Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America's Schools

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Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America's Schools

Format:  Hardcover,

478 pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publish Date: Aug 2011

ISBN-13: 9781451611991

ISBN-10: 1451611994

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The following content was provided by the publisher.
IN a reporting tour de force, award-winning journalist Steven Brill takes an uncompromising look at the adults who are fighting over America's failure to educate its children--and points the way to reversing that failure.
Brill's vivid narrative--filled with unexpected twists and turns--takes us from the Oval Office, where President Obama signs off on an unprecedented plan that will infuriate the teachers' unions because it offers billions to states that win an education reform "contest"; to boisterous assemblies, where parents join the fight over their children's schools; to a Fifth Avenue apartment, where billionaires plan a secret fund to promote school reform; to a Colorado high school, where students who seemed destined to fail are instead propelled to college; to state capitols across the country, where school reformers hoping to win Obama's "contest" push bills that would have been unimaginable a few years ago.
It's the story of an unlikely army--fed-up public school parents, Ivy League idealists, hedge-funders, civil rights activists, conservative Republicans, insurgent Democrats--squaring off against unions that the reformers claim are protecting a system that works for the adults but victimizes the children.
"Class Warfare "is filled with extraordinary people taking extraordinary paths: a young woman who goes into teaching almost by accident, then becomes so talented and driven that fighting burnout becomes her biggest challenge; an antitrust lawyer who almost brought down Bill Gates's Microsoft and now forms a partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates to overhaul New York's schools; a naive Princeton student who launches an army of school reformers with her senior thesis; a California teachers' union lobbyist who becomes the mayor of Los Angeles and then the union's prime antagonist; a stubborn young teacher who, as a child growing up on Park Avenue, had been assumed to be learning disabled but ends up co-founding the nation's most successful charter schools; and an anguished national union leader who walks a tightrope between compromising enough to save her union and giving in so much that her members will throw her out.
Brill not only takes us inside their roller-coaster battles, he also concludes with a surprising prescription for what it will take from both sides to put the American dream back in America's schools.


Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publish Date: Aug 2011
ISBN-13: 9781451611991
ISBN-10: 1451611994
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 478
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.6
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.3
Walmart No.: 9781451611991

Chapter outline

The Racep. 1
Juicy Wordsp. 10
The Epiphaniesp. 19
Be Obedient. Be Good. Keep Your Mouth Shut.p. 31
If an Unfriendly Foreign Power Had Attempted …p. 42
A Hopelessly Nave Thesisp. 51
A Governor and a President Take Center Stagep. 58
Payroll to Payrollp. 61
Lighting Up the Capitol Switchboardp. 64
The Backlashp. 68
Schoolyard Classroomp. 72
The Discovery: Good Teaching Mattersp. 77
The Networkp. 80
No Child Left Behindp. 84
Don't Worry, It's Just a Parentp. 86
The Union Won't Allow Itp. 95
The Idea Wasn't Just to Keep Them from Killing Somebodyp. 109
How Could the Democrats Be Against This?p. 111
Seeing George Soros's Apartmentp. 115
New York Realitiesp. 119
Our Party Has Got to Wake Up on Thisp. 131
The Co-location Trapp. 133
Creating a New School System the Hard Wayp. 136
Colorado Says Half of You Won't Graduatep. 139
The Pol and the Moneymenp. 141
Foxes in the Henhousep. 147
Mounting Evidencep. 150
This Just Seemed So Obviousp. 155
More Money, No Hasslesp. 158
Building Harlem Successp. 161
This Is Not a Self-Esteem Movementp. 170
You Really Don't Want to Hire Mep. 173
Pulling the Rug Outp. 176
Money Meets Datap. 178
Hillary for Teachers, Teachers for Hillaryp. 181
Forward, Backward in New Yorkp. 185
$45,000 Well Spentp. 188
Faceless Bureaucracyp. 190
Back in the Classroomp. 192
Quarantine the Datap. 194
Climbing the Ladderp. 196
Rhee's Choice: Your Union or $130,000p. 199
Turning Around the USS Gatesp. 201
The New Democratsp. 206
Two Returns to the Classroomp. 210
Wake Up, Obama Just Talked About Youp. 216
Inside Baseballp. 219
What Do You Guys Think You Could Do with a Hundred Billion?p. 227
The Chosen Fourp. 229
They'll Do Backflipsp. 236
Things I Can't Change from This Buildingp. 245
Widgetsp. 247
Agreement in Pittsburghp. 252
The Opposite of Venture Capitalp. 254
Outcomes, Not Achievementp. 265
Obfuscating the Issue … Fooling the Reviewersp. 268
A Shriek on Park Avenuep. 270
The Feinberg Gambitp. 278
School Reform: The Moviep. 281
Firing Everyonep. 287
My Baby Is Readingp. 289
Going Over to the Other Sidep. 302
A Baffling Round Onep. 306
Varnish on a Sinking Shipp. 313
Two Winnersp. 315
Back on the Horse in Coloradop. 321
Billionaires Trapped in an Elevatorp. 324
Rhee's Breakthroughp. 331
He Met with Everyonep. 334
ANew York Breakthrough-or Mirage?p. 337
Rocky Mountain Highp. 342
Honored, Humbled, Hopeful-and Horrifiedp. 345
She's de Klerk in South Africa. We Have to Help Her.p. 350
The Quiet Revolutionp. 353
Teach Like Your Hair's on Firep. 355
Klein's and Mulgrew's Wonderful Negotiationp. 359
From Inside Baseball to Public Accountabilityp. 363
Arne, Here's the Column You've Been Missingp. 371
Soaring Dreams, Street-Level Politicsp. 379
Rhee Rejectedp. 384
I'll E-mail Your Dad and Tell Himp. 387
The Mujahideen and the Moderatesp. 392
Punch, Counterpunchp. 402
A Marathon, Not a Sprintp. 421
Acknowledgmentsp. 439
Sourcesp. 443
Notesp. 451
Indexp. 463


Review by Library Journal (2011-08-12)

Good teaching really does matter. Success doesn't depend on a school's location or budget; it comes down to the person standing in front of the classroom. Court TV and The American Lawyer magazine founder Brill (After: How America Confronted the September 12 Era) has concluded that teachers willing to extend their efforts beyond the classroom, to spend extra time with their students and their students' families, and to do all they can to connect with their charges are key to turning around the American education system.

However, there are obstacles to overcome, including unions' destructive demands, the problems that arise when teachers' longevity trumps talent, the stigma charter schools sometimes face, and political agendas that fail to put children first. Horror stories about good teachers who are disparaged and bad teachers who are coddled might make you cringe, but Brill's multilayered account of the education dilemma also brings hope that change for the better could be on the horizon.

Verdict: Many parents, even those who are educators, may not be aware of the battles that occur daily in the education world. This is a fascinating look at those struggles and at the people who determine how America's children will be educated.

-Terry Christner, Hutchinson P.L., KS

(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book description

In a reporting tour de force, award-winning journalist Steven Brill takes an uncompromising look at the adults who are fighting over America’s failure to educate its children—and points the way to reversing that failure.

Brill not only takes us inside their roller-coaster battles, he also concludes with a surprising prescription for what it will take from both sides to put the American dream back in America’s schools.

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