Stray Dogs, Saints, and Saviors: Fighting for the Soul of America???s Toughest High School
In 2008, Steve Barr’s Green Dot charter-school network took over the illustrious, dangerous, and historically under-achieving Alain Leroy Locke High School in South Central Los Angeles. In this in-depth qualitative look at the takeover, Alexander Russo discounts rhetoric both from those who exaggerate and those who belittle Locke’s recent success. As Russo points out, Locke’s transformation has been a long slog, not an unmitigated success, and has been possible only through the grit and perseverance of dedicated teachers and administrators. Russo reports teachers with blood-shot eyes, exasperated with their efforts, puking before starting class in the mornings, or crying quietly in the bathroom after a long day with the students. He chronicles powerful stories—both positive and negative—that have helped to shape Locke over the past three years. Among them: The tale of Keron, a football player who was pepper-sprayed by a rogue security officer after being caught gambling at school and one of Miss K., who battled to keep David, a defiant upperclassman filled with potential, in the school through graduation. This honest on-the-ground portrayal reminds us: School turnarounds are a hard business, indeed.
|Click to listen to an interview with Russo from the Education Next Book Club podcast
Alexander Russo, Stray Dogs, Saints, and Saviors: Fighting for the Soul of America’s Toughest High School, (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2011).
blog comments powered by Disqus