America stint in inner-city Houston into a bold national experiment in classroom instruction and school governance. Boehmer provides an especially memorable portrayal of Feinberg and Levin's early mentor Harriett Ball, a veteran educator whose commanding presence conveys both maternal warmth and tough determination. Boehmer only misfires once, when he fails to provide a cue that he is shifting from storytelling into an expository section analyzing the KIPP track record. An Algonquin hardcover (Reviews, Oct. 13). (Apr.)
Library Journal
In 1994, frustrated by the widely held attitude that low-income students were incapable of academic success, teachers Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin founded the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP; www.kipp.org), which emphasizes the "joy factor" of learning and is today implemented in 82 schools nationwide. Here, Washington Post education reporter Mathews clearly demonstrates the enthusiasm, hard work, and dedication of the KIPP teachers and students, while Audie Award winner J. Paul Boehmer does a credible job of portraying Feinberg and Levin. Sure to inspire both educators and parents, especially those looking to make a difference in schools performing poorly and in need of change. [The Algonquin pb, published in January, was a New York Times best seller.—Ed.]—Theresa Stoner, St. Joseph Cty. P.L., South Bend, IN

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781598879056
Publisher:
HighBridge Company
Publication date:
04/08/2009
Edition description:
Unabridged; 10.5 hours on 9 CDs
Pages:
1
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
4 - 17 Years

What People are Saying About This

Richard Riley
“In Work Hard, Be Nice, Jay Mathews captures the exuberance, intelligence, and plain old-fashioned stick-to-itiveness of two young educators. Like them, the book is filled with energy and hope. It's why KIPP schools are successful and why this book should be read by everyone who cares about education in our country. —Richard W. Riley, former U.S. Secretary of Education
From the Publisher
"KIPP academies are unlike any urban public schools I have encountered during 40 years as an educator: students are totally focused, engaged in uniformly demanding subject matter, always respecting their teachers and classmates, and loving the work they are doing. In Work Hard. Be Nice, Jay Mathews tells the compelling tale of the two young teachers who conceived and founded KIPP. Their inspiring story is more than one of triumph against the odds. It is a real-life parable for transforming our nation's failing schools and insuring bright futures for our most forgotten children."
—Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., President & CEO, UNCF (United Negro College Fund)

Meet the Author


JAY MATHEWS covers education for the Washington Post and has created Newsweek's annual Best High Schools rankings. He has won the Benjamin Fine Award for Outstanding Education Reporting for both features and column writing and is the author of six previous books, including Escalante: The Best Teacher in America, about the teacher who was immortalized in the movie Stand and Deliver.

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Work Hard. Be Nice.: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America [With Headphones] 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
UF_Gator More than 1 year ago
This book fully debunks the myth that children from low-income families or inner-cities can't succeed in school. Yes, schools that serve these children have more difficulty achieving the standards and performance of schools in wealthier areas, but after reading this book you will amazed at what a school filled with teachers focused on improving educational outcomes for children can achieve. While reading, pay attention to the emphasis on constant improvement. The question asked is always, "Is what we're doing improving educational outcomes for students?" If it's not, can it and trying something else. This level of professionalism and hard work reminds me of the way the top and most prestigious corporations run: how can the corporation create value for its customers. It's this similar emphasis to constant improvement that distinguishes the KIPP schools described in this book from the bureaucratic and languid public school system. A system that ultimately fails, on the whole, to educate the least privileged among us. From start to finish, an engrossing read--particularly if you are interested in education and the future of this country.
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I thought this book was great; It's wonderful to hear about the good things that are happening in education out there, when we hear so much negative in the news. I love hearing about teachers who are working so hard for our kids and not giving up on them.
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