Back to School
Why Everyone Deserves A Second Chance at Education
By Mike Rose
(New Press, The, Hardcover, 9781595587862, 224pp.)
Publication Date: September 2012
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It’s a statistic that’s sure to surprise: close to 45 percent of postsecondary students in the United States today do not enroll in college directly out of high school and many attend part-time. Following a tradition of self-improvement as old as the Republic, the nontraditional” college student is becoming the norm. Back to School is the first book to look at the schools that serve a growing population of second-chancers,” exploring what higher educationin the fullest sense of the termcan offer our rapidly changing society and why it is so critical to support the institutions that make it possible for millions of Americans to better their lot in life.
In the anecdotal style of his bestselling Possible Lives, Rose crafts rich and moving vignettes of people in tough circumstances who find their way; who get a second . . . or third . . . or even fourth chance; and who, in a surprising number of cases, reinvent themselves as educated, engaged citizens. Rose reminds us that our nation’s economic and civic future rests heavily on the health of the institutions that serve millions of everyday peoplenot simply the top twenty universities in U.S. News and World Reportand paints a vivid picture of the community colleges and adult education programs that give so many a shot at reaching their aspirations.
Mike Rose, a professor at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, is the author of many books, including Lives on the Boundary, The Mind at Work, and Possible Lives. Among his awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Grawemeyer Award in Education, and the Commonwealth Club of California Award for Literary Excellence in Nonfiction. He lives in Santa Monica.
"At a time when more and more are flocking back to the hallowed halls of the university in search of re-training and more substantial resumes, famed educator and professor Rose (Possible Lives) rethinks the role of college in American social and political life, proffering moving arguments for higher education reform.... Those working in secondary education would be remiss to ignore these crucial lessons."
"Whether the students Rose interviews are attending school for retraining, for the social interaction, or for a second chance at a better life, his prose pulls readers into becoming cheerleaders for them as they struggle to master basic reading and writing skills or learn the complexities of welding."
"Mike Rose shines a light on institutions that are teaching students, young and old, how to rebuild our economy and put America back to work."
President Bill Clinton
"Mike Rose gets it. We either close the monstrous gap between academic study and skilled trades, or we fall into it. Back to School is a second chance not just for those individuals who need one, but for civilized life as we know it."
Mike Rowe, creator and executive producer of the Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs
"Rose's idealism is the best kind: informed, tough-minded, self-aware. Those of us who inhabit lives on the cushier side of the educational boundary should honor, and act upon, his profoundly democratic spirit."
The Cutting Edge News