I Got Schooled


When he was scouting locations for a film, M. Night Shyamalan spent time in two Philadelphia-area schools—one a welcoming institution, the other a building with metal detectors, windows with bars, and locked classroom doors. The striking difference resonated with the filmmaker, convincing him to become more involved in education reform. Now, after years of dedicating himself to the issue and consulting with America’s leading education experts and reformers, he has found something astonishing in the research.

Schools are closing the achievement gap in urban neighborhoods all across the country, more than fifty of which are identified in Schooled. What they have in common are five distinct practices, similar to, and inspired by, the keys to a healthy lifestyle: Each one necessary, no one sufficient. These five, identified by the Shyamalan family foundation’s researchers are: Longer Hours, whether an increased school day, or extended year; Small Schools; using evidence-tested teaching methods via Data-Driven Instruction; Leaders who spend their time on instruction instead of administration; and identifying and retaining the Best Teachers, including a fresh approach to the tenure system.

Shyamalan embarked on this project with no preconceived notions, hoping only to learn which methods succeed. Working closely with experts, he has produced a book based solely on empirical data—a guide that should help inform Americ's ongoing debate about how to improve our educational system.

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The ed reform graveyard from the past few decades is filled with quick fixes and gimmicks. Shyamalan’s journey of discovery affirms there are no shortcuts if our country is going to ensure all children have access to a great education, and his five keys for any school’s success focus on the essential ingredients.”-Mike Feinberg, co-founder of the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP)
It’s great to have M. Night Shyamalan as a new ally in the fight to transform our calcified public-education system. Like the born storyteller he is, Shyamalan has unraveled the myths of our education system and spun a clear and compelling case for what we need to do. This is a must-read for anyone concerned about our country’s kids and our country’s future.-Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone
Schools on the same block with similar students can post radically different results. I Got Schooled is evocative and will encourage educators and non-educators to debate the keys to great schools. A must-read given educational excellence for all students is the key to unlocking our country’s potential.-Cami Anderson, Superintendent, Newark, N.J. Public Schools
Filmmaker Shyamalan makes his nonfiction debut with this engaging presentation of the results of his research into methods for closing America's education gap.. . . . A lively, provocative contribution from an outsider with his own way of addressing the problem.-Kirkus Reviews
"The book's conversational tone and appealing humor yields an engaging narrative of one Hollywood director's struggle to find out what works in the best schools, and how we can apply those insights to the rest."-Publishers Weekly
" 'I Got Schooled' is a breezily written, research driven call to change America's approach to education. Shyamalan is smart and sincere, and his innovative ideas are unbound by the educational establishment." -John Wilwol, NPR