Hot Reads for Hot Days: Your own summer reading list
You made it. The summer is just around the corner and you’re ready to curl up on the couch or on a beach blanket with that pile of reading you never had time to crack into during the year. Here’s your chance to indulge in a little “me time” with some good reads.
Whether you’re looking for a literary escape or a chance to bone up on the greater ed reform issues facing our work, here are some recommendations to add to your own personal summer reading list.
Just for Fun
- Binyavanga Wainaina, One Day I Will Write About This Place – This memoir describes its author’s chaotic but vibrant upbringing in Kenya. I love Wainaina’s ability to simultaneously express his memories in musical, poetic language and explore the complex social and political issues of post-colonial Kenya.
- Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin – Admittedly, I began reading this book because it was the “thing to do” – everyone on the subway was reading it. But I was drawn in by the intricate, interconnected world McCann creates out of an odd cast of characters, all brought together by the even stranger scenario of a stunt-man pitching a tightrope between the World Trade Center towers.
- David Nicholls, One Day – It may not hold a candle to Wendy’s book of the same title, but this charming (if slightly trashy) novel is a total page-turner. The book spans twenty years, with each chapter presenting a snapshot – taking place on the same day – of the lives of Dexter and Emma, a spunky British duo whose paths diverge and meet again.
The Education Reform Landscape
- Steven Brill, Class Warfare, 2011 – Brill follows a number of individuals and organizations in the education movement, focusing on the growth of charter schools and fight for merit pay in the eras of No Child Left Behind and Race To The Top. A fascinating read and comprehensive depiction of the “TFA insurgency.”
- Whitney Tilson, “A Right Denied” (PowerPoint presentation on Whitney Tilson’s blog, 2009) – This presentation is chock-full of statistics about the achievement gap and lays out reform measures to improve and create alternatives to the current system. An interesting skim or deeper read!
- Glazerman et al, “Evaluating Teachers: the Important Role of Value-Added” (Brookings, November 2010) – A white paper on the merits of using value-added as a way to measure student progress and teacher performance, despite some of the methodological challenges they acknowledge.
- Linda Darling-Hammond, “Value-Added Evaluation Hurts Teaching” (EdWeek, March 2012) – Darling-Hammond brings up some of the methodological flaws of value-added, particularly when it is applied to teacher incentives.
- Staiger and Rockoff, Searching for Effective Teachers with Imperfect Information (2010) – The same economists who came out with this year’s ground-breaking study on teacher effectiveness came out with an earlier paper on how schools might use teacher data to guide some pretty dramatic hiring and firing decisions. If you’re in the mood for a wonkier, academic economics paper, this is an interesting read.
- How Do We Transform Our Schools? – Clayton Christensen and Michael B. Horn, the authors of Disrupting Class, explain the “disruptive innovation theory” and how we should change the way we use technology in schools.
- Open Educational Resources Expand Educational Inequalities – concerns from a Harvard researcher about whether technology contributes to achievement gap.
What’s on your summer must-read list?