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Lessons of Hope: How Courage, Grit, and Accountability Can Save Our Schools
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Lessons of Hope: How Courage, Grit, and Accountability Can Save Our Schools

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  131 ratings  ·  21 reviews
In this revealing and thoughtful memoir, the former chancellor of the New York City schools offers the behind-the-scenes story of the city’s dramatic campaign to improve public education and an inspiring blueprint for national reform

In 2002, New York City’s newly elected mayor, Michael Bloomberg, began his first term with a controversial announcement: his administration ha
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published November 4th 2014 by Harper
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Paula Lyle
Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015, school
This is not about 'How to Fix" schools. It is a memoir of Joel Klein's experience being the chancellor of New York City Schools. I probably wouldn't have read it had I not believed the cover. That being said. It was interesting and held my attention.

Joel Klein, without doubt, worked hard and with conviction. I admire him for that, even when I did not agree with some of his reforms. I wish he had given that same consideration to people who disagreed with him. All of them (according to Mr. Klein),
Nov 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
The first part of this book didn't mesmerize me, because I had already learned a lot of the information by reading "Class Warfare". But when Joel Klein gets to the techniques they used and the changes they made, I was riveted. Practically every page was turned down to bookmark some paragraph I had read.

The most significant insight I came away with was how impossible it is to get results from large, unresponsive, somnolent bureaucratic organizations. There may be individuals within the bureaucra
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
While I appreciated this inside look into the NYC school reform movement, I couldn't get over Klein's self-serving prose and defensive missives. For every admission he made of wrongdoing or imperfection as chancellor, there seemed like 4 potshots at his detractors and/or extended quotes from his prominent supporters about how great he was. I will take with me his important messages about school choice and the need to be single-minded in improving each child's education. I can't help feel, howeve ...more
Christopher Lawson
Oct 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"Public education needs radical rethinking."

LESSONS OF HOPE is primarily a autobiographical discussion of the author's term as chancellor of the New York City public school system. Mr Klein explains why he wrote this book: "Public education needs radical rethinking."

Regardless of whether you are aligned with Joel Klein's politics, or not, you will have to admit one thing: The author is a very brave man. He took on a complex bureaucracy that was "designed for the sole purpose of maximizing benefi
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Not being a New Yorker, nor an American, I can appreciate this book from a public management point of view. And I have to say that I had never read anything like this before. It is a first person account of what it is like to reform an educational system, from a practioner's point of view. Yes, some of his initiatives might not have worked, and you might disagree with the guy's policies, but from a public manager's perspective, this level of insight is invaluable. ...more
Katie Draper
May 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
More of a 3.5. Interesting policies if you can get past all his humble bragging.
Vilas Annavarapu
Dec 29, 2020 rated it did not like it
Wow, what a truly terrible book. 0 lessons of hope to be found. Klein spends an exorbitant amount of time describing his fights with teachers unions and the ways the all powerful teachers union prevented meaningful reform from happening in NYC. Klein repeatedly refers to his approach as "radical" which he seems to not know the definition of. The heart of NYC's school reforms under then Mayor Bl**mberg were centered around school choice and improving bureaucracies. One one hand, I think Klein doe ...more
Aubrey Anderson
Jun 12, 2020 rated it liked it
This book read more like a CV replete with name dropping. I appreciate many of the methods Klein pursued to change the landscape of education, but where is the lasting change. No matter the intent, money, and research, Klein did not accomplish what he promised. So what’s the lesson of hope here? That someone else will learn from his mistakes and pursue change along a different avenue?
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Informative and interesting read about the public school reform in NYC
Darian Jones
May 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
More about Klein than reform but powerful none the less. Unfortunately the forces in ed reform do not understand the devastating affects of poverty and the systems in education that perpeptuate inequities based on race, Klein like most can speak on it from a theoretical perspective but struggle to address it systemically b/c that requires a radical reframing of discourse abotu America itself... it is not simply that one house is broken... all the houses are on fire... and he is right about the c ...more
Liam Dillow
Far from the stiff, formal writing one might expect of a government official in his position, Joel Klein delivers a very frank accounting of his time spearheading the momentum we see occurring in urban education reform today. I did not realize prior to reading this how much the path to success for students can be forged not in the classroom, but in the grinding wheels of bureaucracy. It's a simplification to call this book the pitting of the establishment (read: teacher's unions) versus revoluti ...more
Nov 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edu-book
Since I worked for Joel Klein, this book represents six fulfilling years of my work life. With every chapter Joel reinforces his deep commitment to providing all kids with a better chance through education, and argues for his personal brand of big, bold change through accountability for adults and schools, choice and opportunity for excellence for kids and their parents To my eye he does not embellish or exaggerate any success and is candid about what could have gone better or been done earlier/ ...more
I think it's important to challenge the structure of public schools and their guiding principles... we have an educational system that is failing so many of our students that it is essential to examine all of its facets. This book encourages decisive action that challenges the school system's status quo. However, keep in mind that education is incredibly complex, and this author has a pretty clear bias toward favoring his own actions, as is only natural. ...more
Matt Austin
Jul 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
A great book not just for those interested in education reform, but also for those interested in learning more about the changes made by Mr. Klein and Mayor Bloomberg and the impact these changes had on New York City. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Mr. Klein's experience and his words of advice. As someone looking to impact the education sector, this provides an excellent base.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book. Very well written and full of thought-provoking ideas.
Michael Alderman
Aug 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
The lessons Klein learned as head of America's largest school system are important for the future of education in America. Hopefully his reforms aren't undone by the proponents of the status quo.

He points to quite a few solutions to our education problems: national control, accountability for teachers and kids, harder entrance requirements for schools of education, among others.
Chris Rhodenbaugh
Mar 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
The book started off with a relatively simple overview of ed reform movement, which was a little slow for me, but got better as Klein got more specifically into what happened during his time as chancellor.
Jordan Munn
Nov 17, 2014 rated it liked it
pretty formulaic, somewhat scattershot, clearly stacking the arguments in his favor and gossipy. Nonetheless, a decent read that makes good points about the education field and the NYCDOE, despite the polarizing writer.
Arlene Alda
Dec 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The book is extremely informative, with good details of how the NYC schools were overhauled. It's an inspiring and riveting story of hard work and honest dedication. Not only is the content wonderful, but so is the writing. I can recommend this book wholeheartedly. ...more
Katharine Rudzitis
Jan 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Thoughtful memoir from the former chancellor in NYC. A thorough history of education reform during Bloomberg's time as mayor. ...more
Othell Williams
May 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great book. It really does give hope. Shows that there are lots of people working to improve education. An absolute imperative for the future of the United States and the world.
Vimala Ramachandran
rated it it was amazing
Aug 26, 2015
Sharren Bates
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Dec 26, 2014
Matt Smart
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Nov 27, 2014
Nicolas Herzog
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Dec 01, 2015
Simrun Soni
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Jun 29, 2017
Velvet Snow
rated it it was ok
Jul 21, 2015
Alan Mitchell
rated it it was amazing
Nov 20, 2014
Anjali K
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Feb 17, 2015
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Jan 12, 2015
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  Kerine Wint is a software engineering graduate with more love for books than for computers. As an avid reader, writer, and fan of all things...
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