Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System and a Strategy for America's Schools

Improbable Scholars The Rebirth of a Great American School System and a Strategy for America s Schools No school district can be all charismatic leaders and super teachers It can t start from scratch and it can t fire all its teachers and principals when students do poorly Great charter schools can on

  • Title: Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System and a Strategy for America's Schools
  • Author: David L. Kirp
  • ISBN: 9780199987498
  • Page: 151
  • Format: Hardcover
  • No school district can be all charismatic leaders and super teachers It can t start from scratch, and it can t fire all its teachers and principals when students do poorly Great charter schools can only serve a tiny minority of students Whether we like it or not, most of our youngsters will continue to be educated in mainstream public schools The good news, as David L.No school district can be all charismatic leaders and super teachers It can t start from scratch, and it can t fire all its teachers and principals when students do poorly Great charter schools can only serve a tiny minority of students Whether we like it or not, most of our youngsters will continue to be educated in mainstream public schools The good news, as David L Kirp reveals in Improbable Scholars, is that there s a sensible way to rebuild public education and close the achievement gap for all students Indeed, this is precisely what s happening in a most unlikely place Union City, New Jersey, a poor, crowded Latino community just across the Hudson from Manhattan The school district once one of the worst in the state has ignored trendy reforms in favor of proven game changers like quality early education, a word soaked curriculum, and hands on help for teachers When beneficial new strategies have emerged, like using sophisticated data crunching to generate pinpoint assessments to help individual students, they have been folded into the mix The results demand that we take notice from third grade through high school, Union City scores on the high stakes state tests approximate the statewide average In other words, these inner city kids are achieving just as much as their suburban cousins in reading, writing, and math What s even impressive, nearly ninety percent of high school students are earning their diplomas and sixty percent of them are going to college Top students are winning national science awards and full rides at Ivy League universities These schools are not just good places for poor kids They are good places for kids, period Improbable Scholars offers a playbook not a prayer book for reform that will dramatically change our approach to reviving public education.

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      Published :2019-09-02T18:07:52+00:00

    About "David L. Kirp"

    1. David L. Kirp

      David L. Kirp Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System and a Strategy for America's Schools book, this is one of the most wanted David L. Kirp author readers around the world.

    418 thoughts on “Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System and a Strategy for America's Schools”

    1. I think this is the best book on education/education reform that I've read, and I think I'm at about twenty now.It's entirely calm and sensible, with a complete lack of overheated hyperventilation about the need to train people for the 21st century and how far behind we are and how it's education that prevents people from getting decent jobs and earning a good living (as though our economic system and the fact that median wages have been stagnant since 1971 have nothing to do with those problems [...]


    2. We published this at work and my boss gave me a copy. I was confused as to how this would be relevant since I don't work in a school but it quickly became apparent. I learned so much about leadership skills and performance management that are transferable to all businesses. I'd highly recommend this particularly if you're a manager or trying to effect changes at work.


    3. We all know--from standardized scores--that American students in K-12 compare indifferently with students from other countries. Much work has been done to identify why American scores often tend to be mediocre in terms of international leaders.This book uses a case study--of the Union City, NJ school district--to determine what factors may be at play in students in this poor district doing better than anticipated. Once a very poorly performing school district, student performance improved greatl [...]


    4. Kirp's book is mediocre-to-decent (2.5 stars?)I rounded up because I appreciated the positivity and hope. Kirp explores the public schools in Union City, NJ and their decade climb to "success" - primarily to prove that a) charter schools, private schools, money, and other factors aren't the only sources of progressive change in education these days and b) public school's in areas of socio-economic stress are capable of positive change. As an elementary school teacher it was uplifting and encoura [...]


    5. It’s all bad news out of American public schools these days. Tests scores are declining, we hear, students don’t want to go to school, and the curriculum is more and more watered down.But what about those schools that should be failing but are not? What are those teachers and administrators doing differently?Kirp takes a close look at one such school district. It’s in Union City, New Jersey and the students are predominantly poor and predominantly not native English speakers. Yet students [...]


    6. This is a book recounting a successful example of a turnaround effort in the primary and secondary school districts of a poor urban community - Union City, New Jersey. The author is a public policy professor at Berkeley who appears to focus in part on education policy issues. The book is a case study/narrative that involved the author supplementing his documentary and archival sources with an extended period of sitting in on the operations of schools and interviewing administrators, teachers, st [...]


    7. Very good book on education. Shines hope on public education and the system in place. It takes a village. Very well thought out with data to back up claims.


    8. Guest Review by "Publishers Weekly"Too many American public school students, especially poor and minority students, lack basic reading and math proficiency and are educated by uninspired teachers. What to do? To find out, UC Berkeley education and public policy expert David Kirp spent a year at in classrooms in a school district in Union City, N.J that, improbably, works very well, despite its 20% poverty rate and substantial immigrant population. Among the keys to success are mutual help among [...]


    9. This is an easy read and I think gives an excellent overview of "school reform" that works. Of course, that reform works if, and ONLY IF, the community, the entire school system, AND local government works together to benefit the students they actually have, instead of the students they might wish they have. Oh and extremely generous per-pupil funding. *cough* In the main example in the book, I was bowled over by the acceptance of and pursuit of 1. bilingual education and 2. the excruciating imp [...]


    10. Kirp does a good job of conveying the principles of running an effective school system: consistency, a coherent curriculum, and hard work. He tells this story from within a few classrooms and schools in Union City, New Jersey, and his narrative made me miss my 5th grade classroom and also made me wish that every teacher had a supportive audience recording the long-term progress of their students in their classroom. It can be hard to see the forest for the trees while teaching, but Kirp is able t [...]


    11. Another recommendation from my grandson. The author spends a year in Union City School District in New Jersey studying administration, faculty and students. This district has made gains in state tests and has a high percentage of college bound graduates. The reasons: administrators who are instructional leaders, not paper pushers; teachers who are invested in their students and willing to try new things to engage their learners; students who are excited about school because of their teachers; pa [...]



    12. If someone wanted to understand the current education debate, I would absolutely point them to this book. It focuses on the many things that the Union City (New Jersey) school system is doing right and the struggles it still has despite their successes. This encompasses most of the book, though from different levels (classroom, city, district, state, etc.). I found myself skimming through some of these parts because there was very little new to me. The "Strategy for America's Schools" part of th [...]


    13. I very much appreciated the hope this story offers for public schools. Although he fails to bring up some of the hardships and difficulties Union City faced, Kirp truthfully takes a more holistic approach to school reform and reveals the truth: that the issues in education are complex. It isn't a blame game like most views these days. He stresses the importance of collaboration between all players: teacher feedback/mentoring, supportive administration, an engaging active learning curriculum, man [...]


    14. I’m very glad I read this book. The author takes a look at (in particular) the school system at Union City in New Jersey (a place I know and remember from my days in seminary). The school system has done an impressive job in difficult circumstances there and the author does a good job of investigating and pointing to the reasons for the success (this is a public school system). He also takes briefer looks at a couple of other school systems in low income settings. He also offers a brief analys [...]


    15. As an account of a district that successfully went from the brink of a state takeover to a model district over a period of 20+ years, Kirp's book is inspiring and a good read for individuals involved in and around improving education.As a 'how to' guide for other districts or as a criticism of the current policy approaches to turning around low performing schools and districts, however, Kirp's book falls flat. While Kirp's story of Union City, NJ describes very well what works in turning around [...]


    16. Kirp gives us an inside look at the workings of a New Jersey school district whose success is built on pure hard work from every aspect. He then generalizes their strategy as a suggestion for turning around many failing school systems. He doesn't claim to have an easy fix and adds a lot of character into his narrative research. I enjoyed the book, and while I found it a bit slow moving at times, I think it's a helpful reality check to all those who play the blame game when talking about American [...]


    17. I had high expectations for this book, and in many ways was disappointed. While the title talks about strategies to make a strong school system, the book is basically about one particular district and their practice. Useful and interesting in and of itself, but I didn't feel like Kirp made any kind of case of how you tie that good practice, with the policies we make to govern school systems. That's the 64,000 question, and it wasn't answered. He's an engaging writer, but it left me impatient and [...]


    18. Education book that will be largely ignored because it doesn't promote any of the showy strategies (except maybe preschool) or miracle cure. Instead it calls for preschool, "word-soaked" classrooms, fluency in native language first then English, challenging and consistent curriculum, analysis of tests to determine student problems, help for teachers and students, parents as partners, and high expectations with a culture of caring.


    19. There is exactly one chapter in this book that lives up to the author's assertion that he's NOT going to focus on extraordinary individuals as the source of change in school reform--the last chapter. In the other 200 or so pages, you won't find anything different than most other tales of turnaround schools and systems. That combined with the need for a much more engaged editor drop this book below the halfway mark in stars for me.


    20. Some nice narratives about good teachers, but I'm not sure I'm buying this book. He didn't convince me that Union City really was doing all the well or help me understand why. Then, towards the end, he talked about Joel Klein being fired. That's not what happened. He stepped down because he had served 8 years in a tough job and didn't want to serve a third term with Bloomberg. Bloomy always loved him, as shown by his subsequent appointments. If he got that wrong, what else is he so off about?


    21. Yet more thoughtful, well-researched, and well-written evidence of what good teachers have known all along. School reform has to be thoughtful, slow and steady, and done in collaboration among teachers, administers, parents, students, and policy makers. Transformers like Joel Kline and Michelle Rhee are trying to force school improvement in exactly the wrong direction, calling for sweeping, controversial, and immediate change.


    22. This was a thought provoking read. It tells about the tremendous pressure school districts are under to provide improvements. It also highlights meaningful improvements that all schools can make mostly by investing in teachers and not making them scapegoats and seeing the importance of early childhood education. I really enjoyed it.


    23. An interesting qualitative study of a single high-poverty school district with a large number of newly-arrived immigrants and English language learners. Worth reading for everyone interested in education policy, particularly those who think that there is a single key or set of non-negotiable reforms that will fit every district and school.


    24. a close look at Jersey City's schools, which grew from failing to one of the nation's top districts, teaches lessons that any district can use to improve: a commitment to high-quality early childhood education for all students, a common and consistently implemented curriculum, coaching for teachers, data-driven instruction, and a "plan, do, review" approach that leads to continuous improvement.


    25. As good book about how to truly reform schools to be successful. Uses the work of Union City, NJ to build success in its schools. This book offers hope that someday the reforms of Joel Klein and Michelle Rhee will be long gone.


    26. As someone around schools, it feels essential. Contrary to quick fix and market ideological reform fashions, Kirp proposes doing what works and doing it for a long time. Shouldn't be revolutionary but it is.


    27. The depth of this exploration and research makes the book a valuable work. There are important lessons here for anyone interested in education. I'm not sure I agreed with all of Kirp's conclusions but there's no doubt he came to them through long consideration, experience, research analysis.




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