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Is the rebirth of a great American school system happening in San Francisco?


Schools and districts around the country are looking for ways to improve learning and safety for their students. And author David Kirp’s new book, Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System, tackles just that topic. He says we have to start with the way we think about education reform – and that means reforming the way we talk about it. He spoke about this with KALW’s Holly Kernan.

HOLLY KERNAN: You said San Francisco Unified is a model for involving parents and creating a parenting system. What's happening here that we should know about?

DAVID KIRP: There's more and more emphasis on community schools, which means engaging parents and other partners in kids education so the school day isn't just an eight-to-three day. So it reaches before and afterwards. There's an increasing effort on reaching out to families and increasing recognition they're not only partners; they're the primary educators of kids. So for starters that means getting them the material to them in their own language so they can understand what's going on. 

Click the audio player above to listen to the interview.


Crosscurrentseducationdavid kirp
Holly Kernan is the architect of the award-winning Public Interest Reporting Project. She is currently news director at KALW 91.7FM in San Francisco. In 2009 she was named Journalist of the Year by the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Kernan teaches journalism at Mills College and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and has taught at Santa Rosa Junior College, Youth Radio and San Francisco State University's Lifelong Learning Institute. She lives in Oakland with her husband, Mike, daughter, Julia, and retired greyhound Benjamin Franklin.