The inequality in American education is increasing but statistics cannot possibly tell the whole story. As a new teacher thrust into the classroom mid-year in the part of Oakland, California, that police call the "Killing Zone," Bronwyn Harris learned to make her own way as she helped parents advocate for their children with law enforcement and school officials, while enduring a revolving door of school administrators. Harris's students were intelligent, hardworking, funny, loyal, and incredibly empathetic in the face of considerable trauma and instability. She quickly realized that her teacher preparation classes had not covered making child abuse reports, teaching traumatized children, helping students cope with difficult emotions, or keeping a class calm during a lockdown. This book chronicles the lives of Harris's students and shows the difference a caring teacher and support from the greater community can make. "This book takes me right back to my days working down the street from Ms. Harris. Her stories of our kids and our classrooms bring back vivid memories of the love, exhaustion, sadness, and so many more emotions that I felt. This book offers an accessible, sobering introduction to under-resourced public schools for those wishing to learn "what it's really like." But it also conveys the profound richness and importance of the students that this system has left behind. This should be required reading for all prospective teachers, policy makers, and researchers." -Emily Penner, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Education UC Irvine.
About the Author
Bronwyn Harris is from Petaluma, CA, and lives in the East Bay. She earned her BS in psychology from UC Davis and her teaching credential from CSU Sacramento. From 2000 to 2007, Harris was a classroom teacher in Oakland. Later, as the Director of Education for Harbor House Ministries, she was again able to impact under-resourced children, as well as to employ some former students, now teens. Harris currently works as a writer, editor, and tutor.