Sunday, October 25, 2015

Here’s the very critical (and mostly wrong) NYT book review by Alex Kotlowitz:

Here's the very critical (and mostly wrong) NYT book review by Alex Kotlowitz:

"The Prize" may well be one of the most important books on education to come along in years. It serves as a kind of corrective to the dominant narrative of school reformers across the country. I'm not giving anything away by telling you that this bold effort in Newark falls far short of success. Most everyone moves on. Booker is elected to the Senate — and his nemesis, a high school principal deeply critical of his school reform efforts, becomes the city's next elected mayor. Christie gets caught up in the bridge-lane-closure scandal, and of course is now running for president. Anderson recently announced her resignation as superintendent. The one individual who appears changed by the experience is, somewhat surprisingly, Zuckerberg. Last year, along with his wife, Priscilla Chan, who as a pediatric intern cared for underserved children around San Francisco, Zuckerberg announced a gift of $120 million in grants to high-poverty schools in the Bay Area. This time, though, they declared their intent to include parents and teachers in the planning process. But more to the point, a key component to their grants includes building "a web of support for students," everything from medical to mental health care. Zuckerberg came to recognize that school reform alone isn't enough, that if we're going to make a difference in the classroom, we also need to make a difference in the lives of these children, many of whom struggle against the debilitating effects of poverty and trauma. Here is where this story ends — but also where the next story begins.

'The Prize,' by Dale Russakoff

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