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The Hardest Questions Aren't on the Test: Lessons from an Innovative Urban School

reviewed by Maria Martinez-Cosio - January 19, 2010

coverTitle: The Hardest Questions Aren't on the Test: Lessons from an Innovative Urban School
Author(s): Linda F. Nathan
Publisher: Beacon Press, Boston
ISBN: 0807032743, Pages: 224, Year: 2009
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Elected officials and the media continue to clamor for magic formulas, prescribed models, and a clear set of instructions for turning around our troubled urban high schools. Despite NCLB sanctions and district-wide reform measures, many high schools continue to struggle to graduate students from underserved populations. Linda Nathan brings the discussion back to center, by rejecting the “cookie cutter” method of educating urban youth, and instead reaffirming an important tenet of improving education: “reform is essentially political and [that] you must know your community’s context before plunging in” (p. xxv). Thus her book rejects a formulaic approach and instead focuses on challenging teachers, administrators, and parents to ask tough questions, challenge norms, and rethink the methods used towards the acquisition of knowledge. The setting for Nathan’s narrative is the Boston Arts Academy, a racially and ethnically diverse magnet high school with 420 students. Students must audition for a spot by performing... (preview truncated at 150 words.)

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: January 19, 2010
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15899, Date Accessed: 9/17/2021 6:08:31 PM

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About the Author
  • Maria Martinez-Cosio
    University of Texas, Arlington
    E-mail Author
    MARIA MARTINEZ-COSIO is an assistant professor in the School of Urban and Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Arlington, where she teaches graduate courses. As an urban sociologist, her research interests include immigrant parent involvement in education, gentrification, and immigrant involvement in urban renewal efforts. She is currently interviewing middle class Mexican-immigrant families for a study on identity formation. She and a colleague from UC San Diego, recently completed a Lincoln Foundation study on the role of private foundations in community development.
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