When Grit Isn't Enough


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“A marvelous book, and badly needed at this time . . . Bravely confronts the widely circulated myth that children who grow up in poverty can overcome inequity and every other daunting obstacle they face if they just ‘believe,’ ‘persevere,’ ‘work like hell,’ and show sufficient ‘grit.’” —Jonathan Kozol, author of Savage Inequalities

“Deftly describes the kind of team effort that is required of educators in order to ensure student success.” —Deborah Bial, president and founder of the Posse Foundation

“An invaluable resource for those who hope to use education to transform the lives of our most vulnerable youth.” —Pedro A. Noguera, PhD, author of Excellence Through Equity

“Both a powerful indictment of higher education and a blueprint for reform. If you read one book on education this season, make it this one.” —David L. Kirp, Professor of the Graduate School, University of California at Berkeley

In When Grit Isn’t Enough, Linda Nathan investigates five assumptions that inform our ideas about education today, revealing how these beliefs mask systemic inequity. Seeing a rift between these false promises and the lived experiences of her students, she argues that it is time for educators to face these uncomfortable issues head-on and explores how educators can better serve all students, increase college retention rates, and develop alternatives to college that don’t disadvantage students on the basis of race or in- come. Drawing on the voices of Boston Arts Academy alumni whose stories provide a window through which to view urban education today, When Grit Isn’t Enough helps imagine greater purposes for schooling.