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Famed director M. Night Shyamalan has long had a serious interest in education. When he learned that some schools were succeeding with similar student populations, he traveled across the country to find out how they did this and whether these schools had something in common. These five keys are used by all the schools that are succeeding, and no schools are succeeding without them.
Before he discovered them, Shyamalan investigated some popular reform ideas that proved to be dead ends, such as smaller class size, truculent unions, and merit pay for teachers. He found that the biggest obstacle to school reform is cognitive biases: too many would-be reformers have committed themselves to false solutions. Night Shyamalan —screenwriter, director, and producer—has captured the attention of audiences around the world with his original films for almost two decades.
He and his wife, Dr. Bhavna Shyamalan, cofounded the M. Night Shyamalan Foundation, dedicated to helping empower individuals. Night Shyamalan as a new ally in the fight to transform our calcified public-education system. Like the born storyteller he is, Shyamalan has unraveled the myths of our education system and spun a clear and compelling case for what we need to do.
Night Shyamalan.To break the silence, Shyamalan boldly proclaimed that he's the highest paid writer, word for word, in the world, and then he asked the students how they thought he's managed to pull that off. Night Shyamalan. Your purchase helps support NPR programming. Night Shyamalan suddenly found himself at the head of an inner-city school English classroom. One kid assumed the Academy Award nominated director had connections. And he was terrified.
Trade Paperback. Price may vary by retailer. Add to Cart Add to Cart. Table of Contents Excerpt Rave and Reviews. About The Book. A long time ago, I contributed to a passionate and well-meaning low-income housing initiative. I read their proposal, met with them, went to their church, walked the blocks that were going to be transformed, and wrote a check—a big one.
Many years later, all I had bought with it was a raft of lost promises, intricate excuses, and bewilderment about where the funds went.
I licked my wounds. In due time, my interest in doing something to help my hometown of Philadelphia slowly migrated to education. Again, I chose to accomplish this by writing more checks. My wife, Bhavna, and I identified four exceptional public high school students from low-income schools and informed them we were going to help pay for their four years of college.
To celebrate our candidates, I arranged to host a dinner with them at a popular and well-known restaurant to commemorate this auspicious beginning. I keep all the napkins I write ideas down on. Sunsets are a must on vacation. I keep a special bottle of Champagne for every script I complete. This list of sentimental rituals is long and getting longer; this dinner was going to become one of them.
My wife and I were going to have an inspiring dinner with exceptional kids that were one day going to change the city of Philadelphia. This is not what happened. Bhavna and I waited at the restaurant as one by one the scholarship awardees arrived.
One was escorted in by a very suspicious and protective aunt. So there we were, Bhavna, me, our awardees, and utter silence.
I am considered a loquacious guy.
I sallied forth with my best icebreakers and never-fail-me jokes. These had no effect. I took stock of our guests. All four stared with hurt, pained eyes.
I Got Schooled: The Unlikely Story of How a Moonlighting Movie Maker Learned the Five Keys to Closing America's Education Gap.
Through the course of the barely eaten meal, a few morsels of information spilled from their otherwise sewn-shut lips. The most important was this: They were scared and unprepared for college. These children were not ready. They were deeply struggling. They were suspicious of Bhavna and me, and suspicious of the world. The uneven scores in their academics.
The low percentiles of their standardized test scores as compared to public school kids not in the inner city. I remembered the darkness that stained their letters. The system had failed them and shoved them out the door with ribbons saying they had won. As they shook our hands politely and left, Bhavna looked at me and saw I was shaken.
I was looking to be inspired. The system had beaten them badly enough that no amount of money could undo the scars. There are moments when you think you are somewhere on a road close to your destination until you see a road sign that tells you that you have drastically miscalculated the length of your journey. Bhavna and I left that restaurant feeling as so many others before us must have felt as they stared down the road and knew that their destination had somehow gotten further away.
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