Lessons of Hope: How to Fix Our Schools (Hardcover)
New York Times Bestseller (Education)
The Economist Best Books of the Year Selection
In this revealing and provocative memoir, the former chancellor of the New York City schools offers the behind-the-scenes story of the city’s dramatic campaign to improve public education and an inspiring blueprint for national reform.
In 2002 New York City’s newly elected mayor, Michael Bloomberg, made a historic announcement: his administration had won control of the city’s school system in a first step toward reversing its precipitous decline. In a controversial move, he appointed Joel Klein, an accomplished lawyer from outside the education establishment, to lead this ambitious campaign.
Lessons of Hope is Klein’s inside account of his eight-year mission of improvement: demanding accountability, eliminating political favoritism, and battling a powerful teachers union that seemed determined to protect a status quo that didn’t work for kids. Klein’s initiatives resulted in more school choice, higher graduation rates, and improved test scores. The New York City model is now seen as a national standard for meaningful school reform. But the journey was not easy. Klein faced resistance and conflict at every turn.
Lessons of Hope lays bare the problems plaguing public education and shows how they can be solved. At its core lies Klein’s personal story: his humble upbringing in Brooklyn and Queens, and the key role that outstanding public school teachers played in nurturing his success. Engaging and illuminating, Lessons of Hope is essential reading for anyone concerned about the future of American public education.
About the Author
Joel Klein served as chancellor of the New York City Department of Education from 2002 to 2011. Earlier in his career, he served as U.S. assistant attorney general in charge of the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, deputy White House counsel during the Clinton administration, and CEO of the U.S. headquarters of Bertelsmann. He currently serves as executive vice president at News Corporation and CEO of its education division, Amplify. He lives in New York City with his wife, Nicole Seligman.
Lessons of Hope is part memoir, part blueprint for reviving public education, as Joel Klein takes us inside the dramatic struggle to turn around the New York City school system.
— Arianna Huffington
“Joel Klein’s grasp of how critically linked a child’s education is to his or her success in life, and what that means for the future of America, make this book a great and important read.”
— former Florida Governor Jeb Bush
Joel Klein has emerged from the bureaucracy to tell in personal, vivid detail what happened when he and his colleagues attempted to transform the country’s largest school system.
— Amanda Ripley, bestselling author of The Smartest Kids in the World
A book that is inspiring as it is informative about the state of modern education. I hope every parent and teacher in the U.S. reads it.
— Stephen J. Dubner, co-author of the "Freakonomics" series and host of Freakonomics Radio
Lessons of Hope is a bracing reminder of the need to improve America’s schools so we can deliver on the promise of a great education for everyone.
— Bill Gates
This important book is of great value for families making decisions about schools and for policymakers and advocates who are determined to improve our nation’s systems of schools.
— Senator Cory A. Booker
“Lessons of Hope is often a compelling account of how determined leadership can remove obstacles to change, and Klein offers a strong defense of his work as an effective leader of reform.”
— Daily Beast
“Anyone interested in improving public school systems and learning about the Orwellian nature of contemporary political discourse should read Joel Klein’s Lessons of Hope.
— Center on Reinventing Public Education
“Lessons of Hope is unique in the education reform genre, joined perhaps only by Steve Brill’s Class Warfare.The education space is full of policy wonks, but it’s rare to get such insight from the inner trenches of the political battles fought to implement that policy.”
— Huffington Post