This book explains how Detroit earned its reputation as the worst public school system in the country. It is the story of one man’s attempt to teach his students traditional history in a Detroit classroom, and the District’s determination to stop him. Along the way, he was selected by the principal for “special assistance” because of the number of failing grades in his classes. Detroit officials disapproved of his students reading the textbook, preparing outlines as a study tool, his lecturing to students, and his insistence that his students work to pass his classes. That teacher, Roosevelt Williams, the author wrote the book so that the public can understand that urban schools are failing because of the decisions and policies of the school’s administrators. Using the administrative hearing transcripts, the teacher/author exposes the official’s thinking and the tragic consequences on the Detroit students. The Michigan Teacher Tenure Commission, charged with protecting tenured teachers, endorsed the dismissal decision, stating the Detroit Board: “sought to advance the learning process beyond the level of memorization and rote learning prevalent in appellant’s classroom to capture the attention of the students, to engage them in the learning process and to develop higher level thinking skills by the students.”Finally, the author points out a number of shortcomings to help the schools live up to their public responsibilities to the students and community.
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