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Saving the School

One Woman's Fight for the Kids That Education Reform Left Behind

Michael Brick

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

Inside the race to save a great American high school, where making the numbers is only the beginning

Being principal was never her dream. Anabel Garza, the young widow of a young cop, got by teaching English to immigrant children, taking college classes at night and raising her son.

And Reagan High was no dream assignment. Once famous for its state football championships, educational achievements and award-winning design, the school was a shadow of its former self. “Identified for improvement,” said the federal government. “Academically unacceptable,” said the state. Promising students were fleeing. Test scores were plunging. The education commissioner set a deadline of one year, threatening to close the school for good.

But when Anabel took the job - cruising the mall for dropouts, tailoring lessons to the tests, firing a few lazy teachers and supporting the rest – she started something no one expected. As the numbers rose, she set out to re-create the high school she remembered, with plays and dances, yearbooks and clubs, crowded bleachers and teachers who brought books alive.

And soon she was not alone. There was Derrick Davis, a star player on the basketball team in the early 1990s, coaching the Raiders toward a chance at the playoffs. There was Candice Kaiser, a science teacher who had left hard partying behind for Christ, drilling her students on chemistry while she drove them to games, tutoring sessions, Bible studies and sometimes even doctors’ appointments. There were JaQuarius Daniels, Ashley Brown and 900 other kids trying to pass the exams, escape the streets and restore the pride of a neighborhood, all while still growing up.

Across the country, public schools face the threat of extinction in the numerically ordained churn of the accountability movement. Now, for the first time, we can tally the human cost of rankings and scores. In this powerful rejoinder to the prevailing winds of American education policy, Michael Brick takes us inside the high-pressure world of a school on the brink. Compelling, character-driven narrative journalism, Saving the School pays overdue tribute to the great American high school, and to the people inside.

Publishers Weekly Review

Apr 23, 2012 – Former New York Times reporter Brick presents a well-researched look at John H. Reagan High School in Texas, which was on the verge of being shut down until an unlikely principal—a widowed mother named Anabel Garza—came along. While the topic is indisputably timely and important, and the book offers a concrete, story-driven look into U.S. education policy, the prose and characterization fall short. Scenes that could be compelling often read like dialogue from a television script. “‘People used to pick on me too. If you let them get the better of you, they’ll just keep doing it. You need to turn away,” says a “school improvement facilitator” who looks “like he’d stepped out of a buddy cop movie.” The reader may question whether the school, with its high dropout rate, teen pregnancies, and academic failures, should be allotted the resources to be “saved,” which speaks to Brick’s decision to let the story speak for itself rather than tackling larger questions. He focuses on Garza’s and others’ efforts and involvements in ensuring a future for Reagan High. Despite the project’s high stakes, Brick’s reliance on trite quotation and magazine-style storytelling may interfere with the book’s ability to reach a wide audience.
Saving the School
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  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Social Science
  • Published: Aug 16, 2012
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
  • Print Length: 288 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.

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