Saturday, June 6, 2009

Work Hard. Be Nice

RATING: 5 out of 5

An absolutely engaging, amazing “listen” about the formation and execution of a middle school design known as KIPP by two teachers driven by their thrill of seeing kids learn.

This is an inspiring story of two young men who find their mission in life early, and don’t waiver from it no matter how many obstacles are placed in front of them. As their story unfolds, you find yourself cheering for them at each triumph, and ready to jump in and help them fight off the naysayer who throws up the roadblocks.

The manner that Mr. Mathews uses to weave all the individual stories together is very appealing and helpful in putting a personal face on the story of public education with all its flaws. So many books have been written about different aspects of K-12 education, charter education, and different models, but this book will engage anyone regardless of their exposure to the subject. Without an overload of statistics or rankings, this story is told with the clear,concise pictures of success and the rewards of that success.

If you have an interest in education, listen to this book, if you have children entering the public school system, listen to this book, if you are a new teacher looking for a successful curriculum to embrace, listen to this book, or if you just love a real world story of success, listen to this book.

I have been involved in the charter school movement since 1999 and have 4 children that have attended charter schools. Two of them have just graduated from a KIPP school and one is entering the 7th grade. That being said, I did not know the story of Mike Feinberg and David Levin or how the design was conceived and refined, I just knew it worked for my kids. The two graduates are both headed off to private schools on scholarships, and I am thrilled that I have been able to listen to the story of KIPP which has given them their head start to college.

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