“For educators or anyone interested in city schools, this is essential, provocative reading.”
—Chuck Leddy, Boston Globe
“This fascinating book takes you inside the mind of a uniquely gifted urban school leader and reveals the secrets that help her propel her disadvantaged students toward college: community, transparency, a profound understanding of adolescents, and, especially, moral courage. Reading The Hardest Questions . . . is like shadowing a principal for a year. I recommend it to every teacher or administrator who wants to make a difference in the lives of inner-city children.”
—Michael Thompson, author of Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys
“Using rich and vivid examples, presented with passion and candor, Linda Nathan shows what it really means to go ‘back to basics’ in American urban education.”
—Howard Gardner, author of Multiple Intelligences
“Linda Nathan and her remarkable colleagues . . . provide argument and evidence, theory and action plan, utopian hope and practical road map to the necessary project of reinventing America’s schools.”
—William Ayers, author of To Teach and A Kind and Just Parent
“Linda Nathan’s wonderful account of piloting the Boston Arts Academy is personal, anecdotal, and yet focused on the critical Big Questions. Through stories of how these questions play out in hallways and classrooms, Nathan articulates a vision of how urban schools can flourish.””
—Deborah Meier, author of The Power of Their Ideas
Part I Structuring a School
1 What Does This School Really Stand For?
How to move from endless initiatives to a unifying framework?
2 What Happens When Schools Develop Shared Values?
What can school leaders do when those values are challenged?
Part II Supporting Teachers
3 Two Great Teachers
What makes great teachers possible, and how much can school leaders really ask of them?
4 Teachers Talking Together
What are the risks and rewards of transforming a faculty into a professional learning community?
Part III Addressing Inequality
5 How Do We Talk about Race?