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    Blog burst

    Joanne Jacobs, whose wonderful blog was one of the first three or four I began reading five years ago or so, has a book out and wants to bum-rush Amazon with as many orders on 10 November as possible. Here’s the rundown in her words:

    Our School: The Inspiring Story of Two Teachers, One Big Idea and the School That Beat the Odds (Palgrave Macmillan) tells the story of a San Jose charter school that prepares students who are “failing but not in jail” for four-year colleges.

    It really is an inspiring story. The average Downtown College Prep student comes from a Mexican immigrant family and enters ninth grade reading at a fifth grade level; 100 percent of graduates have been accepted at four-year colleges and 97 percent are on track to earn a bachelor’s degree. DCP now scores well above the state average on the Academic Performance Index, ranking in the top third compared to all high schools, including affluent suburban schools. DCP follows what I call the work-your-butt-off philosophy of education. Its leaders analyze what’s not working, adapt quickly and waste no time on esteem inflation or excuses.

    While I discuss the charter school movement as a whole, Our School isn’t written for wonks. I think it’s a good read, sort of Tracy Kidder meets Up the Down Staircase.

    My favorite part of the book is the part I didn’t write. The book includes Pedro’s rap, essays by Gil and Emilia, Roberto’s speech, a discipline report on Hector, a teachers’ list of DCP jargon, the principal’s e-mail conversations with teachers, a phony field trip permission slip created by a girl who wanted a parent-free weekend and a copy of the school’s budget.

    I pre-ordered the book a while ago; if you’re interested in education policy, either as an interested parent or just as a citizen who’s frightened pallid at what the current state of schooling means for the future of civilization, it promises to be a valuable read.

    2 Responses to “Blog burst”

    1. Dean Esmay says:

      Argh. Amazon link broken. I think you need to add an http there, Sean.

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      Darn. No, the whole link was there, but when I copied Joanne’s e-mail, the quotation marks were smart quotes, which don’t code right. Thanks for letting me know; I didn’t notice.

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