The Life and Legacy of a Revolutionary Educator
Mission to Teach writer, Dipak Basu, read at the UH campus from his inspirational biography of a revolutionary educator who took on American education reform. Sponsored by the UH College of Education, the event allowed students and the public to meet Basu personally and engage more closely with the moving story of Basu’s daughter, who achieved astonishing strides in urban education during her short life. The first fifty people to attend the reading were given free copies of the book, and Basu signed copies for the public.
Mission to Teach is based on the life and work of New York University Professor Jhumki Basu, who developed ground-breaking teaching techniques that were rooted in her own experiences as a teacher in embattled inner-city schools. She co-founded a public school in underserved Crown Heights of Brooklyn which acted as one of the laboratories for her work. Here she demonstrated the dramatic benefits of including students’ own experiences in their education, making learning science deeply engaging for both students and teachers. High school completion rates in the high-need institutions she touched, and those touched by teachers who have followed her model, have risen from 30% to over 90% and endured. Kids, whom Jhumki and her followers worked for, were candidates for a lifetime of drugs and crime. They are today college graduates and on their way to careers of their dreams.
Incredibly, Jhumki realized her achievements as she battled breast cancer for seven years before it engulfed her at age 31 – but could not stop her legacy. Although she is no longer with us, Jhumki’s absorbing story is made very personal through its narration by her father, with whom she had a deeply loving relationship and who she included in her work.