Charters and Choice
No Child Left Behind
Early Childhood Education
Who are the key players changing education today?
Teachers to Watch: Tommie Lindsay and Rafe Esquith
“If you are a young teacher or parent who has often wanted to break from the pack but has been afraid to do so, I can tell you that I’ve done so and am still standing. I have many scars and bruises, but I have, as Robert Frost tells us, taken the road less traveled. And it has made all the difference.” – Rafe Esquith, There are no Shortcuts
|Tommie Lindsay is the forensics coach at James Logan High, a low-income high school outside of San Jose California that comprises students often labeled as “at risk.” Lindsay works with students on their use of persuasive language, drama, and emotion to succeed educationally and in the future. Lindsay sets very high standards for his students and insists that they take their commitment to the program seriously. Students are required to practice before and after school in order to perfect their skills. Lindsay not only dedicates time, but also serves as a personal mentor for his students. While only 40 percent of James Logan students continue on to college, nearly 98 percent of Lindsay’s students attend colleges, including Ivy League universities and top colleges in the nation. Tommie Lindsay has received the MacArthur Genius Award and is featured in the documentary Accidental Hero: Room 408.|
|Rafe Esquith is a fifth grade teacher at Hobart Elementary, the second largest elementary school in the country with 90 percent of students live below the poverty line. Esquith’s students start school at 6:30 in the morning and go until 5:00 in the evening. Although none speak English as their first language, they listen to books like Catcher in the Rye and Huckleberry Finn read in English by high-schoolers. They also read and perform Shakespeare as a class. The “Hobart Shakespeareans” have performed in the Globe Theater and other festivals throughout the United States. Esquith knows that his students are not geniuses; they simply work harder than other students. Their hard work pays off as Esquith’s students consistently score in the top 5 and 10 percent in the country. Rafe Esquith has written two books, won the American Teacher Award, been given the National Medal of Arts, and has become an honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire.|