More a philosophy of inner being than a manual for teaching, this is an absolutely wonderful read for anyone working in a field that involves the inteMore a philosophy of inner being than a manual for teaching, this is an absolutely wonderful read for anyone working in a field that involves the intersection of people and ideas (which in theory should be everybody). It does get a little esoteric and new-agey... but the overall message is positive, relevant, and engaging. ...more
I am very glad that I acquired the information within this book, though it is really not a great read as a book. It is a fantastically great collectioI am very glad that I acquired the information within this book, though it is really not a great read as a book. It is a fantastically great collection of information in terms of content however. The power and relevance of Kopp's A Chance to Make History is wholly in her vision, ideas, and remarkable accomplishments -- not in writing structure or narrative.
Perhaps it is an issue of controlling expectations. As a published non-fiction book billed as containing Kopp's personal experiences in the field, I expected a front-line, in-depth analysis of the root causes and implications of good versus ineffective education, as well as a personal view into the struggles, accomplishments, and growth of arguably one of the greatest revolutionaries in contemporary education.
What Kopp unfortunately provides instead is a repetitive series of case studies and statistics that I presume are designed to validate the existence (and rebut many of the criticisms) of Teach for America and the spinoffs of it's alumni, such as the Knowledge is Power Program. Little else is actually discussed.
The personal impact of the programs on the students, teachers, surrounding communities, and most importantly Kopp herself, was missing in any real sense. Such stories are provided as supporting points only, and addressed in a superficial, statistical manner.
My suggestion to Kopp: Trim the redundancy and reduce this to a 50-page pdf that those interested in more detail can download from the TFA and KIPP websites. It reads much closer to an extended brochure for these very worthy programs than as a 230-page book.
The good: This book follows a several-month personal inquiry into the field of American education for me. It has definitely made me want to investigate these programs further, if at least out of curiosity about the potent role that they are quite evidently playing. ...more