In the Classroom: Dispatches from an Inner-City School That Works

Mark Gerson, Author
Mark Gerson, Author Free Press $22.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-684-82756-8
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
Hardcover - 978-0-02-874104-8
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Appreciation of Roman Catholic schools is much a part of current discussions about how to help beleaguered public education. How St. Luke's, a small, inner-city high school in New Jersey, achieved small victories is reported on here with insight by a young, upper-middle-class graduate of a distinguished college, who sought meaningful interim experience before entering Yale Law School. At first, Gerson shared little with his students except ""otherness"" (he of Jewish background; his Jersey City, street-wise students, black and Hispanic and mostly non-Catholic), but as Gerson taught his American history curriculum in conjunction with current events, allowing consideration of ideas about honor and the relationship between rules and fairness, he found tangible evidence of learning and growth among his media-seduced teenagers. Gerson's account of his and the students' compatibility and of his efforts to tame their dissing scatology and confirm their worth uses a blend of humor and accountability. In addition, his report demonstrates that a small budget, high standards and committed teachers, along with supportive parents, are part of ""an ethic of sacrifice"" that makes St. Luke's a genuine community that only happens to be a Catholic school. Gerson is the author of Neoconservative Visions. (Jan.)
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