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Book Review                                                 Page 44

 

Hope Against Hope

Three Schools, One City, and the Struggle to Educate America’s Children   

by Sarah Carr, Bloomsbury, New York, N.Y., 2013, 306 pp. with index, $27 hardcover

BookHopeAgainstHope

All too often we can measure our life’s journey by the day or date of a natural disaster or a financial collapse or a horrific crime. Such was the case for one family, one teacher and one principal in New Orleans. For them, Hurricane Katrina represented a defining moment.

Out of the hurricane’s ruins, according to education writer Sarah Carr’s account in Hope Against Hope: Three Schools, One City, and the Struggle to Educate America’s Children, we visit the inspiring stories rooted in the lives of principal Laurie, teacher Kelly and 14-year-old student Geraldlynn. It is through their hopes in the face of crisis that we confront issues of equity and fairness in our public schools and communities.

Based on countless hours of observations, conversations and professional development sessions, Carr describes the lives of these three individuals, and through their eyes we see the impact of school reform. Although reforming schools is a readily grasped ring to which many public voices cling, when we consider the impact of reform on real people and on real lives, we understand change is more than a hollow claim. Rather, change in our public schools, as considered in Carr’s thoughtful narrative, becomes a pursuit for social justice, civil rights and a fair nation, and about children who border on losing hope.

Reviewed by Zach Kelehear, associate dean for academic affairs, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.

 

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