In a fit of idealism, Ed Boland left a 20-year career as a nonprofit executive to teach in a tough New York City public high school. But his hopes quickly collided headlong with the appalling reality of his students' lives and a hobbled education system unable to help them: Freddy runs a drug ring for his incarcerated brother; Nee-cole is homeschooled on the subway by her brilliant homeless mother; and Byron's Ivy League dream is dashed because he is undocumented.
In the end, Boland isn't hoisted on his students' shoulders, and no one passes AP anything. This is no urban fairy tale of at-risk kids saved by a Hollywood hero but a searing indictment of schools that claim to be progressive but still fail their students. Told with compassion, humor, and a keen eye, Boland's story is sure to ignite debate about the future of American education and attempts to reform it.
Yes, I really enjoyed this book. Ed told his story with humor and compassion. I found myself laughing out loud through out the story. It's heartbreaking to hear how some kids in our country are being raised.
But... He managed to hit on all of the liberal talking points...everyone was homophobic in the early 80s...the military is looked down upon....2 wars that were unjustified and illegal. He did mention Obama hasn't done anything about poverty, but that is low hanging fruit. No president will handle that hot potato. The most egregious mistake was whitewashing the teachers union in ruining our education system. Each year they give about 90% of their money to liberal causes that has nothing to do with helping kids. In 2007 that was 80 million dollars. That would help a lot of kids.
Until we have politicians who really want change, and have the courage to make it happen, our education system in the US will continue to be broken.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Where does The Battle for Room 314 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
While not something I could listen to a second time, this was an enjoyable recounting of outlandish anecdotes from an equally-bizarre author. It was light, succinct, and a pleasant venture outside of my usual listening.
Who was your favorite character and why?
The first-person narrative is read by the author himself. I went into this book expecting to relate more to the author and side with him against his students. Instead, the author is almost as surreal a stereotype as the unteachable inner-city minority kids. There seems to be little grounding for any character in this book. When I finally reconciled that the narrator was nearly as absurd as his subjects, I could finally relax a bit and enjoy the rest of his tale.
Did the narration match the pace of the story?
The narrator is not particularly expressive, but did an alright job telling his story. I got a slight feeling that the author lost some of his enthusiasm as a result of reading his editor's revision, rather than his own stream of consciousness.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Ed Boland left a high-paying sinecure as a fundraiser for minority scholarships to go on a quest for social justice and racial equality. He lasted one school year in the trenches before retreating back to his old job, receiving a raise for his troubles. He made no progress in saving the world.I imagined the epilogue would offer more of a personal catharsis for Mr. Boland. If the lessons are that such students are largely unteachable, that diversity does not lead to tolerance and harmony, and that resources are better spent elsewhere, then Mr. Boland learned nothing. He retreated to his bubble, gradually regaining his sanity, and renewed his beliefs that with more money and refined micromanagement, someday his do-gooder dream could be realized. He had forgotten the cause of his madness.I was disappointed with this ending, though not entirely surprised.
Any additional comments?
This is certainly a unique tale and would be of interest to anyone with overlapping concerns about interracial relations, cultural norms, public schools, and the rest of the gamut.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I listened to this book in one day. I couldn't get enough of Ed's anecdotes about his experience. Very well written.
My only criticism of the recording itself is the strange music underlay for the very first and last minute of the narration. It's distracting, but don't let it deter you.
If you are really interested in this subject, I recommend that you read "Whatever it Takes," by Paul Tough first--this book provides a lot of background information about just how much poverty affects school aged children who live in inner city areas and how disadvantaged many are from birth because of the socioeconomic circumstances they are born in to.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
The only take away from this book is that bleeding heart savior complexes have no place in the classroom.
I can't make myself finish this. For how great I was expecting a book like this to be, it's just turning into a gay defense story.
The story was fairly compelling. I admire Ed Boland for doing what he did, but I kind of disagree with his conclusions and epilogue. He called it himself left wing fluff and it's true. I blame the parents and most of all the culture. I've heard and read on many occasions that minorities, mostly blacks and some Latinos look down on and punish their peers that perform well in school. They call them Uncle Tom's, etc and accuse them of trying to be white. Until that changes, there is little hope. The culture rewards those kids that speak in ebonics and act like gangsters. It's not cool to be good at school.
Quite a story about a new teacher with all the right intentions, struggling through the first year of teaching. The takeaway for me was seeing close up how a couple of dozen students can seem to work hard to do everything possible to ensure no classroom learning takes place. Not a pretty picture.
A realistic, Thought-provoking portrayal of American public education. Excellent narration. i could not stop listening.
good book inspires me to want to go to a high school and teach math and science on a part time basis.
What would have made The Battle for Room 314 better?
What could Ed Boland have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
Hard to believe it was read by the author.
Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Ed Boland?
How did the book get published?
What character would you cut from The Battle for Room 314?
all of them
Any additional comments?
WASTE OF TIME.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful