Battle Rock by William Celis
The Struggle Over a One-Room School in America's Vanishing West

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A colorful look at rural America's rebound-and at the tensions created when urban expatriates meet old-time country values-centered on a Colorado community and its one-room school house. . In the 1990s, rural America increased in population three times faster than it did in the 1980s, as people left cities searching for a slower pace, new opportunities, and better schools. Battle Rock is the examination of one such rural community tucked into McElmo Canyon in the remote southwest corner of Colorado. From 1999-2000, Bill Celis lived in the community and attended Battle Rock school, which sits in the middle of the canyon, providing both a real and figurative divider between the longtime farmers and ranchers from the newer urban expatriates. As Celis warmly describes the daily lives of the canyon residents, the children, and their teacher, he carefully paints the portrait of a community under pressure resulting from conflicting viewpoints, goals and values. Along the way, he encounters bull snakes and loaded revolvers, Anasazi ruins and majestic vistas, poverty, stubbornness, ghosts, a cattle drive, and the daily struggles on the playground and in school board meetings. In Battle Rock, Celis puts to rest the common misperception that smaller communities offer simpler lives.

About William Celis

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Celis is an assistant professor at USC's Annenberg School for Communication. He was a national education correspondent for The New York Times and a reporter and columnist for The Wall Street Journal.
Published November 19, 2002 by PublicAffairs. 256 pages
Genres: Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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Even without a battle, the story of this one-teacher school might have been stimulating had Celis examined how attention-deficit students are handled, why this public school is still staging Christmas pageants and whether the local Native American children attend the school.

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