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Class Warfare

Inside the Fight to Fix America's Schools

Steven Brill

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

IN a reporting tour de force, award-winning journalist Steven Brill takes an uncompromising look at the adults who are fighting over America’s failure to educate its children—and points the way to reversing that failure.

Brill’s vivid narrative—filled with unexpected twists and turns—takes us from the Oval Office, where President Obama signs off on an unprecedented plan that will infuriate the teachers’ unions because it offers billions to states that win an education reform “contest”; to boisterous assemblies, where parents join the fight over their children’s schools; to a Fifth Avenue apartment, where billionaires plan a secret fund to promote school reform; to a Colorado high school, where students who seemed destined to fail are instead propelled to college; to state capitols across the country, where school reformers hoping to win Obama’s “contest” push bills that would have been unimaginable a few years ago.

It’s the story of an unlikely army—fed-up public school parents, Ivy League idealists, hedge-funders, civil rights activists, conservative Republicans, insurgent Democrats—squaring off against unions that the reformers claim are protecting a system that works for the adults but victimizes the children.

Class Warfare is filled with extraordinary people taking extraordinary paths: a young woman who goes into teaching almost by accident, then becomes so talented and driven that fighting burnout becomes her biggest challenge; an antitrust lawyer who almost brought down Bill Gates’s Microsoft and now forms a partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates to overhaul New York’s schools; a naïve Princeton student who launches an army of school reformers with her senior thesis; a California teachers’ union lobbyist who becomes the mayor of Los Angeles and then the union’s prime antagonist; a stubborn young teacher who, as a child growing up on Park Avenue, had been assumed to be learning disabled but ends up co-founding the nation’s most successful charter schools; and an anguished national union leader who walks a tightrope between compromising enough to save her union and giving in so much that her members will throw her out.

Brill not only takes us inside their roller-coaster battles, he also concludes with a surprising prescription for what it will take from both sides to put the American dream back in America’s schools.

Publishers Weekly Review

Aug 15, 2011 – In this politically charged, insightful take on U.S. educational reform, journalist Brill (The Teamsters) weaves stories of successes and failures into his snapshots of the education system. With a focus on disadvantaged New York City schools, portraits of individuals such as Wendy Kopp (founder of Teach for America) and Dave Levin (founder of the Knowledge is Power Program, a network of charter schools), provide context and commentary. Levin seems hopeful about President Obama's reforms, though he concedes: "we finally seem motivated, but it's going to take a long time." Brill suggests policy should be less about resources, and more about "school systems where the adults never sit down." However, investigations into such initiatives reveal pitfalls— from burnout to incompetent teachers abusing unions, all of which compromise the future of America's youth. Brill paraphrases in a thrilling fashion, hinting at scandals, examining phenomena such as "Rubber Rooms" and the Widget Effect, and relaying impromptu speeches in Manhattan apartments from Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama. An advocate for "spending smarter, not spending more," his reform ideas may seem vague. However, with each piece of the puzzle, this philosophy gains clarity. Though his fly-on-the-wall approach can feel disjointed, his concluding remarks will spark debate.

Customer Reviews

How Hard to Force the Horse?

Sure, some hate to read and some have never been given a book by their parents, but if we can just get rid of all of these ineffective writers, the world would be a better place!

Class Warfare
View In iTunes
  • $13.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Education
  • Published: Aug 16, 2011
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Seller: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
  • Print Length: 496 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings

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