Whatever It Takes: Week 1 (Meredith McMahon)

Tough describes the difference between Canada’s approach and that of the principal Terri Grey. Canada’s approach focused primarily on test-prep and doing lots of training in order to catch the students up so they could be at grade-level in reading and math. Grey, on the other hand, wanted to shape the students into better people using a more holistic approach that incorporated subjects like music and physical education, and was upset when test-prep cut into the time spent on these sorts of subjects. She believed the students would crack from the strain, especially since they were still adjusting the pressure-filled new environment at Promise Academy. Grey also didn’t believe that the ultimate success of the “bad apple” children at the school was realistic, and thought that expectations were set too high. For Canada, however, such defeatism was not an option—in fact, these were exactly the students he wanted to keep at his school.

In the end, Canada ended up firing her due to their differing views. What do you think of these views? In terms of test-prep and holistic educational approaches, should one approach be favored over the other, and if so, why?