A book review: Raising the Curve

Raising-the-Curve-by-Ron-Berler-300x300How do you improve education? A simple question that receives attention galore, but has no definitive answers.


Ron Berler’s book, Raising the Curve: A Year Inside One of America’s 45,000 Failing Public Schools, takes a year long, in-depth look at a single school, Brookside Elementary in Norwalk, Connecticut. It introduces us to teachers, administrators, specialists, and students as they make a school wide effort to raise standardized test scores. After school programs, teacher camaraderie, intense teaching to the test, peer leadership, classroom distractions, and more are all explored.


What works best? Frustratingly, the answer appears to be D: None of the Above, since the Brookside test scores barely improved after this year long effort. However, Raising the Curve hints at a possible key: Home. Yes, that place where a child spends even more time than at school. Reading together. Homework support. Quality time. Good nutrition. Mealtime discussions. Would a year of these activities raise the test scores? Maybe a subject for a Raising the Curve, Home Edition?