“We are divided between those who want to dismantle the public school system and those who want to improve it, those who emphasize education as an individual property right and those who balance individual rights with the common good, those who regard teachers as the problem and those who see them as the solution. Caught in these ideological wars, politics eclipses pedagogy. School people struggle on, trying to make each day productive for their children and hoping the policy-makers will listen to practitioners as well as to the political elite. I hope so, too. The new century has not yet decided how its children shall be educated, although there are signs that fundamental change is in the offing. Practitioners, I want you to be there when the decisions are being made, contributing knowledge about teaching and learning that only you have. Use it well. We are counting on you to enrich the quality of our children’s education.”
About The Book
My Life In School is a touching and passionate memoir of one man’s journey from depression-era schoolboy to educational innovator and leader. Tom Sobol, former New York State Commissioner of Education, Distinguished Professor at Columbia Teacher’s College, and architect of New York State’s New Compact for Learning, shares his life and his thoughts about the fundamental educational issues of our time with wisdom and clarity.
Sobol writes of his life, blending experience, savvy, and heart, while also providing insight into the political forces that frame some of the major debates around education. His knowledge is honed by a lifetime of experience, and his courage to speak out for what he believes no matter the consequences is refreshing. He is a fascinating character, a charming rogue with a dry sense of humor and the voice of a poet.
Tom Sobol is a graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard School of Education. He received his doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University. He was Superintendent of Schools of Scarsdale, New York from 1971 to 1987, New York State Commissioner of Education from 1987 to 1995, and the Christian A. Johnson Professor of Outstanding Educational Practice at Teachers College from 1995 to 2007. He continued to teach at the College until 2010.
With his wife, Harriet Sobol, he is the co-author of two books, Your Child in School K-2 and Your Child in School 3-5, and has published many articles in magazines and journals.
He lives with his wife and labrador retriever in Scarsdale, NY.