I recently published my 2017 summer reading suggestions for educators, but here is an equally radical list from 2002! See my 2006 recommendations too.


School’s almost out, and it’s the perfect time to get in some interesting reading that will reinvigorate you for September

From the June 2002 issue of District Administration

One of the best ways to spend the summer is curled up with a good book. The following are nominees for books that will inspire, provoke or entertain educators. Professional development for you and your staff is only a bookstore away. Why not stay connected with your colleagues this summer by starting a book club? You can find all of these books and more here.

Summer Reading
The Book of Learning and Forgetting by Frank Smith
This may well be the most beautiful, clear and pro-found book ever written about learning and overcoming the obstacles to learning created by schools. Smith paints a gorgeous picture of what real learning is and explains how it differs from what he calls the official theory of learning.

Ordinary Resurrections: Children in the Years of Hope by Jonathan Kozol
Jonathan Kozol’s latest book about the lives and education of poor kids will touch your heart. One of my all-time favorite books.

What Happened to Recess and Why Are Our Children Struggling in Kindergarten? by Susan Ohanian
I adore every book written by this master teacher, humorist and educational critic. Her most recent book explores the human cost of our current testing-mania, shares teaching anecdotes and discusses what parents are doing to make schools more playful places to learn.

American Psychology and Schools: A Critique by Seymour Sarason
Prolific author, educator and psychologist Sarason candidly investigates the question, “Where has the American psychological community been during the heightened concern over standardized testing and school violence?” He offers hypotheses for this disinterest in schools and explores the damage to the public welfare caused by the collective silence of the psychological community.

Leadership
The Inner Principal by David Loader
Veteran principal David Loader courageously explores the joys, challenges and inner conflicts of being a school principal. His accomplishments on behalf of kids will inspire school leaders. Teachers will give their principals a hug.

Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency by Tom Demarco
The latest book by this management guru argues that effective organizations need slack to nurture out-of-the-box thinking and productivity, particularly among knowledge workers.

One for Each Level
The following books are designed to appeal to elementary, middle school and high school teachers.

The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Approach Advanced Reflections by Edwards, Gandini and Forman (Editors)
This remarkable book should be read and re-read by every educator. It seems to contain solutions to every educational problem. While the city of Reggio Emilia focuses on early childhood education, there are numerous lessons to be learned by teachers at all levels.

Caught in the Middle—Nonstandard Kids and the Killing Curriculum by Susan Ohanian
Ohanian makes the case for a learner-centered approach to the middle grades from her amusing perspective.

Rethinking High School: Best Practice in Teaching by Daniels, Bizar and Zemelman
A six-year case study of the planning through graduation of a new Chicago school committed to preparing students for the 21st century.

Technology
Internet & Computer Ethics for Kids: (and Parents & Teachers Who Haven’t Got a Clue) by Winn Schwartau
This book explores a large quantity of ethical issues facing citizens in the digital age. While written for adolescents, adults will find the description of ethical dilemmas, the law and common sense useful in making sense of this confusing era.

Champions of public education, teachers and students lost an important ally recently when Gerald Bracey passed away unexpectedly. I wrote about the loss of Dr. Bracey here. Alfie Kohn, Deborah Meier, USA Today and others did so as well.

Bracey had a highly-tuned BS detector as Neil Postman called for four decades ago, but he used the tools of a scientist, wisdom of a scholar and heart of a teacher to make his arguments irrefutable.

One of Gerald Bracey’s most important contributions to education was the Annual Bracey Report on the Condition of Public Education. The final report has just been published after having been finished posthumously by his friend, Susan Ohanian. If you do not know Susan’s work, you should read her web site daily!

This report is brought to us by the Education and Public Interest Center of the University of Colorado at Boulder & the Education Policy Research Unit of Arizona State University.

The current (and perhaps final) Bracey report tackles the “the research support for what the author considers to be three of the most important assumptions about how to reform public education:” (http://epicpolicy.org/publication/Bracey-Report)

  1. High-quality schools can eliminate the achievement gap between whites and minorities.
  2. Mayoral control of public schools is an improvement over the more common elected board governance systems.
  3. Higher standards will improve the performance of public schools.

I was pleased to read that Bracey identified the “do as I say, not as I do,” contradictions in Obama’s education policies as I wrote last year in Obama Practices Social Promotion (which incurred the global wrath of the CEO of Hooked-on-Phonics) and in Why I’m Scared to Death About Obama’s Education Policies.

Download the report, Read it! Circulate it to friends, neighbors, administrators, school board members and public officials!