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Crash Course: Imagining a Better Future for Public Educationby Chris Whittle
Synopses & Reviews
The visionary founder of Edison Schools and Channel One shares the hard lessons of life on the front lines of education-and charts a breathtaking new direction for safeguarding the future of our children.
Imagine that upon your arrival at an airline ticket counter, you are told that only 65 percent of the flights to your intended destination actually even arrive. The remainder crash en route. And, if you are a child of color, or poor, you are required to fly on special, poorly maintained planes-of which only 35 percent make it.
Sounds crazy, right? But this is exactly the deal that, as a nation, we are serving up daily to millions of children in thousands of our public schools. On average, only two-thirds of American public school children graduate with basic or above-average math and language skills. And for poor children and/or children of color, that number is far worse.
Faced with a seemingly irremediable situation, fifteen years ago Chris Whittle decided to take action. The company he founded, Edison Schools, is now the country's largest private manager of public schools-usually the toughest inner-city schools you can imagine. By connecting our schools to the engine of progress in every other sector of our society-large-scale research and development-Whittle has radically improved the performance of hundreds of schools, bettered the education of hundreds of thousands of students, and learned some fundamental lessons about how to help restore our schools-all of them-to the world-class status that we expect and deserve.
In Crash Course, Chris Whittle teaches what he has discovered about education-how to find and reward excellence; how to promote and disseminate innovation; and how to fund a massive renovation of our educational institutions that is necessary if our children are to compete successfully in the global economy.
Inimitable and visionary in the tradition of the national bestseller Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol, this is an extraordinary, groundbreaking book that will change forever the way we think about public education.
"Whittle, founder and CEO of Edison Schools, one of the nation's leading charter school companies, wants to fix America's education system. In spite of No Child Left Behind — which he supports — America's children still aren't learning their three Rs, he says. Why, Whittle asks, do we keep assuming that throwing more money at the problem is the only way it'll get better, even though we already spend huge amounts per student? Why, in the age of Wal-Mart and Federal Express — two of Whittle's favorite business models — do we insist on treating education like a small-is-better cottage industry? Why don't we sponsor research into better school design? Whittle wants the federal government to fund the startup of three large and experimental k — 12 education systems, which could become the foundation for a national 'multiprovider model.' While Whittle's ideal school is not the usual 'performance oriented' one that stresses testing until students drop, it's anyone's guess how techniques from the business world (motivational speakers, stress on teamwork, increased independent activity) will fly with kindergartners. But after weathering fierce opposition to his TV-in-the-classroom Channel One, Whittle has learned the softer sell: this book is a cleverly-crafted sales pitch to the teachers' unions, congressional leaders, the President and, finally, America's parents. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The visionary founder of Edison Schools and Channel One shares the hard lessons of life on the front lines of education and charts the breathtaking new direction for safeguarding the future of America's children.
About the Author
Chris Whittle was the owner of Esquire magazine and the founder of Whittle Communications and Channel One, all before the age of forty. In 1991, he conceived and founded Edison Schools, which now serves more than 270,000 students in twenty states and two countries.
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