Voices of Determination: Children that Defy the Odds
This second book from former D.C. councilman Kevin P. Chavous is much lighter on education policy than his first writing, but his own convictions emerge clearly indeed: To succeed, students need school choice and supportive adults. Chavous’s easily digested book features ten inspired stories of diverse students (from immigrants to adult-learners) who encounter sundry obstacles during their school careers, from gangs, drug addiction, and abusive parents to teenage pregnancy, homelessness, and just plain awful schools. In each tale, a student’s life trajectory arcs for the better when a supportive adult appears. Ronnie from Baltimore, for example, avoids a life of crime and drugs in the projects through the support of his grandfather and eighth-grade English teacher. Read beyond the stories and you’ll see clear rationale for—and virtue of—school choice. Jamie, for example, finds her niche in school only when her parents move her to a strong charter in her neighborhood. And Chardi finds support at St. Mary’s urban Catholic school. Frequent typos aside, those who carp that schools (and the dedicated workers in them) can’t trump a family’s influence would be wise to thumb this book.
Kevin P. Chavous, Voices of Determination: Children that Defy the Odds (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2012).
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