New in Print

March 19, 2003 8 min read
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  • Because Writing Matters: Improving Student Writing in Our Schools by the National Writing Project and Carl Nagin (Jossey-Bass, a Wiley Company, 605 Third Ave., New York, NY 10158; 160 pp., $24.95 hardcover).

In a book sponsored by the National Writing Project, a nationwide professional-development program for teachers begun in 1974 at the University of California, Berkeley, journalist Carl Nagin uses interviews, case studies, and extensive research to explain the process of teaching students not only how to write, but also to appreciate what writing can do. Includes step-by-step recommendations for developing a writing program for each grade.

  • California Dreaming: Reforming Mathematics Education by Suzanne M. Wilson (Yale University Press, PO Box 209040, New Haven, CT 06520; 304 pp., $29.95 hardcover).

Recounts the difficult, 20-year history of efforts to reform mathematics education in California (and, by extension, in the rest of the nation). The author, a Michigan State University professor of education, examines what she sees as the “myths” used to explain these reforms’ failure and gives her own views on what the actual reasons for failures are, including too strong an emphasis on ideology In the final chapter, she proposes how real mathematics reform, relying on multiple perspectives, might be successful.

  • Contentious Curricula: Afrocentrism and Creationism in American Public Schools by Amy J. Binder (Princeton University Press, 41 William St., Princeton, NJ 08540; 320 pp., $35 hardcover).

Compares the challenges to public school curricula in the 1980s and 1990s from proponents of both creationism and Afrocentrism and finds that they have much in common. The author, a University of Southern California sociologist, writes that both Afrocentrists and creationists “made similar arguments about oppression and their children’s well-being, both faced skepticism from educators about their factual claims, and both mounted their challenges through bureaucratic channels.” A short history of each movement is provided, and the experiences of seven school districts are examined.

  • Science Literacy for the 21st Century ed. by Stephanie Pace Marshall, Judith A. Scheppler, & Michael J. Palmisano (Prometheus Books, 59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14224; 321 pp., $29 hardcover).

A collection of essays written by scientists and science educators that suggests ways for bettering science education in the United States and improving scientific literacy worldwide. This volume commemorates Nobel Laureate Leon Lederman’s 80th birthday and his role “as one of the nation’s foremost scientists and a vigorous proponent of better science education in our public schools.” Contributors include, in addition to Mr. Lederman, Howard Gardner, Sheila Tobias, Lawrence M. Krauss, and the late Stephen Jay Gould.

  • Teaching Youth Media: A Critical Guide to Literacy, Video Production, and Social Change by Steven Goodman (Teachers College Press, 1234 Amsterdam Ave., New York, N.Y. 10027; 129 pp., $18.95 paperback).

Written by the founder and executive director of the Educational Video Center in New York City, this book draws on the author’s 20 years of experience working with urban teenagers. He examines both the problems and the benefits of using media education to help inner-city students learn critical-thinking and literacy skills. Case studies of students and teachers engaged in making video documentaries are included.

  • The Science Education of American Girls: A Historical Perspective by Kim Tolley (RoutledgeFalmer, 29 W. 35th St., New York, NY 10001, 28 pp., $24.95 paperback).

A comparative study of the teaching of science to boys and girls in early America, this book argues that, proportionally, by the mid-19th century, more adolescent girls than boys studied the sciences, including physics, astronomy, and chemistry, in schools and academies. The author, an independent writer and scholar, relies on many primary sources to demonstrate that men and women shared equally in discouraging girls’ study of advanced science and math, so that by the 1930s, boys far outnumbered girls in these classes.

  • Transforming Music Education by Estelle R. Jorgensen (Indiana University Press, 601 N. Morton St., Bloomington, IN 47404; 188 pp., $19.95 paperback).

Written by the editor of the journal Philosophy of Music Education Review, who is a professor of music at Indiana University, this text is addressed to current and future music teachers and those who train them. It calls for radical change in the nature and objectives of music education. The author describes her book as answering the questions “why music education should be transformed, what is meant by transformation, and how educational and musical transformation function.”


  • I Choose to Stay: A Black Teacher Refuses to Desert the Inner City by Salome Thomas-El with Cecil Murphey (Dafina Books, Kensington Publishing Corp., 850 Third Ave., New York, NY 10022; 320 pp., $23 hardcover).

The author, now a school principal in Philadelphia, relates his experiences as a teacher in the city’s Roberts Vaux Middle School, where he established a chess program for disadvantaged students, served as their mentor and role model, and ultimately led them to victory in several major chess championships, including the U.S. Open.

  • Increasing Faculty Diversity: The Occupational Choices of High-Achieving Minority Students by Stephen Cole and Elinor Barber (Harvard University Press, 79 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138; 368 pp., $45 hardcover).

This study was commissioned by the presidents of the Ivy League universities to learn how minority students make their occupational choices and, specifically, to understand their feelings about pursuing careers in teaching. Meant to guide policy decisions aimed at increasing the number of minority students entering the professoriate, the study found that minority students are as likely as their white peers to want to follow this career path, but fewer of them apply to or have the credentials for admission to colleges. The book’s authors write that “minority students perform worse than white students at every level in the educational system,” making the minority pipeline to and through higher education a topic of great urgency. One result of this systemwide lack of preparation, they say, is that very few minority students “find themselves in a position where they even have the choice to become college professors.” The book’s final chapter offers policy recommendations.

  • Laugh and Learn: 95 Ways to Use Humor for More Effective Teaching and Training by Doni Tamblyn (Amacom, a division of American Management Association, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019; 256 pp., $25 hardcover).

Written by a consultant to Fortune 500 businesses who was also at one time a professional stand-up comedienne, this book offers teachers tips on how to foster intrinsic motivation in learners through the strategic use of humor. It includes exercises, games, tips, and ideas that can be used to increase students’ engagement with their schoolwork.

  • Stories of Beginning Teachers: First-Year Challenges and Beyond ed. by Alysia D. Roehrig, Michael Pressley, & Denise A. Talotta (University of Notre Dame Press, 310 Flanner Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556; 245 pp., $30 cloth, $15 paperback).

A collection that explores many of the issues, challenges, problems, and successes first- and second-year teachers often confront, and then illustrates these with the stories and experiences of first-year teachers in the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education.

  • The Jossey-Bass Reader on Teaching by The Jossey-Bass Education Series (Jossey-Bass, a Wiley Company, 605 Third Ave., New York, NY 10158; 270 pp., $25 paperback).

A collection of excerpts from books, essays, and articles focusing on three main topics: the meaning of teaching, the experience of teaching, and the art of teaching skills. The 19 chapters consist of selections from the work of well-known teachers, writers, and scholars in education, including Lisa Delpit, Paulo Freire, Maxine Greene, Herbert Kohl, and Seymour B. Sarason.

  • What Keeps Teachers Going? by Sonia Nieto (Teachers College Press, 1234 Amsterdam Ave., New York, NY 10027; 160 pp., $18.95 paperback).

A veteran teacher-educator looks to experienced classroom teachers for guidance about the profession, especially about how teachers can remain enthusiastic about what they do. The author’s collaborators are teachers in urban schools, who often must work with students who face linguistic and cultural challenges. Ms. Nieto ends her book with an urgent plea to establish new national priorities for public education.

  • Who Controls Teachers’ Work? Power and Accountability in America’s Schools by Richard M. Ingersoll (Harvard University Press, 79 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138; 345 pp., $39.95 hardcover).

An examination of schools as workplaces and teachers as workers. Framed by in-depth interviews with teachers and administrators from four Philadelphia schools, the book’s focus is on issues of authority and control and how they affect teachers’ effectiveness. The author, a former secondary school teacher who now teaches at the University of Pennsylvania, asks three main sets of questions in his study: (1) Are schools centralized or decentralized? (2) Do schools have the means to control the work of teachers and hold them accountable? (3) Does school centralization or decentralization really matter?

  • Who’s Teaching Your Children? Why the Teacher Crisis Is Worse Than You Think and What Can Be Done About It by Vivian Troen & Katherine C. Boles (Yale University Press, PO Box 209040, New Haven, CT 06520; 222 pp., $24.95 hardcover).

Explores the history of teaching in America to discover how public schools have arrived at their current “crisis point” and how a national teacher shortage developed. The authors, both veteran teachers, teacher- educators, and education consultants, argue that current problems have come about because teachers are recruited from a pool of unqualified candidates, then are inadequately prepared by teacher education programs, and are not provided with adequate mentoring, support, or incentives. They propose as a solution the “Millennium School,” where a reformed career ladder would reward excellence, assigned “chief instructors” would supervise teams of teachers, collaboration among teachers would be promoted, and better professional development would be provided.

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


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