- The Arts and the Creation of Mind by Elliot W. Eisner (Yale University Press, PO Box 209040, New Haven, CT 06520; 288 pp., $35 hardcover).
A case for the importance of arts education, written by a Stanford University scholar who is both a professor of education and a professor of art. He argues that the arts are “critically important for developing complex aspects of the mind,” and disagrees with the notion that courses in the arts are “intellectually undemanding” or purely emotional endeavors. The book describes how both arts appreciation and the creative process itself develop ways of thinking. Many approaches to arts education are explored, as is assessment of performance in the arts. Mr. Eisner, a former president of the American Educational Research Association, also examines ideas of meaning, qualitative forms of intelligence, diversity, and representation.
- Flying Colors: The Story of a Remarkable Group of Artists and the Transcendent Power of Art by Tim Lefens (Beacon Press, 25 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108; 216 pp., $25 hardcover).
An abstract painter relates the methods he created to teach art to students with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and spina bifida at New Jersey’s Matheney School and Hospital. His quest, he says, was to teach students to use art “to transcend the limitations and betrayals of their bodies.” And while his students’ first paintings were accomplished by moving wheelchairs over paint and canvas covered with plastic, he developed new techniques, including lasers fitted to the student painters’ foreheads, that transformed their endeavors. The art community’s reaction to these student artists’ works is also discussed. Despite early skepticism from professionals who saw them only as “disabled artists,” the students managed to attain an artist’s fondest dream: having their work displayed in a Manhattan gallery—at a sold-out exhibition.
- All Girls: Single-Sex Education and Why It Matters by Karen Stabiner (Riverhead Books, a division of Penguin Putnam Inc., 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014; 320 pp., $25.95 hardcover).
An insider’s view of single-sex education today, written by a journalist who is also a parent. The author spent a year observing two single-sex schools: the Marlborough School (an elite prep school in Los Angeles) and the Young Women’s Leadership School in New York City’s East Harlem. In an effort to understand the schools’ cultures, the author attended classes, sporting events, and assemblies, shadowed students, and talked to parents, teachers, and administrators. She also, with parental permission, attended conferences and even studied student records. Her resulting narrative examines how single-sex schools help girls define themselves and how we might make co-educational schools better places for girls to learn. The book investigates from many angles of vision the single-sex vs. coeducation debate.
- The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College
by Jacques Steinberg (Viking Press, Penguin Putnam Inc., 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014; 292 pp., $25.95 hardcover).
An inside view of how a selective college—in this case Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.—chooses who gets in and who does not. Written by a New York Times education reporter who spent eight months of 1999 and 2000 as an observer inside the admissions office, the book follows admissions officer Ralph Figueroa as he visits high schools and recruits applicants. The stories of several high school seniors applying to Wesleyan are also told. Because the author had the full cooperation of applicants and admissions-staff members, he is able to report on every detail of the process. Major topics discussed include affirmative action, standardized testing, test- prep courses, annual college rankings by national magazines, competition, and the rising cost of a college education.
- Freedom: A History of Us by Joy Hakim (Oxford University Press, 198 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016; 416 pp., $40 hardcover).
A award-winning writer of history books for children, Joy Hakim has produced a new text written for everyone, from young people to adults. In this volume, which includes a foreword written by President Bush and first lady Laura Bush, Ms. Hakim presents U.S. history “viewed through the inspiring fight to uphold the ideal of freedom.” The book includes 400 color and black-and-white illustrations and is the inspiration for an upcoming PBS series of the same name that airs in January.
- Whose America? Culture Wars in the Public Schools by Jonathan Zimmerman (Harvard University Press, 79 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138; 307 pp., $29.95 hardcover).
This work of history chronicles the “culture wars” in 20th-century American schools. Written by the director of the history education program at New York University, it compares the struggles over what and whom to teach about, with those concerning moral and religious issues in public schools and, especially, in textbooks. The two debates have “very different origins and implications,” writes the author. While the study of American history has become more inclusive, he says, with many groups having sought and gained inclusion in our historical narrative, religious and moral debates have created even greater polarization over issues such as prayer in schools, the theory of evolution, and sex education. The result has been that the different sides are now more entrenched in their views and unwilling to compromise. The book calls for better training and stricter requirements for history teachers, and urges that schools “teach the questions,” so that students can engage in dialogue and debate surrounding these issues.
- The Principal Challenge: Leading and Managing Schools in an Era of Accountability ed. by Marc S. Tucker and Judy B. Codding (Jossey-Bass, a Wiley Company, 605 Third Ave., New York, NY 10158; 426 pp., $29.95 hardcover).
Based on two years of research supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Broad Foundation, and the New Schools Venture Fund and co-edited by the president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, this collection investigates the reasons for the current crisis in school leadership. Contributors examine the failure of graduate schools of education to offer the appropriate training for school principals, reveal what it means to be a principal in today’s schools, examine the ways business and the military train and support their leaders, and relate how other countries are responding to this crisis. In their attempt to find “realistic solutions,” the contributors take a close look at executive- development programs found in business schools, and suggest creating similar programs to train school principals. They offer an imaginative proposal for a new kind of institution that would train school principals to be “turnaround artists.” The focus would be on building close collaboration between these new training institutions and school districts, through both face-to-face instruction and Web-based delivery of resources.
- The 21st Century Principal: Current Issues in Leadership and Policy ed. by Milli Pierce and Deborah L. Stapleton (Harvard Education Press, 8 Story St., 5th Floor, Cambridge, MA 02138; 112 pp., $19.95 paperback).
Contributors to this volume on issues faced by today’s public school principals include Chester E. Finn Jr., Marcelo M. Suárez- Orozco, and Belinda Williams. They address such questions as: How will school leaders respond to changes in immigration, technology, and social policy? What effect will changing standards and demands for accountability have on their jobs? What impact will privatization and choice have on public schools? And what challenges does the black-white achievement gap present? Questions meant to facilitate discussion within schools and communities conclude each chapter.
- The Daily Disciplines of Leadership: How to Improve Student Achievement, Staff Motivation, and Personal Organization by Douglas B. Reeves (Jossey-Bass, a Wiley Company, 605 Third Ave., New York, NY 10158; 240 pp., $27 hardcover).
Described as a “comprehensive and down-to-earth manual” that will serve as the “go to” resource for school leaders, this book by a champion of academic standards, performance assessment, and accountability considers the basic purposes of leadership, presents four leadership archetypes, and makes practical recommendations for action..
- The Secret Life of the Dyslexic Child by Robert Frank (Rodale Press, 400 S. 10th St., Emmaus, PA 18098; 288 pp., $23.95 hardcover).
A book that provides, among other advice, 20 exercises that will help readers feel some of the frustration that dyslexic children feel. The author, an educational psychologist and family therapist who is himself dyslexic, attempts to take parents and educators inside the dyslexic child’s mind so that they can better understand what it is like to think like a dyslexic, and what it feels like to be different. This, the author suggests, may help them offer better support for children coping with this learning disability.
- Bridging the Achievement Gap ed. by John E. Chubb and Tom Loveless (Brookings Institution Press, 1775 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20036; 268 pp., $18.95 paperback, $46.95 hardcover).
A collection of essays by scholars who claim evidence that the achievement gap between groups of students in our society can be bridged. It includes discussion of class size, comprehensive reform models such as the Success for All reading-achievement program, and innovative forms of schooling such as the Knowledge Is Power Program, or KIPP. Contributors include Alan B. Krueger, Diane M. Whitmore, Robert E. Slavin, Nancy A. Madden, and Alex Molnar.
- Education Deform: Bright People Sometimes Say Stupid Things About Education by James M. Kauffman (Scarecrow Press, 4720 Boston Way, Lanham, MD 20706; 307 pp., $29.95 paperback).
An examination of current rhetoric about education, by a University of Virginia professor of education, that suggests much of what is said today results more in “deform” than reform. Too much of reform rhetoric, he argues, focuses on ideology rather than on instruction.
- Two Parts Textbook, One Part Love: A Recipe for Successful Teaching by LouAnne Johnson (iUniverse Inc., 5220 S. 16th St., Suite. 200, Lincoln, NE 68512; 379 pp., $29.95 paperback).
Republished this year as an Authors Guild Backinprint.com Edition, this down-to-earth classic by the teacher who wrote Dangerous Minds gives her compatriots, both new teachers and veterans, advice and information that might help them survive and flourish in the toughest classrooms. Written with humor to spare, the book is also a practical compendium of “how to make life easier” tips and tricks.
More information is available from the publisher or your local library or bookstore. These and other books can be ordered by calling (888) 887-3200, or at www.edweek.org/products/bookshelf.htm.
A version of this article appeared in the November 20, 2002 edition of Education Week