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Over the past 18 months Race to the Top—the Obama administration’s $4.35 billion program designed to advance public school innovation and student achievement—has prompted furious  competition between state and local school districts, raising expectations that some sort of breakthrough in K-12 education may be at hand. Yet skeptics might be forgiven for harboring doubts about an imminent turnaround, despite the eye-popping stimulus-funded incentives and number-crunching requirements. As Davis Guggenheim’s Waiting for “Superman” makes clear, the absence of federal funding and mandates hasn’t been the problem. >>

Samuel Casey Carter is, in a way, the Tom Paine of the movement to raise school achievement in low-income neighborhoods. He coined the term “no excuses schools” for those run by people who think that no matter how bad their students’ family lives, with great teaching they should be able to learn just as much as kids from affluent suburban homes. His new book, “On Purpose: How Great School Cultures Form Strong Character,” puts this in an even wider context. He profiles a dozen schools that, he says, have set high expectations for personal attitudes and behavior and created both good people and good students. >>

Veritas Preparatory Academy, a Phoenix charter school near 24th Street and Lincoln Drive, is one of a dozen schools profiled in a new book, On Purpose: How Great School Cultures Form Strong Character, by education leader and author Samuel Casey Carter. In the book, Carter writes that schools that nurture students, have high expectations and focus on character development dramatically increase achievement. Andrew Ellison, founding principal of the sixth through 12th grade college prep school, said unlike the movie Waiting for Superman, Carter’s book focuses on what the 12 profiled schools are doing right. >>

The Author
Samuel Casey Carter has been a leader in educational change and culture for more than twenty years, having managed some of the world's leading education companies. As Senior Fellow with the Center for Education Reform, he advised the President on organizational matters and was commissioned to write On Purpose: How Great School Cultures Form Strong Character. Carter also penned the book, No Excuses: Lessons from 21 High-Performing, High-PovertySchools.
The Schools