Published by Penguin Books
Educator Mike Rose spent four years journeying through America's public school classrooms. What he found – enthusiastic, imaginative teachers; dedicated administrators; schools succeeding despite the odds to educate students and help create a responsible citizenry for the future – belies the bad news and negative images about the state of our schools so pervasive in the media.
Rose re-creates the classrooms he visited and the remarkable, often heroic people he met there, illuminating the qualities, attitudes, and public policies that make for great schools. He shows us how teachers work, how children learn, and what schools can do for their neighborhoods. He offers new hope that by bringing out the best in public education, we can revitalize ourselves as a nation.
"Terrific. Very stirring, comprehensive, and (amazingly) hopeful."
Jonathan Kozol, author of Savage Inequalities and Letters to a Young Teacher
"Rose, whose writing is rich and graceful, re-creates one magical scene after another."
"This is a big-shouldered book, full of ardor….[Rose] offers us a reasonable hope that with attention and care we can again make public education what it was meant to be, and must yet be."
Los Angeles Times
"Possible Lives is an engaging account of the author's visits with inspiring teachers in tough school districts across the country…His purpose…is to 'generate a hopeful vision in a time of bitterness and lost faith,' which he does with great success."
"The product of immense labor…elegantly rendered."
New York Times
"Rose is a remarkable observer….(He) has produced a paean to American democracy as it is imperfectly reflected in schools across our impossibly diverse landscape."
"His book is beautifully written….Of all the new education books, Rose's book is the only one to suggest that we need a new way to talk about idealism."
The New Republic
"Mike Rose has written another terribly important book. As we debate the future of public education both in Congress and around kitchen tables, our discussion will be enriched by the very interesting people populating this wonderful book."
The late Senator Paul D. Wellstone, Minnesota
"Mike Rose is both a critical and sympathetic observer of the texture and sound of classroom life. He shows us that good schooling is a daily reality in schoolhouses in every part of the nation, serving every kind of child and community. No one has yet captured it so well."
Deborah Meier, author of In Schools We Trust
"Mike Rose has done something extraordinary. He has written an inspirational book about the possibilities of public education near the end of the twentieth century. With grace and brilliance, Possible Lives dives into the heart and soul of America."
Michael B. Katz, Walter H. Annenberg
Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania
"Written with the eye of an artist and the voice of a poet, this book has given those of us who strive for educational equity a precious gift – beautifully detailed snapshots of exemplary teachers and brilliant learners in the pockets of our country where we've been told to least likely expect it."
Lisa Delpit, Executive Director, Center for Urban Education and Innovation, Florida International University
"As someone said of John Dewey, if Mike Rose did not exist, he would have to be invented. This is the best book I know about what it takes to reform public education and why that task is essential if American schools are to recreate democracy, generation by generation."
David Tyack, Vida Jacks Professor of Education, Stanford University