How schools work An inside account of failure and success from one of the nation's longest-serving secretaries of education

Arne Duncan

Book - 2018

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Subjects
Genres
Autobiographies
Published
New York : Simon & Schuster [2018]
Edition
First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
Language
English
Item Description
Includes index.
Physical Description
243 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9781501173059
1501173057
Main Author
Arne Duncan (author)
  • Lies, lies everywhere
  • If we build it, they will come
  • "The number is zero-point-two"
  • The consortium
  • "We need the carrot"
  • One blue, one red
  • Strange bedfellows
  • Twenty-five pounds of apples and three pounds of cheese
  • "We matter!"
  • How schools work
  • Appendix: What can you do?
Review by Choice Reviews

Duncan, a former secretary of education (2009–15), builds on his years of experience working in the education sector in various capacities to stress that "education is a human endeavor." He reflects on the politics of education in Chicago and Washington, DC; controversies over Common Core standards, curriculum, and assessment; and current schooling challenges, including insights from a border school and a warehouse school, Peace Warriors programs against gun deaths, and declining educational resources as a threat to national security. He concludes with a call for free, high-quality pre-K for every four-year old; after-school and curriculum programs for all students that address their social, emotional, and physical needs before their academic needs; a great principal in every school and a great teacher in every classroom; high school graduation with some college credit, an industry certification, or both; matching high school graduates with colleges serious about college graduation; a focus on a PK-14 model; and nationwide recognition that "our K-12 system ranks as average or below average compared to our industrialized peers." Overall a stimulating read, this text is recommended for anyone interested in the US education system. Summing Up: Recommended. All readership levels.--D. L. Stoloff, Eastern Connecticut State UniversityDavid L. StoloffEastern Connecticut State University David L. Stoloff Choice Reviews 57:03 November 2019 Copyright 2019 American Library Association.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Duncan has been involved in education for three decades, from his mother's after-school program on Chicago's South Side to his position as Secretary of Education under President Barack Obama. He's been called racist from the Left and autocratic from the Right, so expect to be provoked. Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

In this heartfelt memoir and explainer, former secretary of education Arne Duncan recounts his life in education and lays out his ideas about where schools have gone wrong and what they should look like. The book begins with an anecdote from Duncan's early work as a volunteer tutor in his South Side Chicago neighborhood, where he quickly realized that high school students excelling on paper were not remotely prepared to enter college. The narrative progresses chronologically through Duncan's experiences as the CEO of Chicago Public Schools and his eventual work as secretary of education during Obama's presidency. As CEO of CPS, Duncan worked with Steven D. Levitt, a statistician and professor from the University of Chicago, to determine which students were falling behind, which teachers were lying about their students' progress to protect their own jobs, and why CPS was failing to prepare its students for life after graduation. He highlights his work as secretary of education, where he focused on unearthing the personal stories underlying the large-scale numbers used to measure the health of the American educational system. He passionately argues that the student, the only person in education systems not getting paid yet the one at risk of losing everything, must come first. Duncan's experienced perspective will interest anyone invested in American public education. Agent: David Larabell, CAA. (Aug.) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Examines some of the problems that plague the American public school system, identifies solutions that have worked in the past, and celebrates the hero teachers, staffers, and adminstrators the author met as the Obama Secretary of Education.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

'this book merits every American's serious consideration' (Vice President Joe Biden): from the Secretary of Education under President Obama, an exposé of the status quo that helps maintain a broken system at the expense of our kids' education, and threatens our nation's future. "Education runs on lies. That's probably not what you'd expect from a former Secretary of Education, but it's the truth.' So opens Arne Duncan's How Schools Work, although the title could just as easily be How American Schools Work for Some, Not for Others, and Only Now and Then for Kids.Drawing on nearly three decades in education'from his mother's after-school program on Chicago's South Side to his tenure as Secretary of Education in Washington, DC'How Schools Work follows Arne (as he insists you call him) as he takes on challenges at every turn: gangbangers in Chicago housing projects, parents who call him racist, teachers who insist they can't help poor kids, unions that refuse to modernize, Tea Partiers who call him an autocrat, affluent white progressive moms who hate yearly tests, and even the NRA, which once labeled Arne the 'most extreme anti-gun member of President Obama's Cabinet.' Going to a child's funeral every couple of weeks, as he did when he worked in Chicago, will do that to a person.How Schools Work exposes the lies that have caused American kids to fall behind their international peers, from early childhood all the way to college graduation rates. But it also identifies what really does make a school work."As insightful as it is inspiring' (Washington Book Review), How Schools Work will embolden parents, teachers, voters, and even students to demand more of our public schools. If America is going to be great, then we can accept nothing less.