public school

In 2014, after a brief orientation course and a few fingerprinting sessions, Nicholson Baker became an on-call substitute teacher in a Maine public school district. He awoke to the dispatcher’s five-forty a.m. phone call and headed to one of several nearby schools; when he got there, he did his best to follow lesson plans and help his students get something done.

Substitute teachers hold a unique position in the education community—both insiders and outsiders. Baker, one of our country’s preeminent literary writers, observes students at their most hilarious and their most heartbreaking, and he gives readers a front-row seat to hot-button issues such as standardized curriculum, technology in the classroom, and medicating kids.

Nicholson Baker is the author of ten novels and five works of nonfiction, including The Anthologist, The Mezzanine, and Human Smoke. His new book is: Substitute: Going to School With a Thousand Kids.

   Journalist Ron Berler spent a full year at Brookside Elementary in Norwalk, Connecticut, sitting in on classes, strategy sessions, and even faculty meetings. He was there for the first day of a new school year as the school another chance to improve its failing scores on the annual statewide standardized test known as the CMT.

In his new book, Raising the Curve, Berler introduces us to the students, teachers, and staff who make up the Brookside community. Though their school is classified as failing—like so many others across the country—they never give up on themselves or on one another. In his portrait, Berler captures their concerns, as well as their pride, resilience, and faith.

National Book Award-winning author, Jonathan Kozol, has been working with children in inner-city schools for nearly fifty years and has been called “today’s most eloquent spokesman for America’s disenfranchised.”

His latest book is Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-Five Years Among the Poorest Children in America.