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Noteworthy Books

Recent Must-Reads

Recommended reading for district leaders.

No Challenge Left Behind: Transforming American Education through Heart and Soul

Corwin Press, $28.95

Paul D. Houston, former superintendent and executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, describes this book as a collection of his observations about the nature of education leadership learned over the course of his 40-year career. The first section addresses the foundations of good leadership, the second focuses on the job of superintendent in particular, the third describes the philosophies that Houston believes will transform American schools for the better, and the fourth and final section recounts lessons about education and leadership that he has learned from years of travel in the United States and around the world.


Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right

Teachers College Press, $19.95

Believing that public schools should be held accountable but that No Child Left Behind is deeply flawed, Economic Policy Institute research associate Richard Rothstein puts forth a more comprehensive model for accountability in his new book. While Rothstein believes NCLB has narrowed the curriculum, misidentified both failing and successful schools, and established irresponsible expectations for what schools can accomplish, he details a more effective accountability plan based on broader outcomes. These include basic knowledge and skills, critical thinking, an appreciation of the arts, physical and emotional health, and preparation for skilled employment.


How to Change 5000 Schools: A Practical and Positive Approach for Leading Change at Every Level

Harvard Education Press, $26.95

As deputy minister of education for the province of Ontario, Ben Levin oversaw major education reforms in 2003, which overhauled a failing system and improved student outcomes, reduced labor disputes, and raised teacher morale in the process. In his new book, Levin draws on his experience overseeing this and other systemic reform efforts in Canada and the United Kingdom to present a positive, pragmatic and optimistic approach to school improvement applicable to school systems in the United States.


How Leaders Learn: Cultivating Capacities for School Improvement

Teachers College Press, $25.95

In his new book, education professor Gordon A. Donaldson presents a variety of developmental experiences of educators seeking to become school leaders. He describes the evolution of understanding, skill and self-confidence in leaders by using examples of teachers and administrators in leadership development programs and by examining the questions that arise. Central to the book is Donaldson’s philosophy of the three domains of leadership knowledge and action: interpersonal, cognitive and intrapersonal.


Teaching the Digital Generation: No More Cookie-Cutter High Schools

Corwin Press, $36.95

Co-authors Frank S. Kelly, Ted McCain and Ian Jukes describe how traditional high schools have become outdated and unable to prepare students to meet the demands of a constantly changing, technology-driven world. The authors demonstrate how to plan facilities and curricula to meet these needs, through 10 alternative high school models that provide key 21st-century skills in five important areas: instruction and learning, use of technology, noninstructional components, time management and facility design.

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