Compiled by Megan Drennan
The Commentary staff recently conducted a random, informal survey of what educators and those closely allied to the field are reading. We asked two questions of the large and diversified cast of individuals--from graduate students to U.S. senators--we called: "What book(s) are you reading for pleasure?'' and "What book(s) would you recommend to Education Week readers?'' We thank the following people for taking the time to respond. Here are their answers:
Jonathan Amsterdam, the program director for D.C. Service Corps, is reading Promises Kept by Irving Bernstein and Iqbal's Educational Philosophy by K.G. Saiyidain. He recommends Conflict Partnership: How To Deal Effectively With Conflict by Dudley J. Weeks and Cambodia: A Book for People Who Find Television Too Slow by Brian Fawcett.
Gary Bauer, the president of the Family Research Council, is reading Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History edited by William Safire and suggests The Lincoln-Douglass Debates introduced by Harold Holzer.
Jack Bierwirth, the superintendent of schools in Portland, Ore., is reading and recommends Citizens by Simon Schama.
Linda Chavez, the director of the Center for the New American Community at the Manhattan Institute, is reading Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally and suggests There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America by Alex Kotlowitz.
Benjamin Chavis, the executive director and chief executive officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is reading the writings and biographies of Frederick Douglass and recommends Race Matters by Cornel West.
Paul Cummins, the president of the Crossroads School in Santa Monica, Calif., enjoys the poetry of Robert Frost, W.H. Auden, Carolyn Forche, and Denise Levertov as well as books by William Gaddis and Robert Coover. He suggests Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol, Deterring Democracy by Noam Chomsky, and Two Nations: Black and White, Separate, Hostile, Unequal by Andrew Hacker.
Ellen Dempsey, the president of Impact II, is reading Remains of the Day: A Novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. She recommends the booklet by Milbrey W. McLaughlin and Joan E. Talbert, "Contexts That Matter for Teaching and Learning: Strategic Opportunities for Meeting the Nation's Education Goals'' (Stanford University: Center for Research on the Context of Secondary School Teaching).
Bob DeSena, the executive director of the Council for Unity, has recently finished The Firm by John Grisham and Rising Sun by Michael Crichton. He suggests Den of Thieves by James B. Stewart.
Thomas Fleming, the 1992 National Teacher of the Year, is reading Dream Makers, Dream Breakers: The World of Justice Thurgood Marshall by Carl T. Rowan, Race Matters by Cornel West, and Cultural Diversity in Organizations: Theory, Research, and Practice by Taylor Cox Jr. He suggests On the Edge: A History of Poor Black Kids and Their American Dreams by Carl H. Nightingale, and The Culture of Disbelief: Why Our Black Children Are Not Learning by Tyrone Greer.
Peter Gerber, the director of the education program at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, recently finished Rising Sun by Michael Crichton. He suggests Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life by Robert N. Bellah et al. and There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America by Alex Kotlowitz.
Pauline Gough, the editor of the Phi Delta Kappan, is reading The Fifties by David Halberstam and recommends The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.
Sen. Nancy Landon Kassebaum, R-Kan., is reading The Human Face of Poverty in America: A Chronicle of Urban America by Vincent Fanelli and recommends This Stubborn Soil by William A. Owens.
Justin King, the executive director of the Michigan Association of School Boards, reads mysteries and historical biographies and recommends Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and The War Years by Carl Sandburg.
David LaFontaine, the chairman of the Massachusetts Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, recently completed Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice and The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry. He suggests the Lillian Hellman plays "The Little Foxes'' and "Another Part of the Forest.''
Dennis Littky, the principal of Thayer High School in Winchester, N.H., is reading The Long Haul: An Autobiography of Myles Horton by Myles Horton with Judith and Robert Kohl. He suggests Letters to a Serious Education President by Seymour Sarason.
Janet Parshall, a special assistant to the president of Concerned Women for America, is reading Shadowlands by William Nicholson and recommends A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken.
Diane S. Ravitch, a visiting fellow in governmental studies at the Brookings Institution, is reading With Charity Toward None: A Fond Look at Misanthropy by Florence King as well as the poetry of W.H. Auden. She suggests The State and the Non-Public School by Lloyd P. Jorgenson and Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire by David Remnick.
Peter D. Relic, the president of the National Association of Independent Schools, recently read Storm Center: The Supreme Court in American Politics by David M. O'Brien and recommends Kepler by John Banville.
Penney Sanders, the director of the state of Kentucky's Office of Education Accountability, is reading Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa P. Estes. She suggests Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol.
Albert Shanker, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, is reading and recommends Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire by David Remnick.
Theodore R. Sizer, the chairman of the Coalition of Essential Schools, recommends Talented Teenagers: The Roots of Success and Failure by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Kevin Rathund, and Samuel Whalen.
Nan Stein, the director of the Sexual Harassment in School Project at the Center for Research on Women at Wellesley College, is reading The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood. She suggests both Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver and Bailey's Cafe by Gloria Naylor.
Phyllis B. Susen, the director of education for the Philadelphia Orchestra, just read Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman and recommends The Unschooled Mind: How Children Think and How Schools Should Teach by Howard Gardner.
Kay Toliver, a mathematics teacher at East Harlem Tech Middle School in New York City, is reading and recommends Assessment in the Mathematics Classroom edited by Norman Webb.
Patrick Welsh, an English teacher at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., recently finished All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy. He suggests The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race in America by Shelby Steele.
Barbara Willer, the public-affairs director of the National
Association for the Education of Young Children, is reading Hotel
Pastis: A Novel of Provence by Peter Mayle. She recommends Bean Trees
and Pigs in Heaven: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver.