What I Learned in School: Reflections on Race, Child Development and School Reform


By James P. Comer. M.D.
Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA, 2009

What I Learned in School is a volume in the Jossey-Bass series, Outstanding Ideas in Education. The excerpts presented in this collection span Dr. Comer's remarkable career and include selections from his best-selling book, Maggie's American Dream to the influential Leave No Child Behind.

The question at the core of Dr. Comer’s life and work is: Why not prepare an education workforce to support the development of the whole child? He believes that the most efficient and effective way to meet the needs of our students would be to prepare our education workforce to integrate student development and academic learning in all aspects of learning from school entry through student maturity. Dr. Comer puts the focus on promoting student personal responsibility in preparation for meeting life tasks.

"In the world of education reform, where silver-bullet ideas, ideologies, and intellectual fashion clamor for influence, James Comer's thinking has long been a sea of calm, balanced, and humane wisdom focused on the needs of the whole person. Reading Comer you see the incompleteness of so many other approaches to reform, as well as learn an integrated approach to making schools work. And now, here it all is in a single book. If you want to see how schools can actually work, as opposed to affiliate with a prior belief about how they should work, this is a must read."
—Claude Steele, professor, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University

"James Comer is a rare constellation among social scientists: a great intellect, a keen analyst, a creative problem-solver and a man of enormous empathy. His writings are required reading for anyone interested in educationreform or improving the odds for poor children."
—Geoffrey Canada, President and CEO, Harlem Children's Zone