Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America's Schools

Class Warfare Inside the Fight to Fix America s Schools IN a reporting tour de force award winning journalist Steven Brill takes an uncompromising look at the adults who are fighting over America s failure to educate its children and points the way to rev

  • Title: Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America's Schools
  • Author: Steven Brill
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 296
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • IN a reporting tour de force, award winning journalist Steven Brill takes an uncompromising look at the adults who are fighting over America s failure to educate its children and points the way to reversing that failure Brill s vivid narrative filled with unexpected twists and turns takes us from the Oval Office, where President Obama signs off on an unprecedented plan thIN a reporting tour de force, award winning journalist Steven Brill takes an uncompromising look at the adults who are fighting over America s failure to educate its children and points the way to reversing that failure Brill s vivid narrative filled with unexpected twists and turns takes us from the Oval Office, where President Obama signs off on an unprecedented plan that will infuriate the teachers unions because it offers billions to states that win an education reform contest to boisterous assemblies, where parents join the fight over their children s schools to a Fifth Avenue apartment, where billionaires plan a secret fund to promote school reform to a Colorado high school, where students who seemed destined to fail are instead propelled to college to state capitols across the country, where school reformers hoping to win Obama s contest push bills that would have been unimaginable a few years ago It s the story of an unlikely army fed up public school parents, Ivy League idealists, hedge funders, civil rights activists, conservative Republicans, insurgent Democrats squaring off against unions that the reformers claim are protecting a system that works for the adults but victimizes the children Class Warfare is filled with extraordinary people taking extraordinary paths a young woman who goes into teaching almost by accident, then becomes so talented and driven that fighting burnout becomes her biggest challenge an antitrust lawyer who almost brought down Bill Gates s Microsoft and now forms a partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates to overhaul New York s schools a na ve Princeton student who launches an army of school reformers with her senior thesis a California teachers union lobbyist who becomes the mayor of Los Angeles and then the union s prime antagonist a stubborn young teacher who, as a child growing up on Park Avenue, had been assumed to be learning disabled but ends up co founding the nation s most successful charter schools and an anguished national union leader who walks a tightrope between compromising enough to save her union and giving in so much that her members will throw her out Brill not only takes us inside their roller coaster battles, he also concludes with a surprising prescription for what it will take from both sides to put the American dream back in America s schools.

    One thought on “Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America's Schools”

    1. Traditional public schools are vital to a democracy but are fast becoming repositories for the poorest and most troubled kids. So what is up with our failure to educate kids? Steve Brill does his best to figure it all out in this compelling narrative. The reformers that Steven Brill writes about are an insular and well-connected bunch (the anecdotal works so well here!). They square off with the unions who (they) claim protect a system that is all about the adults and victimizes the children. Br [...]

    2. I guess this is what you get when a journalist sells out to the mega-rich. (Perhaps it's no coincidence that "Brill" rhymes with "shill.") The book is riddled with inaccuracies and misrepresentations, and topped off with a dash of slander.on page 7, we hear that 'teaching counted more than anything else.' WRONG. The single greatest factor influencing a student's achievement (and a school's achievement overall) is wealth. Teaching counts more than anything else within the school walls - but if yo [...]

    3. As someone who worked extremely hard to get tenure, and valued the protections that it gave me (I have since made a career change from teaching to guidance), I have completely changed my views on the subject after reading this book, along with "Push Has Come to Shove." I also was very strongly against vouchers and wary of standardized testing -- until I read these two books.Brill gives a tremendous overview of educational reform in this country: how unions began and how they have become a powerf [...]

    4. Class Warfare by Steven Brill casts a wide enough net so that readers are introduced to some of the most powerful people in the education reform movement over the past two decades. For anyone who wants a primer on the “movers and shakers” of education reform, Brill’s book could be a reasonable start. But even for those familiar with education reform, they’ll likely need to refer to the lengthy list of people and their titles at the end of the book. Brill, a journalist, writes terse chap [...]

    5. Very disappointed in this. I could tell by Brill's tone that he was 100% on the side of "reformers" like Rhee, Kopp, etc. What really pushed me over the edge of, "it was an okay analysis of information to which I am diametrically opposed" to "Did. Not. Like." was the description of a group of "reformers" (they are not reforming anything except the wallets of businessmen) pushing for Arne Duncan as Education Secretary, with a back-up of Wendy Kopp? Are you serious? As a teacher, I am fed up and d [...]

    6. I don't even know where to start. This book was fascinating at the same time as being terrifying.While it is presented as an overview of education reform, Class Warfare actually reads like a pro-charter-schools manifesto. Steven Brill uses some statistics but mostly anecdotes to tell about certain charter schools that vastly outperform their neighbors. While there are, undoubtedly, some fabulous charter schools and some superstar educators all over, the book never felt like a real, balanced look [...]

    7. 5 stars for readability and reporting doggedness and my interest in the subject 3 stars for sometimes making it seem like most of the work of ed reform is done by wealthy men far from the classroom (some of it is, no doubt, and the work of foundations and individuals is extremely important, but that's definitely not the only -- or, I'd argue, main -- story) and for being too black-and-white about who has the right ed reform ideas and who doesn't.But there are some things that Brill gets exactly [...]

    8. While this book may suffer at times from the fact that Steven Brill is covering a lot of developments in many parts of the country, and therefore doesn’t always have the in-depth knowledge I might wish, I found it to be substantially accurate. For me, it was also riveting, inspirational, and at times, deeply depressing.Five years ago I joined a local philanthropic group that decided to focus on education in our city of Los Angeles. We started by supporting a few charter schools. (We all give a [...]

    9. Steven Brill's book detailing the rise of school reform movements in the last two decades comes off as fairly repetitive and narrow in its stance - that the only problem that prevents a good public school education is seemingly union contracts among public school teachers. His main argument for this is the notion of "Rubber Rooms," the term for places where teachers facing arbitration for termination reside while their cases are examined - much like a law trial, as some of them involve allegatio [...]

    10. This book would be a compelling read if you hadn't read or known anything else about education reform in the United States in the past twenty years. The narrative is strong, the tone is righteous and angry, and he presents strong evidence for his case (that charter schools and Teach for America work and are the best hope for public education, because unionization prevents anything good from happening in public schools. Joel Klein in NYC, Michelle Rhee, and the Gates Foundation are the heroes). T [...]

    11. This was an excellent report on reforms being applied to the state of education in America and how the entrenched mentalities have taken up conservative attitudes to maintain their power. Brill has done his homework to provide us the background and history that led America to this point, and how the current Democratic Party is split with those who protect their power base and those that insist that real Democrats are support to help the under-privileged. According to the author, the defensive wa [...]

    12. This book was an amazing work of journalism and composed in a manner that brought this whole subject of "education reform" into focus and perspective. I gained much more respect for what individuals can do, even when pitted against behemoths like unions. On that note, I thought the author succinctly summarized the need for both 'reformers' and 'traditional union members'. For someone who's willing to let go of dogma and ideology, this book is a treasure trove of inspiration. I feel so strongly a [...]

    13. I strongly recommend the audiobook, because I know I would have skipped some of the important but drier parts of the book. This is an amazing story of what has happened to education in our country and how multiple efforts to change things are generally sabotaged by the unions. I don't know how we can be pro education and pro teacher but not fall into union dogma but there must be a way, this book really makes your think about our children's and our countries future.

    14. This book is a blatant union bashing political rant masquerading as an insider look at America's education struggles. I found it very awkwardly written with its eighty-plus 'chapters' which were sometimes a page and a half long. There is very little effort made by the author to present the issues objectively. Education is too important a topic to be influenced by subjective ideologically driven rants like this.

    15. Interesting, up to the minute read about the school reform movement. I liked how the author explained the growth of the movement, how different attempts to address problems in the public school systems slowly coalesced into the strong school reform movement we have today.

    16. A good journalistic account of the politics of education reform over the past decade and a half. It has flaws, certainly, but a good narrative nonetheless.

    17. Where to start? Should it be with the way he describes all of the attractive women and what they wear (or conversely, the unattractive descriptions he uses for women with whom he does not agree)? There's also his lack of documentation, unsupported theories, and flat-out errors. See for example, p. 321 where he talks about the tiny Douglaston school district in Colorado. However, there is no Douglaston in Colorado; the district to which he presumably refers is not tiny, and lest the read think th [...]

    18. Brill's door stopper, "Class Warfare," tells the story of education reform in the United States from 1980 to present. We move from Wendy Kopp founding Teach for America with her undergraduate thesis to Reagan's Ed. Dept. issuing "A Nation at Risk," which warned of the end of American educational superiority. If you've read anything on education reform, you're familiar with this narrative. He explores high performing charter schools, like Harlem Success Academy and KIPP, that extend school choice [...]

    19. The book was informative. I enjoyed learning who the key players were. It was also important to see why our education system deteriorated and why Charter schools spread. However, I read with angst until the author finally admitted the struggle of teaching is beyond a statistic. The reformers weren't in the classroom teaching. Instead of looking at child development studies, they treated schools like corporations. They instituted unsustainable rules. Then, blamed the unions for their failures. Re [...]

    20. This was a non-fiction book about the state of the public school system in America and the people who are trying to change it for the better. I don't read/listen to much non-fiction, but Audible had a 3-for-2 sale not long ago, and this looked interesting. And it definitely was. I'm a little torn on a lot of the things from the book. I can see why teachers initially unionized. At the time, they were being somewhat abused, and by collectively bargaining, they were able to create a palatable worki [...]

    21. Brill gives a great intro to the education reform movement in the United States. The book covers events all the way from the Reagan commission report “A Nation At Risk” through the Obama Education Department competition Race to the Top. Stories from 208 interviews and sources were woven together to create snapshots of major players in education reform battles.Some of the people depicted include: Joel Klein: chancellor of the New York City Department of Education Randi Weingarten: president o [...]

    22. The overall content of the book is decent with the battle with the teachers union, charter and public schools, rubber rooms, and race to the top. It seems like we all heard about this before. We might have bad education, but no matter how good is the school or how poor is their neighborhood, it's up to the parent to be on top of their kids. Like, "What did you do in school today?" "Did you do your homework, show me your work?" I really think that parents nowadays, relies on schools and teachers [...]

    23. This is such a hard book to review, because I read it through so many lenses. On the one hand, it provides a fairly thoughtful history of the ed reform movement and its precedents. It's extremely interesting to the policy wonk in me, with its focus on the interrelationships of the key players in this debate, and on the formation and reformation of the key institutions. In these regards, it was fascinating to the me who read this as a disinterested student of the movement.On the other hand, it ve [...]

    24. This book provides a breakdown of the Obama Administration's use of economic coercion to get many states to enact school reforms. While the Race to the top program itself had dubious direct results, it inspired a number of states to take positive steps in the direction of getting their schools back on track. If you are interested in finding out some of the reasons our schools are failing and what some people are doing to stem the tide of failure, this book is worth a read.

    25. I wavered between 3 and 4 stars on this book and ended up with 4 because I never in 400 pages wanted to put the book down. The 4 stars do not say that I agree with everything in the book, and tries to account for the fact that the author talks about so many people and movements that sometimes made my head swim. It's a big issue though, and I appreciate Brill trying to put that into context. Teacher Unions make me crazy (before reading this book) because they started for absolutely great reasons. [...]

    26. An awesome account of the fight over education reform in America. It details the roles that teachers unions, charter schools, politicians, teachers, parents and philanthropists play in public education. The heart of the battle seems to lie in education reformists vs. teachers unions.It made me understand why so many people have issues with teachers unions. Strange to think that a profession committed to helping students is supported by a union that openly acknowledges their role is to protect te [...]

    27. Probably a 2.5but ugh, this book. It started off good, with a nice history of how unions began in New York and also how they became very powerful. But once it got past the background, it was a lot of overviews of pretty recent education history. Changes are, if you're reading this book at all, you already know a lot of what's happened in the past five years. There was a lot of name dropping of prominent players, whether politicians, reformers, or union heads; and the vast middle seemed to be com [...]

    28. This book is really just a series of very short chapters--like short newspaper articles--arranged basically chronologically, covering roughly the last twenty years of education reform movements in the United States. So don't look for any in-depth analysis--it's just information presented in short bites, revisiting different "arms" or prongs or whatever you want to call it of different people involved in reform, from within the classroom to oligarchs who gather in Upper East Side cocktail parties [...]

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