Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mission Possible: How the Secrets of the Success Academies Can Work in Any School (Giveaway!)

As I've mentioned before, one of my absolute highest priorities for Ava is that she receive the very best education. In fact, our sole purpose for not having another child (at this point) is that we want to ensure we can pay for her to go to the best school possible, and in our district, that will likely require a private education. That's why, when I was presented with the opportunity to read Mission Possible: How The Secrets of the Success Academies Can Work In Any School and give away a copy to one of my readers, I jumped at the chance!

What is fascinating about this book - and the Success Academy charter school system it explores - is the ease at which these programs could be implemented. I'm not saying that a teacher's job is easy - quite the opposite. But rather than suggesting we draw upon limited resources, such as "throwing money at the problem", what Moskowitz suggests is a different approach entirely, based upon the active involvement of adults and the expectations they hold for their child(ren). As someone who doesn't quite comprehend what people mean when they mention options after high school (options? What options? College was the ONLY option I ever had, as far back as I could remember), this resonated with me, and is aligned with my own way of parenting Ava. On Ava's second birthday, we took her on a detailed tour of our alma mater, The University of Texas, and when we put her potty pennies in the piggy bank and discuss what she's saving for, she can already tell you with pride, "College!" It's sad to me to think that there are children whose parents not only don't expect them to attend college, but don't believe that they actually could. 

Another phenomenon that Mission Possible explores is about the demoralization of our nation's teachers through stagnation.

In fact, stagnation, being unable to accomplish one’s job at a high level, is one of the greatest sources of low teacher morale.  Why do you think this country treats teaching so differently than it does other professions?  

The answer, it seems, lies within accountability. So frequently in our nation's schools mediocrity is accepted as the expectation for both teachers and students, leaving teachers less motivated continue their education and training, and without the support and feedback needed to constantly better themselves in the profession. As with students underperforming to lowered expectations, the same happens with teachers - and as this cycle has continued, the expectations have become lower and lower.

Another contributing factor begins in the education of teachers, who are increasingly taught to make lessons easily taught to every child so as not to leave them out or discourage them from wanting to learn. What is overlooked, in this method, is that instead, teachers and teaching down and discouraging everyone else, who become bored and lose interest in learning. They're taught to look at remedial instruction as the bar, rather than the exception.

If you're interested in the goings-on of the public school system and the ways in which it could stand to be improved (and how the Success Academies are doing just that, with proven results!), you'd be wise to take a look at Mission Possible: How the Secrets of the Success Academies Can Work in Any School. You can also interact with Eva herself, either on Twitter or via her Facebook page.

So how can you win your very own copy in time to evaluate your current school choices and make changes before this coming school year? Enter the giveaway below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post, and received both a copy of the book for myself and for a giveaway.  All opinions expressed are my own.


  1. Not everybody wants to go to college or needs to in order to be successful, but everyone should be given the chance and know that it's possible for them. I'd love to read the book, especially since I'm starting to think about what I want for Jack.

  2. I've done a ton of research on the topic of schools for M, which is the primary reason she's attending a top-notch Montessori school for about the same amount as our mortgage per month. Montessori is not for every kid...M seemed uniquely suited to the method from my research, and so I tried her in the Montessori school and she is doing amazingly well.

    Success academies and their ilk (charter schools) have their place, but M's success in Montessori has made me question the entire traditional teaching method. I am a child of the public school system, and my clearest memory is of hating school. I didn't hate learning, quite the opposite, I loved to learn...but I hated the institution of school and consequently didn't learn as much as I would have had I been able to go on my own.

    I do think the school system in this country needs an overhaul...teachers don't have an easy job, but I can say M's teachers seem very happy guiding the kids and then letting them go on their own, which matches my vision of what a teacher should be.

  3. As a teacher in a suburban district, I'd like to add my two cents. I don't think there are many teachers, at least where I work, that are teaching in a traditional way. I teach 5th grade and I know the teachers around me and I utilize small groups, buddies, independent projects, centers, song/dance, and art into our lessons daily. I usually have about 10-15 minutes per 90 minute class where I am actually in front of the class teaching in a traditional type manner. I don't feel that most teachers set low expectations either. Frankly, we can't. The state tests mandate that students know a set amount with a passing grade (special ed students are expected to pass the ON grade level test as well. So if a student is reading at a 2nd grade level, he/she is expected to pass a 5th grade reading test.) And in order for the school to not lose funding or be taken over by the state, criteria is set (subgroups of kids passing at whatever level...) I guess if you live in a state where the state tests haven't been very rigorous, that might be an issue. But beginning next year, the entire country will be using the same standards - called The Common Core.

    I did enjoy reading the book a lot. The three things I saw that were most different than my experience is the amount of teacher inservice/year, the amount of teacher support by ALL parents, and the length of time kids are in school. Those three things make a big difference in how effective a school is.

    I agree that not all people need to or want to go to college to be successful. But they should be at least qualified to attend one so they can make that choice for themselves.

  4. I want to win

  5. I'd love to win this book! Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. Here's my email address:

  7. I'd like to win this book. Sounds like a good read.


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