Reading Work Hard Be Nice

by Helene Malmsio

Work Hard. Be Nice.: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America by Jay Mathews

Illuminating the ups and downs of the KIPP founders and their students, Mathews gives us something quite rare: a hopeful book about education.

Feinberg and Levin and the hundreds of educators they have enlisted in this effort still have to demonstrate that their progress can be sustained.

"KIPP teachers these days live by results; they are devoted to seeing what helps disadvantaged children achieve and to passing on to other teachers what they have discovered."

This book details the personal biographies of the teachers involved in the KIPP program and taking it to new levels of success in America.

I found some stories interesting about the tools for personal development, but would recommend this book mostly for active Teachers at the coalface, and for parents of kids who are struggling to maintain interest and learn in their school using current teaching methods.

Otherwise, the more general selfgrowth readers looking for personal or professional development will get lost in the 400 pages of autobiographies while looking for relevant chestnuts they can apply to their own lives.

The book contents is best described by the authors here: “I have a tendency to persuade fine educators to let me write about them and their schools and then, without seeking their permission, apply the troublesome adjective best to what they have done.

In my experience, applying the “best” label to anything inspires arguments, but I don’t apologize for it.

I decided when I became an education reporter twenty-seven years ago that I could help readers best—uh-oh, there’s that word again—if I identified and wrote about the most successful educators.

It has been my mission since then to find the schools and teachers who have done the most to overcome poverty, apathy, and racial and class bias and raise their students to new heights of achievement.

The KIPP schools created by Dave Levin and Mike Feinberg are the most promising and the best I have found in the United States, judged on those terms.

That is why I wrote this book. But it is important to note that it is I, not they, who have decided to describe their schools in this way.

I welcome any evidence of schools better than theirs. That is how I learn as a reporter. The more people we have looking for and talking about our best schools, the more likely we are to give all of our children the challenging educations they deserve.”

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Get your copy of the book here >> Work Hard. Be Nice.: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America

"A lively account of the way two young guys with more passion than knowledge overcame bureaucratic and financial barriers, garnered knowledge from experienced teachers, and made those ideas and techniques core KIPP ideas.

Mathews makes his book as entertaining as any novel by weaving personal and professional stories and by surrounding his two stars with interesting characters." —World magazine

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