Monday, December 17, 2012

Biddle's Top 8 Books for School Reformers

RiShawn Biddle with his top 8 books of 2012 for school reformers:

School reformers have plenty of op-eds to read, policy papers to peruse, and endless tweets coming through their Twitter feeds. But every now and then, everyone needs to pick up a few good books and just read. And not only for pleasure. The need for intellectual stimulation and new ideas for reforming American public education — especially from those outside of policymaking circles — makes thoughtful polemics more-important than ever. And besides, we need to be good examples to the children in our lives.

All of these reasons are why Dropout Nation offers its help this year by selecting The Top Eight Books of 2012 That School Reformers Should Read. Culled from more than 100 books, the selections include a wide range of texts. This includes two books not specifically focused on education from which reformers can gain insight, and build up the movement’s intellectual caliber. It also includes two books by icons of the civil rights movement of this past century who struck blows for bending the arc of American (and world) history; reformers must also heed those lessons from one of the building blocks of the modern school reform movement today.

The selections were judged on four criteria: Does it have a strong narrative or polemical power (also known as “is it well-written” or, wouldDropout Nation Editor RiShawn Biddle’s wife fall asleep on it)? Are the lessons relevant to the reform of American public education? Is the book thought-provoking (or does it offer new arguments or new thinking on familiar issues)? When research is involved in the narrative, does it stand up to scrutiny? And would you pay at least $14 to put it on your Nook or Kindle Fire (or, for those of you still reading traditional books, pay at least $20 for the paperback or hardcover)?
Below are the selected books. Offer your own suggestions in the comments. And as we say here around this time of the year, read, read, read.

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