Uncle Tony’s Charter School: A Satirical Novel in 25 Parts
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When beloved high school principal Dominic Rossetti is forced to open a charter school so his uncle Tony, an organized crime boss, can embezzle the money to fund a strip club, Dom is thrown into a humorous yet tragic situation: he is compelled to run his uncle’s bogus charter school while trying to educate Philadelphia’s children.
Uncle Tony’s Charter School, a 100,000 satirical novel in 25 parts, is the irreverent story of principals, politicians, and the corruption within the American public education system that is robbing urban children of their right to learn. Narrated by Manny Genitaglia (think of the colloquial prose style in Dolores Claiborne), we learn of Dominic’s struggle with a lifelong addiction to gambling, and how a relapse in Atlantic City lands Dom in jail. After his arrest and gambling debts are “fixed” by notorious mob boss Tony Genitaglia, Dom is forced to open a charter school so Tony can pump the taxpayer funds into his Straight A’s Gentleman’s Club and Steakhouse; ultimately, the charter school is left with no money to operate. Dom, the talented principal of Eisenhower High School, does all he can to keep his own school afloat while operating his uncle Tony’s fraudulent charter—which is nothing but an empty building. Dom manages to fool education officials into believing the charter school is of the highest caliber, so much so that parents line up around the block to gain admittance; university professors also clamor to observe the charter in action. When Dom falls in love with the mother of a student on the charter’s waiting list, however, he is ultimately forced to confront his uncle about the scam so he can stop the costly charade once and for all.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Christopher Paslay is a longtime Philadelphia public schoolteacher with a master’s degree in urban education, whose vast experience both inside and outside the classroom give him a unique perspective on the American public school system. Since 2003, he’s published over 40 commentaries on the Op-Ed page of the Philadelphia Inquirer, and in 2011, published the educational memoir The Village Proposal: Education as a Shared Responsibility with Rowman & Littlefield. His young adult novel The Eisenhower Quarantine was a finalist for the Young Adult Library Services Association’s Reluctant Young Reader’s list in 2003, as well.