This is the inside story of the more than eighty-thousand recent college graduates who have joined Teach for America and committed two years of service to teaching in the nation's most troubled public schools. These inexperienced teachers come to class armed with little more than their idealism and the conviction that every student, regardless of race or background, deserve an excellent education. They take the toughest jobs at the toughest schools in the toughest districts, and they face the raw realities of America's public education system: dilapidated schools, too few books and overcrowded classrooms. Written in the tradition of Studs Terkel, Lessons to Learn showcases the insights of a wide range of individuals with real life expertise, combining interviews and essays from TFA corps members and alumni as well as principals, superintendents, parents and noted education experts. Current and former TFA members reflect on their teaching successes and failures, the life lessons they gathered along the way and their insights about the challenges facing our nation's public schools. Education professionals and other experts help to establish the broader context of the fight for meaningful public education reform.Lessons to Learn is essential reading for teachers, parents, policy makers and anyone who cares about the fate of this nation's struggling public education system.