Part memoir. Part field guide. A message of hope.

“My father died in a spectacular room overlooking the Florida coast.”

So begins this provocative story of a businessman’s journey through the land of blueberries, bell curves, and smelly eighth graders. Part memoir, part how-to manual, Schools Cannot Do It Alone tells of Jamie Vollmer’s transformation from vocal critic to award-winning defender of America’s public schools.


Based on twenty years of work with school districts across the country, Jamie argues that we are at a watershed moment in our history. Bashing public education has become a blood sport—a dangerous game in which sensational headlines publicize half-truths, statistics are used out of context, and test results are reported in the worst possible light.


Schools Cannot Do It Alone confronts these threats head-on and presents a step-by-step program to bring educators and the communities they serve together to create schools that unfold the full potential of every child. From the first pages of a most personal Introduction, to the final chapter’s message of hope, Vollmer argues with conviction that America’s teachers and administrators are ready and able to meet the challenges of our time, but they cannot do it alone.

Over 48,000 copies sold!

What Readers Are Saying

“One of the top ten education books of the year! Vollmer offers a step-by-step system for schools to reach out to their communities to get the support they need.”

—American School Board Journal

“This book could be the spark for a revolution in the way our society views the public schools.”

—The School Administrator Magazine

“I wish everyone who cares about our future could read this story and share in his discovery that “public education is a miracle.’”

—The Honorable Richard W. Riley, United States Secretary of Education 1993-2001


“With fresh eyes, Jamie helps us see and feel how the permeating culture within our schools is tied to public attitudes and beliefs.”

—Rich Bagin, Executive Director, National School Public Relations Association


“Most 'outsiders' don't get it, but Jamie hits the nail on the head again and again. Should be eye opening to ALL teachers.”

—Darla Burton, Administrator, Fennimore, WI


“Oh I loved it. Truly it’s wonderful, and what I needed to re-up my spirits."

—Deborah Meier, Founder, Coalition of Essential Schools


“A stunning portrayal of the unvarnished truth!”

—Gail Connelly, Executive Director, National Association of Elementary School Principals


“Vollmer brings a voice of reason and balance to the debate.”

—David H. Monk, Dean, College of Education, Pennsylvania State University


“Jamie offers every community an opportunity to develop successful models for student and school success.”

—Chuck Saylors, President, National PTA


“Insightful and smart. This can help us build enduring community support for our schools.”

—Mary Broderick, President, National School Board Association


A refreshing voice of reason. Vollmer’s book is the how-to manual for starting conversations that will ultimately ensure that every child receives a quality public education.”

—Dennis Van Roekel, President, National Education Association


“I can't remember a time when I have been more excited about a process… My mind is running a 100 miles an hour.”

—Randy J. Manning. Board President, Kirtland, NM

“Vollmer has written a tonic for every educator’s soul! Teachers, administrators, and school board members will LOVE his message because it is what we believe at our core”

—Anne L. Bryant, Executive Director, National School Boards Association


“He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.”

—Abraham Lincoln