Summer Blog Post: Improbable Scholars, Introduction-Chapter 2

In the beginning two chapters of Improbable Scholars, David Kirp introduces readers to Union City classrooms with vivid details and heartwarming stories. Union City, NJ, exemplifies an urban school district that defies challenges often faced by city schools and produces impressive student outcomes. I loved reading about Alina Bossbaly and considering my own primary and secondary school teachers.

Questions that emerged from the reading include:

— On page 58, Kirp mentions that Washington School test scores had slipped. What is the difference between good test results and a good school? Are test scores really indicative of a good school?

–On pages 17 and 62, Kirp points out that Union City teachers are from the neighborhood, not from programs such as Teach for America. Must good teachers come from the same background as their students?

–Why is this working so well in this city, and what’s missing in Philly?


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