Examines major myths informing American education and explores how educators can better serve students, increase college retention rates, and develop alternatives to college that don’t disadvantage students on the basis of race or income
Each year, as the founding headmaster of the Boston Arts Academy (BAA), an urban high school that boasts a 94 percent college acceptance rate, Linda Nathan made a promise to the incoming freshmen: “All of you will graduate from high school and go on to college or a career.” After fourteen years at the helm, Nathan stepped down and took stock of her alumni: of those who went to college, a third dropped out. Feeling like she failed to fulfill her promise, Nathan reflected on ideas she and others have perpetuated about education: that college is for all, that hard work and determination are enough to get you through, that America is a land of equality.
In When Grit Isn’t Enough, Nathan investigates five assumptions that inform our ideas about education today, revealing how these beliefs mask systemic inequity. Seeing a rift between these false promises and the lived experiences of her students, she argues that it is time for educators to face these uncomfortable issues head-on and explores how educators can better serve all students, increase college retention rates, and develop alternatives to college that don’t disadvantage students on the basis of race or income.
Drawing on the voices of BAA alumni whose stories provide a window through which to view urban education today, When Grit Isn’t Enough helps imagine greater purposes for schooling.
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About the Author
Linda F. Nathan is the first executive director of the Center for Artistry and Scholarship and has taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Education for fifteen years. Dr. Nathan served as founding headmaster of the Boston Arts Academy (BAA), Boston’s only public high school for the visual and performing arts. She also founded and directed the Center for Arts in Education, an arm of BAA that serves the outreach, professional development, and arts advocacy needs of the school. Dr. Nathan was the codirector of Fenway High School for fourteen years and founded two nonprofit organizations: El Pueblo Nuevo (arts and youth development) and the Center for Collaborative Education (school reform issues). She is also the cofounder of the Perrone-Sizer Institute for Creative Leadership and serves on numerous nonprofit boards both locally and nationally. Nathan is the author of The Hardest Questions Aren’t on the Test.
Table of Contents
“Money Doesn’t Have to Be an Obstacle”
“Race Doesn’t Matter”
“Just Work Harder”
“Everyone Can Go to College”
“If You Believe, Your Dreams Will Come True”