Time Magazine has give us its list of what it calls the 12 greatest summer reads of all time, but summer is for more than “beach blanket blockbusters.” It’s also a good time to relax with a well-written wonkish book or two about education. Below is my list. Please feel free to add your own.
Hope Against Hope, by Sarah Carr. (Bloomsbury Press, 2013)
The distinguished journalist gives us the inside story of schooling in New Orleans since Katrina and the flooding in 2005. She focuses on three schools and the people inside them. It happens to be a wonderful companion to our film, “Rebirth,” which will be available on Netflix in the fall.
How Children Succeed, by Paul Tough (Houghton Mifflin, 2012)
One of the most important education books of the past decade, in my opinion. If you haven’t read this book, I suggest you start your reading with it.
The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined, by Salman Khan (Twelve: Hatchett Book Group, 2012)
Not to be missed. Not to be missed. Not to be missed.
Trusting Teachers with School Success, by Kim Farris-Berg and Edward Dirkswager, with Amy Junge (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012).
The subtitle tells it all: “What Happens When Teachers Call the Shots.” A hopeful book that I gladly blurbed.
Improbable Scholars, by David Kirp (Oxford University Press, 2013)
Anyone who suspects that change is impossibly difficult must read “Improbable Scholars.”
California high school teacher David B. Cohen also recommends”Improbable Scholars.” Here’s what he wrote: “Kirp uses a detailed study of Union City, NJ, along with some shorter profiles of other districts, to argue that there’s no great secret to successful education reform. There are a few predictable common elements in successful districts, and they don’t require lots of think-tank engineering and experimentation: early childhood education, stability and patience within the system, commitment to a viable and cohesive curriculum, strong supports for teachers and students.”
Closing the Opportunity Gap: What America Must Do to Give Every Child an Even Chance, edited by Prudence L. Carter and Kevin G. Welner (Oxford University Press, 2013)
This is an important book of essays because of the focus on the all-important and often overlooked opportunity gap.
Civic Work, Civic Lessons: Two Generations Reflect on Public Service, by Tom Ehrlich and Ernestine Fu (University Press of America, 2013)
Full disclosure: Tom and his wife are dear friends. That said, this is a very thoughtful book by a veteran public servant and an up-and-coming leader.
Multiplication is for White People, by Lisa Delpit (New Press paperback edition, 2013)
The author of the classic “Other People’s Children” provides new insights into continuing problems.
The Reading Workout, by Chris Beatty
I have not read this. It’s on the list because the author suggested–in a tweet–that I include it, and I believe that chutzpah should be rewarded, at least some of the time.