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The prize : who's in charge of…
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The prize : who's in charge of America's schools? (edició 2015)

de Dale Russakoff

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1386149,248 (3.8)No n'hi ha cap
"Mark Zuckerberg, Chris Christie, and Cory Booker were ready to reform our failing schools. They got an education. When Mark Zuckerberg announced in front of a cheering Oprah audience his $100 million pledge to transform the Newark Schools -- and to solve the education crisis in every city in America -- it looked like a huge win for then-mayor Cory Booker and governor Chris Christie. But their plans soon ran into a constituency not so easily moved -- Newark's key education players, fiercely protective of their billion-dollar-per-annum system. It's a prize that, for generations, has enriched seemingly everyone, except Newark's students. Expert journalist Dale Russakoff delivers a story of high ideals and hubris, good intentions and greed, celebrity and street smarts -- as reformers face off against entrenched unions, skeptical parents, and bewildered students. The growth of charters forces the hand of Newark's superintendent Cami Anderson, who closes, consolidates, or redesigns more than a third of the city's schools -- a scenario on the horizon for many urban districts across America. Most moving are Russakoff's portraits from inside the district's schools, of home-grown principals and teachers, long stuck in a hopeless system -- and often the only real hope for the children of Newark. The Prize is a portrait of a titanic struggle over the future of education for the poorest kids, and a cautionary tale for those who care about the shape of America's schools. "--… (més)
Membre:ERStrategies
Títol:The prize : who's in charge of America's schools?
Autors:Dale Russakoff
Informació:Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015.
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

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The Prize: Who's in Charge of America's Schools? de Dale Russakoff

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Es mostren 1-5 de 6 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Education sounds like a mess. $100mm to fix things - and most of the moeny goes to buying out crappy teachers. I'm a pro-worker guy - but this sure doesnt put unions in a good light. Who are they there to serve? Themselves or the students? ( )
  bermandog | Apr 22, 2017 |
I found the book both tedious and fascinating. The school district is failing and a crack team of well funded leaders are brought in to save it. The problem is that the know they can't save it because of rules written in state and even federal law that make many changes to the district make up impossible. Most parents get fed up with the district and jump into the open arms of the charters, the future planned for the district. What's left behind is a group of parents and community leaders terrified of losing what little stability left in their lives, their sludge pit of a local school. Eventually, the voters elect new leaders who fight the education experts and the move to charters is slowed, but can not be stopped. ( )
  molloaggie | May 13, 2016 |
This book is written like a piece of fiction; the amount of detail related to interpersonal interaction is stunning.

I had heard of Mark Zuckerberg's $100 million gift to the Newark School System before I had read this book. But this is only half of the money given; it was a matching grant, given alongside another $100 million from the likes of the Gates and Walton foundations.

More importantly, the Newark School System runs an annual budget of around $1 billion. So $200 million sounds like a lot, until you realize it’s just 20% of annual expenditures.

Cory Booker was the inspiration behind the project, the mayor of Newark at the time. Chris Christie was the governor of New Jersey, and supported Booker’s vision. There’s a comment in the books along the lines of, “you can either be a rockstar or a mayor, and Booker is the former.”

Mark got into education reform philanthropy because of his wife, Priscilla Chan. Zuckerberg, along with Sheryl Sandberg [Operations at Facebook], were convinced that student performance would increase dramatically if teachers had performance-based pay [even though the research shows that a student’s household situation is the biggest factor]. They, as well as all the other big names in education reform philanthropy, were very excited about the possibilities of charter schools.

Meanwhile in Newark, locals had a completely different idea of what was going on. They weren’t asking the question “how can we improve the education of our students.” They were talking about job security. The public school system is the largest public employer in Newark, and through it’s tenure system, guarantees thousands of teachers jobs regardless of performance. Charter Schools were seen as an enemy as well.

Although Booker and Zuckerberg had good intentions, it turns out that neither of them spent much of their times in the schools they were changing up, or spent much time looking for community feedback. They quickly became branded as public enemies, even though they were trying to help [and chipping in money to do so].

The funding was supposed to transform the school system over the course of five years [2010 to 2015]. Yet Booker, Christie, and Zuckerberg didn’t end up making this kind of time commitment. Instead, only the superintendent they hired stayed on through the end. Change was not “transformative” as Booker had pledged, and no national models were created.

Looking back on the experiment, I don’t think we should judge anyone involved to have made a terrible mistake. But it could have gone better.

I recommend this book for those looking to learn more about politics on the scale of a large city, education reform, and venture philanthropy. ( )
  willszal | Feb 7, 2016 |
The titular prize is Newark’s school system, though generally as source of patronage or proving ground for big educational theories, rather than as its own unique entity with a history that had to be dealt with in trying to improve service for students. Russakoff tells how Chris Christie and Cory Booker (neither of whom comes off particularly well here, both seeming like publicity hounds using Newark as a pawn in a larger national game) solicited $100 million of Mark Zuckerberg’s money, then proceeded to spend it on a lot of things that didn’t help students--$1000/day consultants, teacher back pay (good reason for that, but didn’t address many pressing needs), keeping unneeded but tenure-protected teachers idle (again, there were good reasons to avoid shoving unneeded fourth-grade teachers into kindergarten classrooms, which would also result in firing promising younger kindergarten teachers, but still frustrating). Along with the profiteers, there are a number of dedicated people in the story, but each can only do so much in the face of a deeply dysfunctional system—Russakoff emphasizes how long the school system had been Newark’s employer of last resort, run for the benefit of adults and not children—and in the face of not unjustified suspicion on the part of local parents and teachers. After all, if school reform means closing your school, forcing your kid to walk through a dangerous area to get to the new school, and provides no guarantees of improved performance, it might not seem like the best idea even if the school system in general is failing. I did take some hope from the stories of passionate educators—teachers, principals, even system administrators—working hard to get parent buy-in and trying to create sustainable improvements. Russakoff is pretty evenhanded in treatment of charters, which he argues perform relatively well in places like Newark (though not everywhere), mostly because they don’t have the installed base of people who have to get paid, like the huge administrative staff in the Newark system, and thus can channel more dollars to students. ( )
  rivkat | Dec 11, 2015 |
Fascinating book. Perhaps especially so if you are someone who works in education (and even more if, like me, has taught in the New York-New Jersey area). The thoughtful and multi-perspective depiction of the intersecting layers that make it so hard to do good teaching is powerful (but also hope-depriving - what could we ever do to help it end?).

My one quibble was with the depiction of a reading program that Russakoff appears to assume is a good one. The Wilson program is used by a teacher to help a student who is way behind in his reading. The boy moves forward (i.e. learns to sight read high level vocabulary) but quickly drops behind again. Here's the thing - the program doesn't do much to help him understand the words he is "recognizing" and doesn't focus much on comprehension. Reading is understanding what you read and without that it's no wonder that when the student lost the close relationship he had with the teacher and went on to a large classroom situation it couldn't be sustained. One of the reasons that education stays so ineffective is because commercial programs that are not grounded in anything but misconceptions are constantly sold to teachers, schools, and parents. ( )
  NovelProfessor | Dec 1, 2015 |
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"Mark Zuckerberg, Chris Christie, and Cory Booker were ready to reform our failing schools. They got an education. When Mark Zuckerberg announced in front of a cheering Oprah audience his $100 million pledge to transform the Newark Schools -- and to solve the education crisis in every city in America -- it looked like a huge win for then-mayor Cory Booker and governor Chris Christie. But their plans soon ran into a constituency not so easily moved -- Newark's key education players, fiercely protective of their billion-dollar-per-annum system. It's a prize that, for generations, has enriched seemingly everyone, except Newark's students. Expert journalist Dale Russakoff delivers a story of high ideals and hubris, good intentions and greed, celebrity and street smarts -- as reformers face off against entrenched unions, skeptical parents, and bewildered students. The growth of charters forces the hand of Newark's superintendent Cami Anderson, who closes, consolidates, or redesigns more than a third of the city's schools -- a scenario on the horizon for many urban districts across America. Most moving are Russakoff's portraits from inside the district's schools, of home-grown principals and teachers, long stuck in a hopeless system -- and often the only real hope for the children of Newark. The Prize is a portrait of a titanic struggle over the future of education for the poorest kids, and a cautionary tale for those who care about the shape of America's schools. "--

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