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Crazy Like a Fox: One Principal's Triumph in the Inner City
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Crazy Like a Fox: One Principal's Triumph in the Inner City

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  78 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
The inspiring true story of one man's determination to make a difference- and the school he changed forever.

"If you act like a winner, you'll be treated like a winner. If you act like a fool, you'll be treated like a fool."

This is the golden rule set forth by Dr. Ben Chavis, the highly unorthodox principal of Oakland, California's American Indian Public Charter School,
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Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by NAL Hardcover (first published 2009)
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Melissa
Sep 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Yes, there are some very controversial things said in this book about race BUT I think the educational structure that he uses is right on target and has produced great results for the schools in Oakland using his program. Middle schools with self-contained classes (the teacher teaches all subjects and the kids don't change classes) and looping (the same teacher moves up with the same students, from 7th through 9th grade). These strategies are great for middle schoolers because they provide stabi ...more
Chris
I'm kinda torn 50/50 on this book. I guess the first thing to address would be the writing and then I'll go after the ideas. The writing wasn't amazing but I'm not sure how much was ghost written by the chick and how much was actually Chavis.
I think the main thing that frustrated me when reading this was the arrogance. I mean, he's accomplished some great things and kudos to him for starting out in such a challenged home environment and going on to make something of himself and get a Ph.D. Also
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Julia
Jan 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was a provocative book but it made a lot of sense, and I think it would be hard to argue with the school's results. Some loving structure and discipline never hurt anyone, and while the author rants at times about the need for "free market capitalism" and rails against "left-wing, liberal ideologues," he also fiercely defends equal opportunity in its most true sense: real opportunity based on real, academic instruction and high expectations. I think free market capitalism is probably fine I ...more
Dale
Jan 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Comments from a veteran teacher

This is my twentieth year of teaching. I've taught in the inner city, way out in the country in a school surrounded by cornfields and currently teach in a school that is a crazy mix that ranges from urban ghetto to suburban McMansion neighborhoods.

There is nothing in Crazy Like a Fox: One Principal's Triumph in the Inner City that I can disagree with so far as the methods that Chavis espouses. He introduces an extreme quantity of discipline, accountability and r
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Michael Lunsford
Jun 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Very enlightening. It reminded me of my favorite college professor. He provided a strict but predictable structure you could count on, which is the subject of this book.

Repetative in a few spots, but helpful information on two distinct types of motivation: encouragement and embarrassment. Also covered were insights on hiring, textbook selection, and use (or, rather, the lack) of technology in the classroom.

Dr. Ben Chavis's book is a back to basics model of proven success for teaching. I would
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Vanessa
Nov 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Unorthodox education practices at its best. This book looks at the practices employed by Dr. Ben Chavis, a Lumbee Indian from Robeson County, North Carolina, to save American Indian Public Charter School, in Oakland California. Reading his rise to success was just as interesting as researching about his demise. Very interesting story.
Lori
Oct 01, 2009 marked it as to-read
I like the propositions: low income students of color are capable of high levels of academic achievement; school leaders much create an atmosphere of high expectations, high accountability, and no excuses; given structures and support, students facing great obstacles can beat the odds. The harsh approach I don't give much credence to.
Kristin
Sep 27, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Definitely an interesting read with some fascinating ideas about educating low-income students, but the writing wasn't brilliant and the vain attitude of the narrator/principal rubbed me the wrong way. (Let's just say I threw the book across the room several times!) But his methods seem to work, and you can't really argue with low-income kids getting a good education, can you?
Seth Jones
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This man's model of education works because it makes sense. No excuses, rewarding good behaviour and punishing bad, and making learning a priority. What novel ideas!
Spacek Kim
Jan 21, 2016 rated it liked it
The work Ben Chavis has done with inner city kids is amazing concerning achievement. There is a place for charter schools within public education. I was disappointed to read about some of the methodology used to motivate students.
Terry
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Finally! A book that talks about what works and not the theories and liberal ideologies that don't.
Danielle W
Jul 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful book - I recommend it to anybody interested in American Education. If this model continues to grow, it could create a positive, radical change to our schools & educational mentality.
Jeff
Feb 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
awesome....too bad he couldnt get away with doing this in public schools.
Samantha Smith
Mar 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
I think that this book should be mandatory for every educator and especially every administrator. Excellent book.
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