Saturday, March 26, 2011

214 (2011 #19). A Chance to Make History

by Wendy Kopp,
with Steven Farr,
read by Kate Mulligan

Wendy Kopp is the founder of Teach for America, a non-profit that "aims to eliminate educational inequity by enlisting the nation's most promising future leaders to teach for two or more years in low-income communities." This book was written in the organization's 20th anniversary year and she talks a lot about "transformational education" (page 9) to "change children's academic and life trajectories" (page 10) from the path that might normally be predicted from their socioeconomic status.

Kopp and Farr, Teach for America's chief knowledge officer, provide numerous examples of successful teachers and schools as well as of some school districts (particularly New Orleans and Washington, DC) that are improving. I particularly liked the fourth chapter on "silver bullets and silver scapegoats" that, respectively, are often seen as panaceas, or blamed if outcomes are not good (the subtitle of the book is "what works and what doesn't in providing an excellent education for all." ). They conclude with chapters on increasing the pace of this transformational change, and how Teach for America is making that happen.  The book definitely made me want to learn more about Teach for America.

Kate Mulligan does a fine job reading the audiobook. However, the nature of the material makes it difficult to listen while trying to do something else, like driving. I found I often had to replay sections to comprehend them, which I don't need to do with fiction or nonfiction with a strong narrative line (biography and history). Furthermore, the hardbound copy includes ten pages of endnotes with links to various research studies and other data, not available in the audiobook

© Amanda Pape - 2011

[I received the audiobook from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program, and borrowed and returned a hardbound copy of the book from my university library.  The audiobook will also be donated to this library.]

No comments:

Post a Comment