Bob’s Bookshelf

Here’s a selection from the books I’ve read as a complement to my work on the Minneapolis Board of Education. In the future, I’d like to do a more detailed “Book Report” on a few of these titles, some of which have touched me deeply. This list makes a start with a few words about each title. Hope it’s helpful!

Dintersmith, Ted (2018). What School Could Be. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.

A venture capitalist visits 50 states to find out what’s actually working in schools around the country.

Gabor, Andrea (2018). After the Education Wars : How smart schools upend the business of reform. New York & London: The New Press.

A business journalist’s take on various attempts at and models of school change.

Jackson, Yvette (2011). The Pedagogy of Confidence : Inspiring high intellectual performance in urban schools. New York: Teachers College Press.

Argues that “school-dependent students” need exactly the same kinds of services that “advanced learners” get.

Jennings, Wayne B. (2018). School Transformation. North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Wide-ranging views from a former St Paul, Minnesota principal.

Jensen, Derrick (2004). Walking on Water : Reading, writing, and revolution. White River Junction, Vt.: Chelsea Green.

An elegant and at times laugh-aloud narrative about the challenges of teaching literacy by the fascinating author of A Language Older than Words.

Meier, Deborah (1995). The Power of Their Ideas : Lessons for America from a small school in Harlem. Boston: Beacon Press.

The inspiring narrative of Central Park East school.

Meier, Deborah and Emily Gasoi (2017). These Schools Belong to You and Me : Why we can’t afford to abandon our public schools. Boston: Beacon Press.

From the flap: “A challenge to narrow, profit-driven conceptions of school success and an argument for protecting public education to ensure that all students become competent citizens in a vibrant democracy MacArthur award-winning educator, reformer, and author Deborah Meier draws on her fifty-plus years of experience in education to argue that the purpose of universal education is to provide young people with an “apprenticeship for citizenship in a democracy.” Through an intergenerational exchange with her former colleague and fellow educator Emily Gasoi, the coauthors share their experiences working in democratically governed schools and analyze the last several decades of education reform. Reflecting on the trajectory of education and social policies that are leading our country further from rule “of, for, and by the people,” the authors apply their extensive knowledge and years of research to address the question of how public education must change in order to counter the erosion of democratic spirit and practice in schools and in the nation as a whole”–

Russakoff, Dale (2016). The Prize : Who’s in charge of America’s schools? Boston: Mariner Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

“Mark Zuckerberg, Chris Christie, and Cory Booker were ready to reform our failing schools. They got an education.” This one’s almost a thriller – a fascinating glimpse inside a part of the school “Reform” world.

Sahlberg, Pasi (2015). Finnish Lessons 2.0 : What can the world learn from educational change in Finland? New York: Teachers College, Columbia University.

Finland rocketed to the top of many educational charts over the last decade. This explains how that happened.