Searching for Hope
Life at a Failing School in the Heart of America
Published by: Indiana University Press
Searching for Hope is a gripping account of life in a once-great high school in a rough Indianapolis neighborhood. Granted unfiltered access to Manual High throughout an entire school year, award-winning journalist Matthew Tully tells the complex story of the everyday drama, failures, and triumphs in one of the nation's many troubled urban public high schools. He walks readers into classrooms, offices, and hallways, painting a vivid picture of the profound academic problems, deep frustrations, and apathy that absorb and sometimes consume students, teachers, and administrators. Yet this intimate view also reveals the hopes, dreams, and untapped talents of some amazing individuals. Providing insights into the challenges confronting those who seek to improve the quality of America's schools, Tully argues that school leaders and policy makers must rally communities to heartfelt engagement with their schools if the crippling social and economic threats to cities such as Indianapolis are to be averted.
1 Why are you here?
2 I never thought he would be a dandelion
3 Can you believe this?
4 We do a good job with the kids who show up
5 I hate this school
6 Go to class, Zach
7 We're not going to be average here
8 Where's the school spirit?
9 I don't like being called stupid
10 You have to crawl first
11 We're dropping out
12 I get hit all the time
13 A trend of low achievement
14 What's gonna happen, Mr. Grismore?
15 Could you imagine if we filled the house?
16 It feels like I'm a somebody
17 I used to be bad
18 I knew I didn't want that
19 There's nobody that can't do something
20 It never stops around here
21 I like to solve problems
22 I'm the kid who doesn't exist
23 Trouble follows me
24 I'm willing to run these schools
25 Now I know why I'm tall
26 In honor of our schoolmates
27 Wow, this is amazing
28 You are survivors
A gritty, wonderfully honest investigation of life in an urban American high school in the 21st century. The despair, the apathy, the misplaced anger, the frustrations and fights for something better are all there. The school in Indianapolis where Tully spent so much time is close to what I have found in many big cities, but few reporters have gone as deep as Tully has.~Jay Mathews, Washington Post education columnist and author of Work Hard, Be Nice: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America
Every reform-minded educator, parent, and politician should read this book. It will change the way they think about what's really needed to help every student in a struggling school achieve his or her full potential.~Gerardo M. González
[A]n even-more-compelling version of the saga Tully chronicled in his Manual Project.~Indianapolis Monthly
[T]his keen observation of teens at a troubled high school makes for fascinating reading. (Dare to finish with dry eyes the chapter about a holiday concert.)~Library Journal
[W]hile the book offers no unfamiliar insight into the plight of urban schools, it does give a powerful, ultimately genuine voice to the complicated, imperfect individuals whose victories and hopes are often unreported.~Publishers Weekly