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  1. 8/30/2016 • Unabridged

    The inspirational account of the creation of a pathbreaking inner-city middle school in Brooklyn, New York, by the magnetic young principal who rocketed to national fame via Humans of New York When thirteen-year-old Vidal Chastanet told photographer Brandon Stanton that his principal ,“Ms. Lopez,” was the person who most influenced his life, it was the pebble that started a whirlwind for Nadia Lopez and her small, new public school in one of Brooklyn’s most wretched communities. The posting on Stanton’s wildly popular site Humans of New York (HONY) went mega-viral. Lopez—not long before on the verge of quitting—found herself in the national spotlight and headed for a meeting with Obama, as well as the beneficiary of a million-dollar IndieGoGo campaign for the school. Here is her first-person account of what it took to get to that moment.Mott Hall Bridges Academy isn’t just a hallway inside a typically underserved public school in one of New York City’s most underprivileged communities—it is a school that glows with energy and excitement. Lopez tells the kids every day that they’re extraordinary and that she loves them. When trouble stirs, she asks: “Would I have been proud to see what happened in that classroom? No? Then why did it happen?” She tells her teachers: “Don’t tell me our scholars can’t learn; because if you can’t teach them, then I’ll come teach your class for a couple of weeks.”Everything was an uphill battle—to get the school launched, to recruit faculty and students, to solve a million new problems every day, from violent crime to vanishing supplies, but Lopez illustrates how leadership often means just picking the right people to support you. In middle school, one year lost with an unengaged teacher is a year that can send a kid down a terrible path. And then, of course, there is the educational system itself, how “teaching to the test” is an enormous problem, particularly in schools with kids who are already disadvantaged and underprepared. The Bridge to Brilliance is a book filled with common sense and caring that will carry her message to classrooms far from Brooklyn. As she says, modestly, “There are hundreds of Ms. Lopezes around this country doing good work for kids. This honors all of them.”

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    The Bridge to Brilliance

    8/30/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 7.6 hrs • 2/9/2016 • Unabridged

    In a fit of idealism, Ed Boland left a twenty-year career as a nonprofit executive to teach in a tough New York City public high school. But his hopes quickly collided headlong with the appalling reality of his students’ lives and a hobbled education system unable to help them: Freddy runs a drug ring for his incarcerated brother; Nee-cole is homeschooled on the subway by her brilliant homeless mother; and Byron’s Ivy League dream is dashed because he is undocumented. In the end, Boland isn’t hoisted on his students’ shoulders and no one passes AP anything. This is no urban fairy tale of at-risk kids saved by a Hollywood hero, but a searing indictment of schools that claim to be progressive but still fail their students. Told with compassion, humor, and a keen eye, Boland’s story is sure to ignite debate about the future of American education and attempts to reform it.

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    The Battle for Room 314

    Read by Ed Boland
    7.6 hrs • 2/9/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 5.7 hrs • 8/5/2014 • Unabridged

    Why is it that so many efforts by liberals to lift the black underclass not only fail, but often harm the intended beneficiaries? In Please Stop Helping Us, Jason L. Riley examines how well-intentioned welfare programs are in fact holding black Americans back. Minimum wage laws may lift earnings for people who are already employed, but they price a disproportionate number of blacks out of the labor force. Affirmative action in higher education is intended to address past discrimination, but the result is fewer black college graduates than would otherwise exist. And so it goes with everything from soft-on-crime laws, which make black neighborhoods more dangerous, to policies that limit school choice out of a mistaken belief that charter schools and voucher programs harm the traditional public schools that most low-income students attend. In theory these efforts are intended to help the poor—and poor minorities in particular. In practice they become massive barriers to moving forward. Please Stop Helping Us lays bare these counterproductive results. People of goodwill want to see more black socioeconomic advancement, but in too many instances the current methods and approaches aren’t working. Acknowledging this is an important first step.

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    Please Stop Helping Us

    5.7 hrs • 8/5/14 • Unabridged
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