Raising the Curve: A Year Inside One of America’s 28,000 Failing Public Schools

Ron Berler, Author
Ron Berler. Berkley, $25.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-425-25268-0
Reviewed on: 01/28/2013
Release date: 03/05/2013
Paperback - 280 pages - 978-0-425-25364-9
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-101-61963-6
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Brookside Elementary School in Norwalk, Conn., is one of over 28,000 schools labeled “failing” because of low scores on annual mandatory state tests. Yet, according to journalist Berler’s inspiring story of one year in the life of the school, Brookside is hardly a failure. In a compulsively readable and fast-paced chronicle of the lives of administrators, teachers, and students, Berler captures the deep love the teachers have for their students and the teachers’ struggles to teach to the test while hoping to instill a love of learning. Among other students, we meet Marabella, who has great potential but who is not an especially dedicated student, and Hydea, a shy but deeply imaginative girl with great, though untapped, reading ability, who is performing below her grade level at the start of her fifth-grade year. Both girls find themselves in Mr. Morey’s class. Morey is a committed teacher who “spends his days instilling in his students an eagerness to learn” and watching them blossom. With Morey’s efforts, and the leadership of the school’s principal, Mr. Hay, and the school’s reading specialist, Mrs. Schaefer, Marabella, Hydea, and a number of other students show significant academic improvement and blossom when they enter middle school, a truer measure of the school’s success than the statewide test. (Mar.)
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