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Improving Public Education: The Obstacles and Triumphs

In the field of education, one seldom finds a true story told with such a personal touch. It’s both biographical and historical, told from the perspective of a leader on the inside of the reform movement. Every teacher can relate to David Driscoll’s anecdotes about the beginning of his teaching career. As one who was grounded in his early experiences, his own identity, and his advanced degrees, he was especially qualified to be the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Education. He recounts the obstacles and triumphs of this journey with honesty and humor.

This book delivers an understanding of how complicated public education is. It highlights the many factors that impact success for all students: teachers, poverty, politics, community, funding, equity, expectations, and more.

Commitment and Common Sense serves as a foundation for those looking to improve education with reflections and lessons that are relevant to moving us toward a more perfect system. This system would provide: equitable opportunities for all students, measures of progress not just summative assessments, connections of instruction to real life, schools organized to meet the needs of students, improvements in teacher preparation, and a public perception of teachers as professionals.

This book is excellent for anyone in education, and a must-read for all involved in education policy.

David Driscoll served as the 22nd Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Education. His forty-five year career in public education started as a high school math teacher. He worked his way up through superintendent, and with a doctorate in education administration from Boston College, he filled the highest position in education in the state. This book tells his story.

It has been selected by Bookauthority as one of the 100 Best Education Reform Books of All Time, ranked #12.

This book is available at:



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