A Chance to Make History

What Works and What Doesn't in Providing an Excellent Education for All

By Wendy Kopp
(PublicAffairs, Hardcover, 9781586487409, 240pp.)

Publication Date: January 2011

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback, Compact Disc

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On Teach For America’s twentieth anniversary, its founder offers an inspiring summation of the lessons learned: The achievement gap can be closed, and there’s nothing elusive about what it will take

About the Author

Wendy Kopp is the founder and president of Teach For America and the author of One Day, All Children. She lives in New York City.

Steven Farr, Teach for America’s vice president for knowledge development and public engagement, is also the author of Teaching as Leadership.

Praise For A Chance to Make History

Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2010
“An optimistic narrative about school reform from an author with an unusual perspective… Kopp’s insistence on aiming high should make it required reading for all professional educators.”

More Magazine, January 2011
“Kopp offers a perspective on lessons learned as she spotlights particularly effective teachers and techniques that have helped poor children from underperforming schools to exceed standards and get into college. Following profiles of teachers and schools, she offers lessons that are widely applicable.”

Time.com, January 6, 2011
“The group's 20th birthday coupled with its growing network of alumni means that TFA and Kopp, who is about to publish a new book and is becoming more vocal on school reform issues, will be in the news a lot this year.”

Washington Post, February 4, 2011“Kopp's new book written with Steven Farr, ‘A Chance to Make History: What Works and What Doesn't in Providing an Education for All,’ offers an intriguing summary and analysis of all she has wrought…Kopp's book makes many valid if counter-intuitive points about why Teach For America makes sense.” Education Next, February 3, 2011“The strength of ‘A Chance to Make History’ is in documenting that genuine reform can and is taking place throughout the country.  Its limitation is that by focusing on certain key individuals in what she calls “Transformational Leadership,” Wendy Kopp has chosen not to delineate broader questions of culture, educational policy at both local and national levels, and systems of student and teacher evaluation without which no substantial and nation-wide system of educational reform can take place.” Basil and Spice, February 1, 2011
“When I picked up ‘A Chance to Make History,’ I expected to read a glowing history of Teach For America. While Kopp is justly proud of the organization she founded two decades ago, her book goes beyond TFA to explore realistic solutions to the chronic problem of underperforming schools that turn out underperforming students. This exploration makes it a valuable addition to the vast amount of literature on educational reform.”

MotherJones.com, February 10, 2011
“High school freshmen and veteran policy wonks alike will find A Chance to Make History: What Works and What Doesn't in Providing an Excellent Education for All to be accessible and engaging.”


Huffington Post, March 14, 2011
“Over the last two decades, Teach For America has become an engine for bringing talent to struggling public schools, and in the process, generated a force for reform. Wendy Kopp's recent book, A Chance to Make History, makes that case powerfully.”

School Library Jounral, June 7, 2011 I'm halfway into Wendy Kopp's A Chance to Make History, and it's excellent. Every time I visit schools, I can't stop thinking about how we can do better by kids; this covers it.”


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