I’m a home school mom through and through. Even though I began my teaching career in the public school, I never thought I’d want to send my kids there. I viewed it more as my mission field than my home field, if that makes any sense. While teaching I’d often hear about a series of quickly growing schools in New York that were taking a business approach to teaching and having fantastic results. So, even though I am now beginning to home school my first born, I was excited to receive the opportunity to read the book, Mission Possible: How the Secrets of Success Academies Can Work in Any School by Eva Moskowitz and Arin Lavinia, because its about the very charter schools of New York that I used to hear about through the teacher grapevine.
First and foremost, this book is definitely a promotion of Success Academies with a “look at us” and a “look at what we did” attitude, but rightly so, as what they are doing is working. Have you ever watched “The Lottery” or “Waiting for Superman”? Those schools were modeled after the Success Academies. Eva Moskowitz, the founder of Success Academies, and Arin Lavinia, the author of Success Academies’ THINK Literacy Program, have teamed together to share their experiences and successes at Success Academies as a result of their changing view of teachers. Yes, you read that right–teachers.
Have you ever really thought about your view of teachers? I mean, why are teachers the ones to educate the doctors, lawyers, physicists, and engineers yet the same ones who receive little respect in society? Think about it. Have you ever heard, “those who can’t do, teach?” Or, “she’s barely scraping bottom on her teacher’s salary?” What makes matters worse is that teachers are often given high demands with few resources to meet those demands.
Check out this quote:
“Stagnation, being unable to accomplish one’s job at a high level, is one of the greatest sources of low teacher morale.”
Wow–those teachers are the ones teaching our kids in the public schools. No wonder they are getting a bad wrap. The teachers’ are not being supported to begin with; top that with low morale and it’s a recipe for disaster.
When I first began teaching, I was amazed at how little college actually prepared me to teach. I took several education courses, but of my 141 college hours, only 24 of those hours were in education and only 10 of those hours provided me with hands-on experience. In addition, I had only one course that taught me the basics on how to teach my actual subject and introduce me to the curriculums and teaching methods available. That’s right–one. If I hadn’t taken some specialized graduate courses the summer before I began my full-time teaching job, I would have been sunk.
At Success Academies, they have turned education in their schools upside-down by providing education and resources to the adults FIRST. As an employee of Success Academies, teachers receive approximately 13 weeks of training each year and three preparation periods per day. When I taught, we received 3 professional days that were usually about meeting state education demands and then 45 minutes daily to plan, if we were lucky. Think how much more prepared teachers could be with the same amount of prep time and education development as Success Academies?
The book, Mission Possible and accompanying CD are proof that it makes a BIG difference. At the beginning of the book, Eva and Arin provide some dismal statistics about the United States’ current educational state. Did you know that one in four teenagers currently drop out of high school in the US? Or, that we are being outranked by 24 of the 34 large industrialized countries in the world as having better educational results?! Keep up those statistics and our country will be in dire straights…but then, I suppose by some, it already is.
If you need a reason to home school, this book could easily provide fuel for the fire, although the intent is really to create a reformation of the public school system instead. All that to say, if the public school system in my area were to take a drastic turn and begin implementing some of Eva and Arin’s strategies, I don’t know that it would change our commitment to home school as we feel there is something special about being able to teach our children through the lens of the Word of God, but seeing Success Academies in action, would definitely cause me to pause and think twice. In the meantime, Eva and Arin, I hope you will consider packaging your THINK curriculum for public AND home schools, because it sounds like you are getting some great results with your new approach to reading and writing. For that, I applaud you and your book.
Want to win a copy? It is a great read for teachers, principals, parents, and homeschoolers alike. Between the takeaways at the end of each chapter, the step-by-step explanations of implementing a THINK mindset, and the accompanying THINK Literacy CD demonstrations, I learned many techniques and statistics that will be helpful as I begin to teach my daughter to read and write. It would be equally helpful (if not moreso) for anyone in the public education world. For your chance to win, enter via the rafflecopter below. The giveaway ends on August 15, 2012 at 12:01 a.m. (EST). All applicants must be 18 years old or older. The winner will be notified via the email address used to comment (not visible to the public). Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Note: I was compensated for this post. However, all opinions expressed are 100% my own.