A much-needed counterpoint to the sweeping rhetoric of reform, this important book offers a nuanced depiction of the challenges and possibilities at the school and classroom level. Through the experiences of urban high school teachers who partner with their local university, Del Prete provides unique insight into teaching and learning in the midst of reform. He effectively illustrates why focusing on teaching practice and school cultures - more than standards and accountability - is a more fruitful way to achieve real and lasting change. With powerful portraits from classrooms serving diverse and low-income students, this book: depicts the daily concerns and small victories of teachers determined to support all students in meaningful learning, and prepare them for postsecondary education; characterizes the importance of a coherent school learning culture, based on one of the most effective small urban schools in the country; and, illustrates the potential of university-school partnerships to support the development of teaching practices that will help close the achievement gap.
Thomas Del Prete is Director of the Jacob Hiatt Center for Urban Education, and Chair of the Education Department at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. He has worked for more than two decades on teacher education, university-school partnership, and school reform.