Adequate Yearly Progress

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 25 Feb 2020

Member Reviews

Parts of this satire of a high school in the United States was so close to reality it was breath-taking.  This book is hilarious and depressing all at the same time.  Administration vowing to do whatever it takes, without taking into account the toll on the teachers and students that they work with.  Ridiculous expectations that are constantly changing.  Moving the target without sharing that news.  Teachers that are so competitive due to the high stakes placed upon them that they will sacrifice another staff member.  Elden is on the ball with this book.
Was this review helpful?
This book made my teacher heart laugh, cry, rejoice, and hurt with its accuracy. The book follows Lena Wright, a spoken-word artist and Language Arts teacher, Hernan Hernandez, a science teacher with a shyness problem, Maybelline, a math teacher who wants to be perfect, and Kaytee Mahoney, a second-year history teacher trying to make a difference, among others. The shift in point of view introduces new characters, and each character has their own unmistakable voice. The book takes you through an entire school year, the first year after a new superintendent takes over and starts implementing new policies and procedures for underperforming schools. This novel offers a uniquely accurate view into the lives of teachers in America, versus the motivational, uplifting message that is usually offered in novels about teachers. I absolutely loved and hated this book. I loved its realness, its accuracy, the writing. I hated its realness and its accuracy. It shines a light on aspects of education and teacher expectations that isn’t really shown elsewhere.
Was this review helpful?
This is a funny but all to relatable look into the life of an educator in our current education system.
Was this review helpful?
Adequate Yearly Progress takes place in a high school in Texas. The school is failing and how it effects everyone in this big Texas town. This book navigates the changes that a new superintendent brings to the table in hopes to better the schools report card. This books has a snarky voice that is echoed throughout.
Was this review helpful?
This started off snarky, and funny (maybe even a little inappropriate) but...there were a few issues. 

There’s some problematic stereotyping in this book, but I couldn’t tell if it was meant to be over-the-top and horrible to offer some sort of comedic value? Either way, there were a few parts that almost made me DNF this book (especially knowing that the author is white - or appears to be white). The football coach is the WORST - he says some horribly sexist, misogynistic things that feed right in to rape culture. Again - is the coach meant to be some horrible caricature of toxic masculinity? Or are we supposed to just “ignore” his comments because he’s a football coach?

It eventually just becomes kind of gloomy and sad. There’s not much joy in this book - not a lot of hope. Ultimately my rating is based on the red flags that this book raised for me, and not the quality of writing.  

Having worked in a high school, and being married to a high school teacher, a lot of the points in this book made me chuckle and I found myself mentioning them to my husband. But again, some of it did seem a bit exaggerated (granted, that’s based on my experience working in a particular school - this could seem more realistic to someone who had worked in a school similar to the one portrayed in the book).
Was this review helpful?
Adequate Yearly Progress is about a high school, in a large Texas city, that has been underperforming in terms of results. Teachers, brand new and long time, navigate the high expectations of a new superintendent, education consultants, and teenagers. It’s the story of how the faculty deals on a daily basis with school life, personal life, and reality.  Adequate Yearly Progress is filled to the brim with humor, broad stereotypes, and nuggets of truth. I think current teachers, especially high school teacher, will relate to the travails of the Brae Hill Valley HS teachers.
Was this review helpful?
Oh my goodness, the SNARK! 🙌🏼 I loved it! This tongue-in-cheek look at a public school through the teachers eyes was spot on! The emphasis on testing, the weight gain from stress eating, the range of teachers attitudes...all of it was spot on! Adequate Yearly Progress accurately depicted the hoops teachers now have to jump through, the eventual burn out, and the feelings of JUST LET ME TEACH that everyone in the public school setting has felt at one time or another. This book was the perfect depiction of the things that suck the joy out of teaching with the overwhelming, all encompassing pride when you see your students succeed. This was satire at its finest and I loved this easy, quick, witty read. 4⭐️ Thank you @atriabooks for the advance reader in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I was blown away by Adequate Yearly Progress (which is still a phrase that makes me shiver and groan, and I’ve been out of the classroom for two years).  This is the first of Roxanna Elden’s books I’ve read, and I LOVED it.  I’ve worked in a very high needs elementary school similar to Brae Hill Valley, and you can tell that Elden is very familiar with what the environment is like.  The characters are experiences in this book are so real, and occur daily in classrooms around the country.  In addition, I loved how deep the personalities of the main characters were, and how Elden brought their personal lives into the book, to show how the environment at school impacted them even more.  Her character development is fantastic. I’d love to see a sequel to this book, and continue to see how Brae Hill Valley does in the next year.  

To the negative reviewers:  I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but THIS is what it’s like in a high needs, struggling school in today’s world.  Elden is not exaggerating.  There are people who need to get out of the education profession, but there are so many teachers, principals, and other professionals who are devoted to their students, but are hampered by the mandates put on them by people unfamiliar with effective, research-driven practices and the student population that they serve.

Be on the lookout in June or July for a buddy read with this book.  I’d love to read this book with a group of teachers, former teachers, or people who support teachers and discuss it (but not during the school year).

Thanks to @netgalley, @atriabooks, and @roxannaelden for the #gifted review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: Each new school year brings familiar challenges to Brae Hill Valley, a struggling high school in one the biggest cities in Texas. But the teachers also face plenty of personal challenges and this year, they may finally spill over into the classroom.

English teacher Lena Wright, a spoken-word poet, can never seem to truly connect with her students. Hernan D. Hernandez is confident in front of his biology classes, but tongue-tied around the woman he most wants to impress. Down the hall, math teacher Maybelline Galang focuses on the numbers as she struggles to parent her daughter, while Coach Ray hustles his troubled football team toward another winning season. Recording it all is idealistic second-year history teacher Kaytee Mahoney, whose anonymous blog gains new readers by the day as it drifts ever further from her in-class reality. And this year, a new superintendent is determined to leave his own mark on the school—even if that means shutting the whole place down.
Was this review helpful?
Going to school to be a teacher I thought I’d enjoy this book but it was okay. However, it seems to me that the author went off track into espousing her political leanings instead of sticking to shedding light on the plight of US educators. I find it hard to read books where the author spends part of the book explaining that we shouldn’t stereotype and should be tolerant, and spends the next section stereotyping a race and showing religious intolerance. If you’re against stereotyping, it should apply to all. If you’re crying out for tolerance, you should BE tolerant. Disappointed, because the premise of this book has great potential.
Was this review helpful?
This novel takes a humorous look at a struggling school and its teachers. While the characters seemed a little too over exaggerated, this was fun to read!

As a teacher, I found a lot of the circumstances and characters familiar, if a bit over the top. I wanted to see how these teachers ended up! I'm not sure non-teachers would really get this, but if you are or a family member is a teacher, one click!
Was this review helpful?
3.7 - I’m tempted to say that this was a “fun” book - but all of the characters’ frustration (based on way too much reality) took some of the fun out of it; still, an entertaining satire that comments on the state of public education and its’ absurdities.
Was this review helpful?
Though the tone of this book is light, what these Texas high school teachers are put through is decidedly bleak. I have empathy for teachers in real life and had a lot of empathy for these fictional characters. They’re being put through the ringer by a business man/minor celebrity Nick Wallabee who is trying to turn teaching into a business through charter schools (who don’t have to follow the standards of public schools and can essentially function as a way for con artists to make money). Also, Wallabee and his cronies try to make money by encouraging kids to get their education online, which costs almost nothing for providers—and, as usual, you get what you pay for. 

I loved this cast of cThough the tone of this book is light, what these Texas high school teachers are put through is decidedly bleak. I have empathy for teachers in real life and had a lot of empathy for these fictional characters. They’re being put through the ringer by a business man/minor celebrity Nick Wallabee who is trying to turn teaching into a business through charter schools (who don’t have to follow the standards of public schools and can essentially function as a way for con artists to make money). Also, Wallabee and his cronies try to make money by encouraging kids to get their education online, which costs almost nothing for providers—and, as usual, you get what you pay for. 

I loved this cast of characters: Lena, an English teacher by day and a spoken word poet by night. Hernan, the biology teacher who can’t seem to get his friendship with Lena to turn into something more. Kaytee, a white Teach Corps teacher who is forever challenging her vocabulary and thoughts to ensure she’s not stereotyping her predominately black and brown students. Coach Ray, who didn’t make it to the NFL but did make it out of Huntsville, where nearly everyone works for one of the nine prisons there. 

This book won't help districts recruit new teachers, but it's entertaining and well done.

Thanks so much to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this novel, which RELEASES FEBRUARY 11, 2020.
Was this review helpful?
As a teacher, I expected to love this book because I knew it would be relatable to me-and in some ways, it was. However, it seems to me that the author went off track into espousing her political leanings instead of sticking to shedding light on the plight of US educators. I find it hard to read books where the author spends part of the book explaining that we shouldn’t stereotype and should be tolerant, and spends the next section stereotyping a race and showing religious intolerance. If you’re against stereotyping, it should apply to all. If you’re crying out for tolerance, you should BE tolerant. Disappointed, because the premise of this book has great potential.

Thanks go to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
After starting this and reading other negative reviews, I’ve decided to skip this one and move on to other books that appeal to me more.
Was this review helpful?
Completely accurate depiction of American public schools . . . educators will nod their head at the stereotypical colleagues who populate the teaching field. And teachers will shake their head in disgust with the way the profession has changed. Strongly developed characters help to reveal the flaws in the new "business of school" model. Educators will love this story, but people outside of the field may find themselves in disbelief. Sorry, nonbelievers, this is the reality.
Was this review helpful?
This is a MUST-READ for all teachers.  It is a perfect representation of the dumpster fire that public education has become., but it is also a laugh-out-loud celebration of the educators who keep trying.  I am beginning year 18 in public schools, and this book speaks to my soul.
Was this review helpful?
*Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. 
     As a middle school teacher, Adequate Yearly Progress was a fun read for me. It hits many universal truths about teaching, as well as the yearly headaches we all face with testing data, administration, and student home life. 
     Told from the perspective of several teachers and a principal, Yearly Adequate Progress is a quick, funny and possibly eye-opening read for those not familiar with teaching in the public school system.
Was this review helpful?