- None of Our Buiness: Why Business Models Don’t Work in Schools by Crystal M. England (Heinemann, 361 Hanover St., Portsmouth, NH 03801; 120 pp., $14 paperback).
A former teacher and middle school principal explains why the school-business model for enhancing education does not and cannot improve public schools. Using examples, she argues that applying such ideas as “front-end management” and “open markets” to the public educational arena with its diverse classrooms is inappropriate and often counterproductive. Issues explored include expectations for learning, marketing techniques, standards, the education “audience,” assessment, nontraditional environments and school choice, and legislation.
- The Ideology of Education: The Commonwealth, the Market, and America’s Schools by Kevin B. Smith (State University of New York Press, 90 State St., Suite 700, Albany, NY 12207; 196 pp., $21.95 paperback).
An examination of both the positives and negatives of market-based education reform. The author, a University of Nebraska political scientist, recognizes the “utilitarian merit” of market models, but finds their ideological effect and their “potential to alter the social-democratic purposes of education” to be seriously underestimated.
- Democracy and Intolerance: Christian School Curricula, School Choice, and Public Policy by Frances R.A. Paterson (Phi Delta Kappa International, Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation, P.O. Box 789, Bloomington, IN 47402; 207 pp., $19.95 list price, $14.95 member price, paperback).
A study of the contents of textbooks published specifically for private Christian schools that makes a connection between the texts’ content and the religious, social, and political agendas of what the author sees as the “religious right.” Written by an assistant professor of educational leadership at Georgia’s Valdosta State College, the book views Christian schools and home schooling as a “growing force in American education,” and suggests that the “emergence of these conservative, religious- political education alternatives mirrors the 19th-century rise of the common school” with its concomitant diminution of the influence of church schools. This new historical development, she argues, may be leading to the “disestablishment” of public schools as we know them.
- School Choice: The Moral Debate ed. by Alan Wolfe (Princeton University Press, 41 William St., Princeton, NJ 08540; 384 pp., $65 hardcover, $24.95 paperback).
A collection of essays by well-known philosophers, historians, legal scholars, and theologians that explores the moral and “normative” side of school choice. These essays, originally commissioned for a conference on school choice at Boston College in 2001, are organized into the following four sections: the relationship of school choice to equality, moral pluralism, institutional ecology, and constitutionality. Each section is made up of three essays followed by a critical response. The contributors include Charles L. Glenn, Amy Gutmann, Sanford Levinson, Stephen Macedo, John T. McGreevy, Martha Minow, Richard J. Mouw, Nancy L. Rosenblum, and Joseph P. Viteritti.
- Voucher Wars: Waging the Legal Battle Over School Choice by Clint Bolick (Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20001; 279 pp., $20 hardcover, $12 paperback).
A legal primer and historical overview of the voucher debate, written by the vice president of the Washington-based Institute for Justice. The book recounts victories for voucher advocates in the state supreme courts of Wisconsin, Ohio, and Arizona and, ultimately, in the Zelman v. Simmons-Harris case before the U.S. Supreme Court last year. The conclusion points to challenges that lie ahead for advocates and ways to confront those challenges.
- A Nation Reformed? American Education 20 Years After A Nation at Risk ed. by David T. Gordon (Harvard Education Press, 8 Story St., 5th Floor, Cambridge, MA 02138; 227 pp., $21.95 paperback).
Essays commemorating the 20th anniversary of the release of the report of the blue-ribbon National Commission on Excellence in Education in 1983. A distinguished group of education practitioners, policymakers, and researchers takes stock of the two decades of school reform that the report, A Nation at Risk, is credited with having launched. Contributors include Richard F. Elmore, Susan H. Fuhrman, Nathan Glazer, Jeff Howard, Robert B. Schwartz, and Maris Vinovskis. The foreword is by Patricia Albjerg Graham.
- Holding Sacred Ground: Essays on Leadership, Courage, and Endurance in Our Schools by Carl D. Glickman (Jossey-Bass, a Wiley Company, 605 Third Ave., New York, NY 10158; 362 pp., $27 hardcover).
A collection of essays culled from 25 years of experience in the field that includes four new essays describing the practices of some of the nation’s most successful and enduring progressive schools. The book offers advice on leadership styles and provides specific examples of curriculum and methods for improving student achievement “while building citizen capabilities.” The author calls for sustaining progressive schools, as they offer, he writes, the “greatest hope for reinvigorating an informed and caring citizenry.”
- There and Back Again: School Shootings as Experienced by School Leaders by Albert H. Fein (Scarecrow Press, 4720 Boston Way, Lanham, MD 20706; 185 pp., $37.95 hardcover, $27.95 paperback).
Written for educators, mental-health workers, policymakers, and researchers, this volume is the product of one-on-one interviews with almost 20 leaders from four schools in which shootings have occurred. It gives insights into some of the ways to lead when a school unexpectedly finds itself a place of violence.
- Developing More Curious Minds by John Barell (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1703 Beauregard St., Alexandria, VA 22311; 250 pp., $25.95 list price, $21.95 member price, paperback).
Attacking the larger societal problem of complacency, the author urges educators to overcome the field’s emphasis on passive learning and challenge students to pose and answer their own questions about life and the world around them. Offers practical strategies for discovery, such as maintaining journals on field trips, using questioning frames and models when reading texts, engaging in problem-based learning, and integrating inquiry into the classroom culture.
- Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level by Dr. Sally Shaywitz (Alfred A. Knopf, 299 Park Ave., New York, NY 10171; 417 pp., $25.95 hardcover).
Written by a neuroscientist, a professor of pediatrics at Yale University who is also a co-director of the Yale Center for the Study of Learning and Attention, this comprehensive, easily digestible, and up-to-date guide to reading problems is aimed at both a general audience and at educators. It debunks common myths, offers lists and checklists, and makes suggestions for dealing with struggling readers. Of particular interest to educators may be the author’s thoughts on how special education is failing many children.
- Temperament in the Classroom: Understanding Individual Differences by Barbara K. Keogh (Paul H. Brookes Publishing, P.O. Box 10624, Baltimore, MD 21285; 200 pp., $24.95 paperback).
A book that seeks to explore the effects of both students’ and teachers’ temperaments on students’ learning from preschool to middle school. It demonstrates how temperament affects children’s behavior, interactions, and achievement and teachers’ perceptions, decisions, and reactions, and shows the importance of what the author calls the “goodness of fit” between a child’s temperament and the school environment. Also explored are the roles temperament plays in the progress of students with learning disabilities, developmental delays, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and methods of assessing temperament, including interviews, observations, and rating scales.