Making a Difference

Making a Difference
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  • Item #: 9781620060216

The Story of Irl Solomon and the Difference One Teacher Made in the Schools of East St. Louis

Irl Solomon graduated from Brandeis University in the early 1960s and immediately started to look for a teaching job in or near his hometown of St. Louis. Without giving it much thought, Irl, who had grown up in the middle-class inner suburbs of the Gateway City, took a job in the public schools of East St. Louis.

At the time, this depressed metropolis that looks west across the Mississippi River and stares squarely at the Gateway Arch was a dying city. Always the stepchild compared to its considerably larger Missouri sister, East St. Louis was losing much of its population and tax base. In place of citizens came weeds, crime, and urban blight. By the late sixties, the East St. Louis school system had become one of the most dysfunctional in the nation.

While the Sixties produced more than its fair share of idealistic young crusaders, many of whom saw teaching as a way to change the world, most moved on to more affluent schools or even other careers beyond education after just a few years. Irl Solomon did not. For 38 years, he made the long drive from his home west of St. Louis to teach in the schools east of the Mississippi. Over these many years, he changed many lives. This is the story of how one man devoted his career and his life to making a difference.


Joe Regenbogen has spent his life teaching high school history, first in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans and then in the western suburbs of St. Louis. He is the author of two books for use in the social studies classroom, Questioning History and Relearning History. In addition, his book, The Boys of Brookdale, which reviews 16 stories from the Second World War all told by veterans living in one senior facility, was published in 2018. Regenbogen is currently teaching part-time in a program for exceptionally gifted students. He is the father of two children who both work as public interest attorneys and he is getting ready to celebrate his 40th anniversary with his wife whom he first met in college.

by Joe Regenbogen
Trade paperback - 6 x 9 x 2
176 Pages
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Price $14.95
Availability In-Stock

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