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Putting Education to Work

How Cristo Rey High Schools Are Transforming Urban Education

Megan Sweas


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Paperback (8/4/2015)


The story of how The Cristo Rey Network’s values-based education model and revolutionary work study program have improved urban schools and inspired education reform across the nation.

Combining the latest advancements in instruction, a focus on spiritual values and character development, and an innovative work-study program, the Cristo Rey Network has reinvented urban education and revived a broken system. Catholic school for the twenty-first century, Cristo Rey offers underprivileged students the opportunities they deserve and the structure and committed teachers they need to succeed and build a better life.

Filled with amazing stories of hardship and transformation, Putting Education to Work is a testimonial to the effectiveness of the Cristo Rey program, demonstrated through the lives of its students. Thanks to its rigorous college-prep curriculum and real-life job experience, students become “lifelong learners” who graduate with critical thinking skills and the experience needed for college and the work force. But the Cristo Rey education is not limited to the mind. Focusing on character growth, it ensures the formation of a “whole person” who understands his or her role in helping others.

Presenting the lessons learned along the way, Putting Education to Work shows how any school—religious or secular—can benefit from the Cristo Rey model and offers a hopeful outlook of what young people and determined educators can achieve together.

Praise For Putting Education to Work: How Cristo Rey High Schools Are Transforming Urban Education

“I am a great fan, supporter and champion of the Cristo Rey model. This is a marvelous program because of what it does for young people in America.”
General Colin Powell

“Cristo Rey is magical. What you see is hope and optimism.”
Melinda Gates The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“Children gain advantages in maturity when they are exposed to the business world, which grounds them in their future business life. These students are providing value that no one else is…this is a real win-win.”
Sascha Bopp, CEO, Crate and Barrel

“The educational quality of the program is fundamentally different in kind from what anyone else offers because these students are employable. They come in articulate, bright, well dressed, and ready to work. For our part, we have to be good adult influences in their lives. It lifts everyone’s game.”
Christopher Connor, CEO, Sherwin-Williams

“The achievement of children should trump all other considerations. If we could use a voucher or tax-credit scholarship to send a child to Cristo Rey, where a much higher percent of graduates go to college than in traditional public schools, why would we not do that?”
Governor Jeb Bush

“It seems the real purpose of education has been recovered here. The author has told it well, interspersing personal stories among this readable chronicle.”
Mark M. Wilkins, St. Anthony's Messenger

HarperOne, 9780062288011, 272pp.

Publication Date: August 19, 2014

About the Author

Megan Sweas is a journalist who writes about social and economic justice issues and world religions. She previously was an editor at U.S. Catholic magazine. Sweas was an Annenberg Fellow at the University of Southern California, where she earned a master's degree in specialized journalism. She graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.