I was recently sent a copy of the book Renewal by Harold Kwalwasser. The book lays out a very detailed analysis of our current public school system. Discussed are the teachers, students, parents, and administration as well as state and federal governments. It’s not the easiest read in the world, but wow. It’s the most balanced and detailed analysis I’ve ever seen and I agree with 99% of it.
I know I’m a homeschooler, but I grew up going to public school. I went to a public college and became a public school teacher, a job I held for 8 years. The only reason I quit was getting pregnant with twins and then falling in love with being an at-home mom. Otherwise I’d likely still be there.
All that to say that I feel fairly well qualified to understand Mr. Kwalwasser’s book. And now that I’m the parent of a public school student (soon to be 2 of them), I’m getting even more experience. 🙂
The author toured some of the best school districts in the US and did extensive interviews with superintendents as well as teachers and board members. The book is extremely well documented, with pages of footnotes at the end of each chapter. Solutions offered are comprehensive and sweeping.
And they could actually work.
The thing is, in order to work there will need to be a lot of support and change from all of us. Parents, teachers, administrators, and politicians need to truly work to effect change and improvement. One of the facets of the plan I respect the most is the flexibility: the best school districts are going to reflect the needs and wants of local communities.
If you know a teacher, principal, administrator, board member, or superintendent, you should recommend this book. I know I’ll be doing that here locally.
FTC Disclosure: the publisher sent me a free copy of this book. I plan to give it to a school employee soon.
Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want the best public schools.
Image courtesy of Robb North via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.
Thank you for the great review. I was so pleased to see you emphasized the need for everyone to be involved. To that end, I wanted to point something out that is worth contemplating. Many of the great school districts exist in isolation. That is, they go about being great for years on end, but none of their neighbors adopt any of the same strategies. For example, Pearl River, NY, has been a great district for 23 years, but none of the other districts in Rockland County has adopted any of its winning strategies. One of the fascinating questions for parents and community leaders is whether they know the best district in their county (assuming there is more than one district in the county, or, if not, then the neighboring counties), and whether their own district has adopted any of the best district’s strategies. Think about pushing people to do a little investigation!
Thanks for stopping by! And wow, what a point. I wonder if the teachers’ historical tendency toward isolation has caused this? Given that so many administrators had their start in the classroom, you’ve got a whole raft of people who retain that mindset. It’s so sad, though.
I’ve already had conversations with two other parents this week about the book, and am anxious to get an opportunity to hand it to a teacher or administrator. Because wow. It’s so needed. Thanks for all the work you did to write it.