Judging the Cover of a Book

“You can’t judge a book by its cover,” it’s often said, but can you and will you be the judge for the cover for my new book? A short time ago I asked students at two California schools, Palo Alto High School and Castilleja, to help create the cover for my new book, Below C Level: Why It Pays to be Average in Public Education (and what WE can do about it).

The students submitted dozens of possibilities, and I have selected three finalists—for your consideration. Understand that these are drafts and can be changed, so I am NOT asking for an up-or-down vote but for your preference AND your suggestions as to how to improve the eventual winner.

Here they are. Please submit your vote and suggestions to the blog itself, so we can post your views. I ask you to remember that the designers are high school students who have put a lot of time and energy into this. They’re in the game, and they know they might not be chosen, but they deserve credit for their efforts, not snarky comments.

I am publishing the book on Amazon, meaning that there’s only one way to buy it—and it should be available for purchase in less than a month.

I’m donating a sizable portion of the royalties to Learning Matters, so, when you buy it, you will be supporting our in-depth coverage of education.

As for the book itself, here’s a snippet from the preface:

Schools are at the proverbial crossroads. Think of it this way: Just a few years ago, children went to schools (and libraries) to have access to knowledge, but today knowledge is everywhere, thanks to technology and the Internet. So why should kids go to school?

Just a few years ago, children went to school to socialize and be socialized, but today there’s an app for that! Kids have Facebook, Farmville, Myspace, Twitter and other powerful social media, so why should kids go to school?

I am asking the question, “Is School Obsolete?” And my answer is, essentially, “No, but…..”
As I will argue, many adults want schools to keep an eye on their kids and keep them safe. Those are not good enough reasons from a youth’s perspective, and so effective schools will teach young people how to evaluate knowledge, how to separate the wheat from the chaff—and how to choose the wheat. Yes, schools must teach values!

Good teachers will be like musical conductors, but the music won’t be classical. It will be jazz, full of riffs and tangents, and changing from performance to performance. Teaching will be tougher but infinitely more rewarding in these schools–if we are smart enough to build them.

Thanks for participating in this competition. I look forward to reading your ideas.

Below C Level Cover Contest

Cast your vote in the comments! We’ll be tallying the scores and sharing the results next week.

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One thought on “Judging the Cover of a Book

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