Possible Lives : Over the past four years, Mike Rose has been visiting classrooms across the country and has been struck again and again by their intellectual and social richness and by what they suggest about education in a democracy. We are told continually by both entertainment and the news media that our students don't measure up, either to their predecessors in the United States or to their peers in other countries. Schools are depicted as mediocre or violent and chaotic places where students are raucous and teachers are not up to their jobs. As a result, increasing numbers of people don't even consider public schools as an option for their children, and more and more, we speak of the schools as being in decline. In Possible Lives, Rose shows us what really goes on in good classrooms: how teachers work, how students learn, and what schools give to their neighborhoods. 454 pages.