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Saving the School: The True Story of a Principal, a Teacher, a Coach, a Bunch of Kids, and a Year in the Crosshairs of Education Reform

Saving the School: The True Story of a Principal, a Teacher, a Coach, a Bunch of Kids, and a Year in the Crosshairs of Education Reform - Michael Brick What was I thinking, reading this book during the school year? I already live and breathe Education. Must my personal reading time be dominated, too, by books that are inevitably depressing?Not that this book doesn't have a happy ending. (Please stop reading now if you don't want to know how the school fares.) At the heart of this story is an old, once-proud high school, a school where fabulous athletes once-upon-a-time won all their games and where promising scholars rose to become doctors and lawyers and Indian chiefs. Key phrase is once-upon-a-time, though. Now the school sits amid a neighborhood that is worn down by time and poverty, with students who miss class to work to help out their families and have babies themselves too-soon. Students who, in the key educational buzz phrase of our time are Left Behind. To the rescue comes new superhero principal Anabel Garza. She is on fire for these students and for her teachers and for this school. Well she should be. If scores on tests and attendance figures don't come up, it's the end for this high school. What a superhero Anabel Garza is. She flies around the school, class to class, urging students to show up and learn and go to tutorials. She drives to students' homes and pulls them out of bed and gets them to school. She strategizes with key student leaders to keep the school focused. She ends up now and then in the emergency room with high blood pressure troubles, but all ends well when scores go through the roof and the school is saved. At least for this year.I live in Texas where education reform has been underway for decades now and which basically consists of cutting everything at schools (except, of course, football) and moaning loudly and publicly when students do poorly on more and more tests which are made more and more difficult every year. Yes, there is a happy ending for this story. But at what cost? Sigh.