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Centre for Urban Schooling

Grappling with the Hardest Questions

Why Must Schools Talk Openly About Race and Achievement and What Happens When They Do

"Closing the achievement gap" has become a cause célèbre, invoked in newscasts, political speeches and cocktail party banter. Yet how does such a cause become reality?

Current profiles compiled by No Child Left Behind data label and break down each student by race, culture, gender, language, and social class. Yet questions about how these distinctions actually impact learning - as opposed to test scores - are ignored

Dr. Linda Nathan, headmaster of the Boston Arts Academy, has found that openly discussing these challenging and sometimes painful issues is making a difference.

Linda Nathan is the founding headmaster of the Boston Arts
Academy, the city’s first and only public high school for the  visual and performing arts. Under her leadership, the school has won state, national, and international recognition. BAA sends well over 90 percent of its graduates – all residents of the city of Boston – to college.

She was instrumental in starting Boston’s first performing-arts middle school, and was a driving force behind the creation of Fenway High School, recognized nationally for its innovative educational strategies and school-to-work programs. Fluent in Spanish, Linda has worked on issues of school reform in Puerto Rico, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia. She is a lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she teaches a course titled “Building Democratic Schools.”

Linda Nathan earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Berkeley, a master’s in education administration at Antioch University, a master’s of performing arts at Emerson College, and her doctorate in education at Harvard University
 

Please join us as Dr. Nathan discusses her new book, The Hardest Questions Aren't on the Test: Lessons From an Innovative Urban School(Beacon Press, October 2009), and shares heartening successes, instructive failures and what is working for her school and students. Copies of the book will be made available for purchase.

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