Getting Schooled: The Re- education of an American Teacher

Garret Keizer. Metropolitan, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9643-9
This memoir by Harper’s contributing editor Keizer (Privacy), written entirely in the present tense and based on a 2011 Harper’s essay of the same title, is at once a sympathetic portrait of a school, a searing indictment of a culture that uses working-class children as cannon fodder, and, unexpectedly, a page-turner. Keizer, who left public school teaching 14 years ago to write full-time, returns to his former profession when his wife’s job situation changes and the couple needs health insurance. After a fruitless search for a university appointment, Keizer resumes his post in a high school English classroom in rural Vermont; the principal is one of his former students. He chronicles the difficulties teachers face, including the staggering amount of time they devote to using supposedly time-saving technology. Keizer also trenchantly analyzes the ways his students are pulled into the deadening culture of the capitalist marketplace, and the heroic efforts of small-farm families to survive in a landscape of agribusiness. The author depicts his colleagues and students with tough-minded admiration. At the end of the year, Keizer leaves the classroom to go back to his writing desk—a loss for the students he might have taught, but a gift to readers and left-leaning policy wonks who seek intelligent commentary on education. Jonathan Kozol fans will have a new favorite. Agent: Peter Matson, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 03/31/2014
Release date: 08/05/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-250-06938-2
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-8050-9644-6
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