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Work Hard. Be Nice.

Nonfiction: Biography / Education
Unabridged   11 hour(s)
Publication date: 04/08/2009

Upton Sinclair Award Winner for Outstanding Book in Education

Work Hard. Be Nice.

How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781598879056
Digital Download ISBN:9781598871180


When teachers Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin first created KIPP (the Knowledge Is Power Program) in Houston, little did they know it would grow to sixty-six schools in nineteen states and the District of Columbia, and that it would change thousands of kids’ lives—and possibly the U.S. approach to education. Award-winning education reporter Jay Mathews tells their story.

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Product Description

The exhilarating true story of how two young educators founded a nationwide middle school program that has produced the largest increase in academic achievement ever seen in inner-city schools.

When Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin signed up for Teach for America right after college and found themselves utter failures in the classroom, they vowed to remake themselves into superior educators. They did that—and more. In their early twenties, by sheer force of talent and determination, they created a wildly successful classroom model that would grow into the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP), which today includes sixty-six schools in nineteen states and the District of Columbia.

KIPP schools incorporate what Feinberg and Levin learned from America's best, most charismatic teachers: lessons need to be lively; school days need to be longer; the completion of homework has to be sacrosanct. Chants, songs, and slogans such as “Work hard, be nice” energize the program. Illuminating the ups and downs of the KIPP founders and their students, Mathews gives us something quite rare: hope about the future of education.


“Along with a fascinating palette of tone and phrasing variations, Paul Boehmer’s performance adds a fitting amount of admiration for the authors’ achievements.”

“J. Paul Boehmer captures both the fiery idealism and initial naïveté in the voices of the two protagonists as they parlay their postcollege Teach for America stint in inner-city Houston into a bold national experiment in classroom instruction and school governance.”
      —Publishers Weekly

“A grand example of humanitarianism in the classroom: Naysayers who believe there's no hope for America's inner-city schools haven't met Feinberg and Levin.”
      —Kirkus Reviews

“An inspiring look at how KIPP has accomplished these amazing results and the barriers they faced.”
      —Bill Gates, 2009 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Annual Letter

“Fast-paced, engrossing and heartening. . . . In Mathewss telling, its hard not to love these guys.”
      —The Washington Post

Author Bio

JAY MATTHEWS covers education for the Washington Post and has created Newsweek’s annual Best High Schools rankings. He has won the Benjamin Fine Award for Outstanding Education Reporting for both features and column writing and is the author of six previous books, including Escalante: The Best Teacher in America, about the teacher who was immortalized in the movie Stand and Deliver.

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