JCL Blog

Book Review: Work Hard. Be Nice. by Jay Mathews

This lively and easy read about two Teach for America teachers who go way beyond their two year commitment and well above the call of duty to change lives is an inspiration for anyone who has been exposed to public schools in the US. The stories about overcoming amazing resistance by students, parents, other teachers, and administrators to give kids a chance of success are a delight to read and at the same time a reminder of how daunting the job of education reform is.

Their creation, the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), is a combination of teaching methods, parent involvement, longer school hours and calendar, and incredible passion by the teachers. Some of their ideas are cool, but the passion part really impacted me. These guys really put themselves into their work -- absolutely immersed. Yes they are smart, but the 24 X 7 commitment to success and refusal to accept failure is what I think made the difference.

Now over 20,000 kids are enrolled in KIPP schools across the country.

Bill Gates posted a great review of this book on Monday.

Here is a link to the book on Amazon