In a series of up-close stories, Rose (Education and Information Studies/UCLA; Why School?: Reclaiming Education for All of Us, 2009, etc.) explains the necessity of secondary education for nontraditional students.
The author supports second-chance education programs, believing that "when well executed they develop the skills and build knowledge that can lead to employment but also provide a number of other personal, social, and civic benefits." Whether the students Rose interviews are attending school for retraining, for the social interaction or for a second chance at a better life, his prose pulls readers into becoming cheerleaders for them as they struggle to master basic reading and writing skills or learn the complexities of welding. From adult education programs to community colleges, Rose explores the need for a reassessment of the post–K-12 educational system, noting that growing sectors of the labor market require a four- or even two-year degree. The author calls for a system that allows for a wide variety of students: single parents, workers who can only attend school part-time, those coming from rehab programs or jail, and those just interested in learning something new or in need of a social life. These are the students who often fall through the cracks in the traditional straight-from-high-school-to-college system, and it is to these students that Rose's book will ring true. Even though they "carry more than their fair share of hardship and sorrow," they have the same hopes and aspirations as those fortunate enough to attend one of the top universities in the country and should not be neglected or looked upon unfavorably because of their circumstances.
Inspiring stories of older Americans attending secondary schools.