From Jacqueline Elliot, the passionate co-founder of the highly successful PUC charter school network in Los Angeles and a relentless advocate for excellence and equity in public education, comes a frank, inspirational memoir about her journey as a spirited activist for social justice who battles to reform the public education system. Jacqueline Elliot, often identified as an icon in the charter school movement in California, has a reputation of being a tenacious fighter who tirelessly defends the rights of all children to be provided with an education that provides them with the opportunity to achieve their potential and make their dreams a reality. Born in Glasgow, Scotland and emigrating to Los Angeles at age 13, Jacqueline experienced the anonymity that is often characteristic for students in large urban schools but emerged as an accomplished scholar and courageous warrior for educational equity. Her commitment to public school reform began in 1986 when she became a teacher in a public school in Pacoima, one of the most socio-economically challenged neighborhoods in Los Angeles, where the expectations for students and the conditions were abysmal. As a former public health care professional and new teacher, she did all she could to meet the needs of her students within the confines of the Los Angeles Unified School District system. Discovering California's charter school legislation in 1995, she ultimately galvanized one hundred families from the community as her partners in a relentless quest to create a better public school for their children. Rallying the support of others who believed in her vision, this fascinating memoir describes how Elliot was able to overcome a variety of daunting obstacles as a result of the positive relationships she developed. Her triumphant founding of the first public charter middle school in Los Angeles in1999, Community Charter Middle School, was historic and clearly demonstrated the power of what can be accomplished when a diverse group of individuals unite in one vision and refuse to give up until their dream is achieved. Drawn to the culture in the small school that was characterized by mutual respect, meeting the needs of all students, embracing of diversity, and high expectations for all, parents and community members beseeched Elliot to open more schools. Committed to meeting the needs of the community, Elliot responded accordingly.In this very personal, candid memoir, Elliot shares what led her to become a forward-thinking education entrepreneur and describes a number of the battles she fought and the seemingly insurmountable challenges she overcame in order to create and sustain the excellent schools she founded. Now, as the co-founder of a 20-year old network of high achieving schools in which over 100 former students serve as teachers and in other roles, Elliot addresses her struggles and battles, writing candidly about the people who have perpetuated failing public schools, the parents who desperately sought better schools for their children, and those who championed her cause and still fight by her side. Her leadership and accomplishments have served as an example and inspiration for a multitude of others who have followed. Elliot's insightful memoir is a passionate personal story and an urgent call to action for all who care about our children and future of America. Passionate Warrior: My Charter School Journey bluntly identifies forces that continue to work against efforts to improve the dysfunctional education system that has failed so many of our children. This memoir is sure to unify and inspire supporters, provide food for thought for teachers, parents and all who care about our public schools, and impact the national conversation about education.
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