The quality of education in today’s urban high schools is a disgrace ..

...and both our high school administrators and career bureaucrats in Departments of Education are remarkably effective at hiding the problems behind the curtain of the school entryway. Attending an actual class would shock most parents, revealing schools that are unlike anything that we experienced just 15-20 years ago. We might know about a couple bad teachers, or hear the incessant cries for more funding, or notice the building needs major repairs. But we can never get behind the curtain to see the real, systemic causes of widespread failures in educating our children.

The scope of the problem is nationwide. Both ACT and SAT testing services reported that less than half of 2013 high school graduates were ready for college. And that terrible figure does not include all those high school graduates who did not even take the test to apply for college.

Everyone claims to have all the “answers.” Legislators pass new laws with wonderful goals, but with unintended consequences that are destroying our children's education. A growing minority of urban parents expects teachers to take sole responsibility for raising and motivating their children. Unqualified career bureaucrats in Department of Education cubicles, far from any classroom experience or understanding, pass a host of yearly mandates that hurt our children. Unqualified principals do the minimum to get by, while taking care of their cronies. But no one, except those teachers who still fight to educate our children despite the system, tries to fix the real systemic problems.

Russell brings a decade of teaching in urban schools, along with his passion for children, to lift that curtain for all of us. An off-hand joke by a Boston talk show host (“… to fix education, just shoot all the teachers…”) was the catalyst for Russell to realize that the best and brightest, those who could most help us fix education, had no chance to know what is really happening in our schools , and how bad it actually is. We have asked everyone outside of the school building what is wrong with education, but ignore the views of everyone inside the building!

Those who profit from the current failures in education protect their positions by vigorously attacking any whistleblower who dares reveal how badly education is failing our children. With Lifting the Curtain, Russell draws the ire of career bureaucrats, cronyistic principals, the “clique” who dominates within-school decisions, a minority of urban parents, and the five percent of teachers who are not worthy of their positions.

But what Russell says is embraced just as passionately by all the good teachers and involved parents, and by a remarkably large majority of children that still wants the chance to learn and succeed.