School of Dreams

School of Dreams : Making the Grade at a Top American High School

3.62 (186 ratings by Goodreads)
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The pressure to succeed in our nation's most competitive public high schools is often crushing. Striving to understand this insular world, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Edward Humes spent a year at California's Whitney High, a school so renowned that parents move across town-and across the world-hoping to enroll their children. That's because schools like Whitney deliver everything parents want: love of learning, a sense of mission, and SAT scores that pave the way to elite universities. Attending such a school, of course, carries its own toll: High-achieving, pressured kids survive on espresso and four hours' sleep a night, falling into despair if they get a B. Lively, personal, and very readable, School of Dreams uncovers what works-and what doesn't-at this model high school, offering parents, students, and teachers some powerful messages about public education today.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 370 pages
  • 132 x 201 x 30mm | 431g
  • United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 0156030071
  • 9780156030076
  • 1,830,717

Flap copy

What is the price of an education at a top public high school?
Whitney High delivers everything we ask of a school: a love of learning, a sense of mission, and SAT scores to die for. But there are unintended consequences to attending the school of our dreams, as author Edward Humes found during his year inside this world of high achievement and high pressure.
Students work nearly around the clock, building futures to please parents as much as themselves. Their drug of choice? Caffeine. Their goal? Getting into a top college. Their biggest fear? Not living up to their families' stratospheric expectations. But what these kids have going for them is the extraordinary community within Whitney High-- a school with doors open seven days a week, where teachers love teaching and the students linger long after the school day ends.
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Back cover copy

A Washington Post Book World Rave

In School of Dreams, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Edward Humes chronicles the year he spent in a remarkable public high school where students struggle to harmonize parents' expectations with their own goals and teachers search for that elusive balance between creating great test takers and fostering great learners. Humes gives us an inside look at the daily joys, disasters, stress, and struggles of the memorable students of Whitney High, as well as those of their teachers and parents. The result is an honest and enlightening story of what life is really like for today's high-achieving high-school students-and a revealing look at the state of public education in America.

"Engrossing . . . Deserves credit for showing that a fine public school education isn't necessarily an oxymoron." -The Boston Globe

Edward Humes has written numerous books, including Baby E.R. and the bestselling Mississippi Mud, Mean Justice, and No Matter How Loud I Shout, which won the PEN Center award for nonfiction. He lives in Southern California.
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Review quote

"Humes' fascinating book chronicles an entirely different group of students, with a different set of challenges."
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Rating details

186 ratings
3.62 out of 5 stars
5 20% (37)
4 39% (73)
3 26% (49)
2 13% (24)
1 2% (3)
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