In his debut, a successful administrator judiciously applies business principles to the effort to improve public schools.
Kravitz is the principal of School No. 3 in Fort Lee, N.J., which was designated a National Blue Ribbon School in 2010. In this slim motivational book, he proposes a no-nonsense plan to change the state of the nation’s schools, in which “[t]est scores are low, spending is high, and we are stuck in the blame game.” The centerpiece of his approach is the Triangle Theory: All corners of the triangle—parents, teachers and administrators—must work together to support students, represented at the triangle’s center. Kravitz has considerable experience in all three roles, a perspective that allows him, in this book, to set reasonable expectations and make informed recommendations. To that end, he writes in a direct, conversational style, full of questions, exclamations and parenthetical asides, that readers will likely appreciate. Throughout, he suggests targeted business strategies that could make the educational system more effective. He criticizes the notion of innovation for innovation’s sake, and insists upon cost-benefit analyses to justify the expenses for programs that may or may not lead to significant improvement: new materials, teacher training through professional development seminars, outside consultants and so on. However, Kravitz is careful to point out that such a business model is not infallible; for example, he relates one particularly instructive anecdote, quoted from a book by author Jamie Robert Vollmer, that suggests that educators have little to no control over the initial quality of their students. The book’s only potential drawback may be its brevity, as some readers may want to read more about the author’s reservations about charter schools, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and standardized testing.
A voice of reason on the future of public education.