A powerful story of courage and hope that should inspire others to follow trailblazers like Steckel and his students.



Inspiring account of what it takes to overcome class and ethnic barriers to gain acceptance to college.

In 2006, Steckel was recruited to a new Brooklyn high school (the Secondary School for Research) from the college admissions program of a private Upper East Side school. He and his wife, Zasloff (co-author: Hope, Not Fear: A Path to Jewish Renaissance, 2008), chronicle the pitfalls he faced as he helped the students navigate the college-admissions process and worked with his existing network of admissions officers and support programs to qualify candidates in innovative and unorthodox ways. The success stories built foundations for others in applying and dealing with the stereotyping, racism and unconscious bias the students encountered as they advanced toward their goals of college admission. Steckel helped the students develop the resources to present their personal stories successfully. They also had to keep their eyes on the prize as they endured brutal misfortunes—e.g., the fire that destroyed Mike's home and put him in a shelter or the gang beating that nearly killed Dwight. Steckel was with them the entire way, celebrating successes and helping them overcome heartbreaking setbacks and bureaucratic inflexibility. He helped the students find programs in which potential college candidates from disadvantaged communities could pre-qualify through competitive recruitment—e.g., Questbridge and Posse, which work with Ivy League schools. The author also worked with them to meet deadlines, be on time for interviews and raise funds through scholarships. Of the 42 members of Steckel's first graduating class, 41 entered college, and they qualified for $1.8 million in scholarships. The next year's class was 75 strong and ready for another new beginning.

A powerful story of courage and hope that should inspire others to follow trailblazers like Steckel and his students.

Pub Date: March 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59558-904-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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American schools at every level, from kindergarten to postgraduate programs, have substituted ideological indoctrination for education, charges conservative think-tanker Sowell (Senior Fellow/Hoover Institution; Preferential Polices, 1990, etc.) in this aggressive attack on the contemporary educational establishment. Sowell's quarrel with "values clarification" programs (like sex education, death-sensitizing, and antiwar "brainwashing") isn't that he disagrees with their positions but, rather, that they divert time and resources from the kind of training in intellectual analysis that makes students capable of reasoning for themselves. Contending that the values clarification programs inspired by his archvillain, psychotherapist Carl Rogers, actually inculcate values confusion, Sowell argues that the universal demand for relevance and sensitivity to the whole student has led public schools to abdicate their responsibility to such educational ideals as experience and maturity. On the subject of higher education, Sowell moves to more familiar ground, ascribing the declining quality of classroom instruction to the insatiable appetite of tangentially related research budgets and bloated athletic programs (to which an entire chapter, largely irrelevant to the book's broader argument, is devoted). The evidence offered for these propositions isn't likely to change many minds, since it's so inveterately anecdotal (for example, a call for more stringent curriculum requirements is bolstered by the news that Brooke Shields graduated from Princeton without taking any courses in economics, math, biology, chemistry, history, sociology, or government) and injudiciously applied (Sowell's dismissal of student evaluations as responsible data in judging a professor's classroom performance immediately follows his use of comments from student evaluations to document the general inadequacy of college teaching). All in all, the details of Sowell's indictment—that not only can't Johnny think, but "Johnny doesn't know what thinking is"—are more entertaining than persuasive or new.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 1993

ISBN: 0-02-930330-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1992

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The sub-title of this book is "Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools." But one finds in it little about education, and less about the teaching of English. Nor is this volume a defense of the Christian faith similar to other books from the pen of C. S. Lewis. The three lectures comprising the book are rather rambling talks about life and literature and philosophy. Those who have come to expect from Lewis penetrating satire and a subtle sense of humor, used to buttress a real Christian faith, will be disappointed.

Pub Date: April 8, 1947

ISBN: 1609421477

Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1947

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