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'Back to School'

Mike Rose's new book came out of his involvement with the Los Angeles Case Study team.

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Why Everyone Deserves a Second Chance at Education

by Mike Rose

“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 & executive producer,
 Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs”

In Back to School, lauded educator Mike Rose reveals why the nontraditional student is the new normal, and why our economic future increasingly lies in their hands. As more and more people drop out of today’s tough job market, GED programs, vocational instruction, and community colleges are providing them a second chance at improving their lot. Focusing on this quiet tidal wave of returning students, award-winning author Mike Rose examines the crucial role that community colleges and adult education programs play in American life today, even as budget cuts threaten their existence across the country.

Back to School tells the stories of a wide range of people, from the unemployed to veterans to women who dropped out of school to raise children, all of whom are going back to school for a second chance. Their educational journeys prompt important questions about the way we teach basic English and math, why we separate vocational and academic courses of study, and how we measure ability and intelligence. Rose reminds us that our nation’s economic and civic future rests heavily on these institutions, which serve millions of everyday people.

Back to School is clear-eyed about the challenges secondary education institutions face, as well as the opportunities they provide. With Rose’s rich vignettes, personal experiences as an educator, and expert analysis, Back to School is an indispensable guide to understanding the purpose of all type of higher education.


Publication: September 2012 • $21.95 • Hardcover • 224 pages • ISBN 978-1-59558-786-2


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New York, NY 10013
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Executive Summary Cover

PATHWAY's final report calls for a richer, more comprehensive and humane understanding of the lives of low-income youth. With this viewpoint in mind, the report  highlights five factors that matter when thinking about and promoting success for low-income college students. These factors – student voices, diversity, assets, connection between K-12 and high education sectors, and institutional supports and conditions – are key for all student success initiatives.