School Improvement, Change & Critique

Improving and Changing School

Disrupting Class:
How Disruptive Innovation will Change the Way the World Learns
Clayton Christensen, Michael Horn & Curtis Johnson (2008) - 230 pages

Technology has disrupted nearly every human institution except education. Clayton Christensen, a world expert in distruptive innovation, is uniquely prepared to examine the near future of education and how it will likely change. He forsees distance education to be the distruptive technology, and he predicts that half of all high school courses will be online by 2019. A must read for educators, administrators, and technologists. Probably the most important education book of 2008.

The Flat World and Education:
How America's Commitment to Equity will Determine Our Future
Linda Darling-Hammond (2010) - 240 pages

Linda Darling-Hammond is a professor education at Stanford University and one of most highly respected educational thinkers and researchers in the world. In this book she looks at American education through the lens of global economic and EDUCATION competition. Going deep below the headlines, she analyzes why schools in so many other nations seem to be more successful in teaching all their students than the average American school. This is not a "kick-em while they're down" book. Rather, it provides the clearest path to educational impovement using tried-and-true methods that are working every day around the world. If you are an educator who doesn't know of Darling-Hammond's work, read this book.

The Death and Life of the Great American School System:
How testing and choice are undermining education
Diane Ravitch (2010) - 296 pages

Ravitch is an educational historian who was a strong advocate for the No Child Left Behind program of the past decade. But after researching the program's effects, she has become a highly outspoken critic of the program's reliance on high-stakes testing and its advocacy of pricate/charter schools. She presents a well-researched and clearly presented critique that administrators and parents should hear. She presents details through many sad case studies of education in the 2000's.

 School Critiques

Weapons of Mass Instruction"
A schoolteacher's journey through the dark world of compulsory schooling
John Taylor Gatto (2010) -  240 pages

Dan Pink calls John Taylor Gatto, "Education's most original thinker," and noted business guru Tom Peters says, "I agree with damn near every simi-colon and comma that Mr. Gatto has written." Every educator, administrator, and parent should read this book to learn about some of the REAL history behind our system of compulsory public education. While we may have a lot to be proud of, Gatto's thorough research, engaging real stories, and in-your-face writing shows us a side of education we were never taught in school. It's my view that we need to understand Gatto's ideas as well as the ideas from optimistic or naive authors. This book is not friendly to state departments of education, school boards, teachers unions, professional administrators, and much of what you think you know about school. Read it ... you don't have to agree with it.

Using Technology Wisely: The Keys to Success in School
Harold Wenglinsky (2005) - 112 pages

Harold Wenglinsky, while a researcher at the Educational Testing Service, conducted one of the largest research studies on the effectiveness of technology on mathematics achievement for 4th and 8th graders. The results of his study are sobering, and they should be read and understood by all stakeholders in instructional technology. While no study is perfect, it is significant that his results have not been challenged the outcome of any other large study. In fact, a 2007 study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education tends to support Wenglinsky's most disturbing findings.