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Education Opinion

Improbable Scholars?

By Sara Mead — April 02, 2013 1 min read

Earlier today, I moderated a panel discussion at the Center for American Progress on David Kirp’s new book, Improbable Scholars. You can watch the full event streaming here.

Kirp’s book tells the story of Union City, New Jersey’s transformation from a deeply troubled and low-performing district in the early 1990s to one where a predominantly low-income, Latino, immigrant student population performs on par with or better than the New Jersey statewide average today. Union City’s success is powerful, and the district’s leaders and educators deserve tremendous credit for the difficult work they do on a day in and day out basis.

That said, I’m not entirely sure I agree with the broader school reform lessons that David draws from Union City’s experience--as I’ve written previously. But Union City’s experience is still worth hearing and thinking about--and we were particularly lucky to have Union City’s Superintendent Sandy Sanger and early childhood director Adriana Birne on this panel to tell the story firsthand.

The opinions expressed in Sara Mead’s Policy Notebook are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.