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Lessons of Hope: How to Fix Our Schools by…
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Lessons of Hope: How to Fix Our Schools

by Joel Klein

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"Public education needs radical rethinking."

LESSONS OF HOPE is primarily a autobiographical discussion of the author's term as chancellor of the New York City public school system. Mr Klein explains why he wrote this book: "Public education needs radical rethinking."

Regardless of whether you are aligned with Joel Klein's politics, or not, you will have to admit one thing: The author is a very brave man. He took on a complex bureaucracy that was "designed for the sole purpose of maximizing benefits for well connected adults - politicians, unions, bureaucrats, and their friends." Mr Klein proposed significant reforms in the school system, such as replacing large high schools with multiple smaller schools. He also battled the unions on unproductive work rules. Of course, for this he was greatly attacked, and is still attacked to this day.

Much of the controversy around Mr Klein is based on the philosophy of how do we fix the school system. Some think "You'll never fix education in America until you fix poverty." The author points out that he believes the exact opposite: We will never fix poverty until we fix education." The author credits his own academic success to an inspiring physics teacher, who of all things wanted to teach Joel Einstein's theory of relativity.

Mr Klein points out the biggest problem with public sector labor unions: "In the public sector, unions had a big say and selecting management through the election process. As a result, they had a lot of power on both signs of the labor management n negotiating."

One of his biggest challenges was raising funds from private organizations to support the charter school movement. Ironically one of the biggest donors was the Gates Foundation. The author had previously engaged in a fierce lawsuit against Microsoft, and there were still sore feelings.

The author sums up his philosophy at the very end of the book: "We can remain complacent and watch as our country continues to be ripped apart by a growing underclass ... Or we can finally say what we've long known. Too many of our schools are failing."

√ LESSONS OF HOPE is a well-written, thoughtful book written by a capable, driven figure. The problems discussed in this book are tough ones, and the author's fixes are controversial. This is not a simple book, nor are the solutions trivial.

♫ A Review by Chris Lawson

Note: I do not know the author of this book, and no one requested I write this review. Heck--I didn't even attend school in New York.
( )
  bassocantor | Dec 11, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062268643, Hardcover)

In this revealing and provocative memoir, the former chancellor of the New York City schools offers the behind-the-scenes story of the city’s dramatic campaign to improve public education and an inspiring blueprint for national reform.

In 2002 New York City’s newly elected mayor, Michael Bloomberg, made a historic announcement: his administration had won control of the city’s school system in a first step toward reversing its precipitous decline. In a controversial move, he appointed Joel Klein, an accomplished lawyer from outside the education establishment, to lead this ambitious campaign.

Lessons of Hope is Klein’s inside account of his eight-year mission of improvement: demanding accountability, eliminating political favoritism, and battling a powerful teachers union that seemed determined to protect a status quo that didn’t work for kids. Klein’s initiatives resulted in more school choice, higher graduation rates, and improved test scores. The New York City model is now seen as a national standard for meaningful school reform. But the journey was not easy. Klein faced resistance and conflict at every turn.

Lessons of Hope lays bare the problems plaguing public education and shows how they can be solved. At its core lies Klein’s personal story: his humble upbringing in Brooklyn and Queens, and the key role that outstanding public school teachers played in nurturing his success. Engaging and illuminating, Lessons of Hope is essential reading for anyone concerned about the future of American public education.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:28 -0400)

"In this revealing and thoughtful memoir, the former chancellor of the New York City schools offers the behind-the-scenes story of the city's dramatic campaign to improve public education and an inspiring blueprint for national reform. In 2002, New York City's newly elected mayor, Michael Bloomberg, began his first term with a controversial announcement: his administration had won control of the city's school system in a first step toward reversing its precipitous decline. Joel Klein, an accomplished lawyer completely outside of the education establishment, was selected to lead this ambitious, unprecedented campaign. Lessons of Hope is Klein's inside account of his eight-year mission of improvement: demanding accountability; eliminating political favoritism; and battling a powerful teachers' union that seemed determined to protect the worst in its ranks. Klein's initiative resulted in more school choice, higher graduation rates, and improved test scores. The New York City model is now seen as a national blueprint for meaningful school reform. But the journey was not easy. Klein faced resistance and conflict at every turn. Lessons of Hope serves as a guide to the problems plaguing public education and how they can be solved. At its core lies Klein's personal story: his humble upbringing in Brooklyn and Queens and the essential role that outstanding public school teachers played in nurturing his success. Provocative and illuminating, Lessons of Hope is essential reading for anyone concerned about the future of American public education"--… (more)

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