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

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  50 ratings  ·  10 reviews
The Boston Arts Academy comprises an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse student body, yet 94 percent of its graduates are accepted to college. Compare this with the average urban district rate of 50 percent. How do they do it? This remarkable success, writes Principal Linda Nathan, is in large part due to asking the right questions-questions all schools can consider, ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Beacon Press
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Amy Gonzalez
The first question I came up with after reading this book was: How can I work with the Headmaster for Boston Arts Academy, Linda F. Nathan? Linda wrote this book to inspire teachers and administrators to ask questions that will reveal hidden ideologies at work in school and society at large. She includes many stories from students, including one about Rajon who had been kicked out of two high schools and came to BAA a fighting mess. Now at BAA he is a leading vocalist for a men's chorus, but HE ...more
I learned a lot from this book, including a notion that I had long believed deep down but had never been able to articulate: to close the achievement gap we have to talk about race. Remaining merely color blind will not cause more students of color to graduate from high school and college.

I recommend this book to any aspiring and inspired educators.
Linda Nathan uses her background challenging the established school system to write frankly about educational inequities and her attempts to offer the best education possible to as many different types of students she can. It's a wonderful examination of not just what's "wrong" with American education, but also what's right. Her ready admission of many of her previous failures makes it easier to believe this book than say, "Waiting for Superman." There are no superficial answers here. Nathan doe ...more
Exceptionally clear and accessible articulation of what makes small schools - urban, suburban, or rural - really work, including creating a culture of learning, digging into the real assessment questions, supporting teachers of all experience levels in their professional growth and development,and, most importantly of all, having the hard conversations about what ALL our students need in order to succeed. A must read for anyone committed to educational equity, effective learning, and reducing ac ...more
David Chan
I read this as part of a educator's book club. There were some strong connections to what we do at our school. More details here:
Reading this text with LIS 692 student teachers. I like Nathan's approach to questions about nurturing a school culture that is truly meaningful to teachers and students alike.
I loved this book. My thoughts about it are on my blog:
Julie Stremel
Great insights into a successful urban school
Very repetitive...nothing new
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