Top Education Books of 2012
Our annual list of notable books cover education reform and how schools can counteract the intractable ravages of childhood poverty
Top Education Books of 2011
Teachers unions continued to take a beating in 2011 in the court of public opinion, and the books on our list of top education reads certainly reflect their place on the firing line.
Top Education Books of 2010
Diane Ravitch’s The Death and Life of the Great American School System tops our list of best education books of 2010, that includes a scathing analysis of the achievement gap from a former secretary of education, a look at why boys continue to fall behind girls academically, and an examination of what really motivates us (Hint: It’s not money).
Top Education Books for 2009
Salon journalist Dave Cullen’s Columbine tops our list of notable education books for 2009, chosen by the editors of American School Board Journal. Two other narratives by journalists are included in our list, as are books by a cognitive scientist, a renowned testing and assessment expert, and reform advocates.
Notable Books in Education 2008
The urgent need for high school and urban education reform are central ideas in six of the dozen books selected by the editors of American School Board Journal as 2008’s notable education books. In one, controversial author Charles Murray maintains we send too many students to college -- not too few.
The Top Education Books of 2007
Not much happens in schools these days without an eye toward how it will affect test scores. So it should come as no surprise that testing issues showed up in most of the books published about education over the past year. In fact, almost all of the 2007 Notable Books in Education—the books selected by ASBJ editors as the must-reads of the year—deal, in one way or another, with standardized tests.
The Top Education Books of 2006
Oh, the pain of being privileged. Publishers have taken particular care this past year to produce books that point out the problems of the kids who come from families that are too smart, too rich, or too achievement oriented. They've continued to cover other issues as well, of course, but they've practically wallowed in the problems of being (nearly) perfect. So it's no surprise that this year's collection of Notable Books in Education—chosen, as always, by ASBJ's editors as the must-reads of the year—reflect this preoccupation with privilege.
The Top Education Books of 2005
Book publishers seem to have discovered scandal in the schoolhouse in 2005. They've printed thousands of pages about corruption, discrimination, and outright stupidity in the way schools are run. It's no surprise, then, that some of the best books of 2005 deal with problems that result from clear lapses in ethics (or common sense). Fortunately, most of the 2005 Notable Books in Education—selected, as always, by ASBJ editors as the must-reads of the year—also offer clear lessons for school leaders who want to do the right thing.
The Top Education Books of 2004
The mantra among hip educators used to be, "All children can learn." Now, after years of working toward this ideal, some disheartened souls are asking, "Why can't all children learn?" Many of ASBJ's 2004 Notable Books—what our editors see as the must-reads of the past year—set out to answer this question. But this year's list also includes books about school violence, religion in the classroom, new teachers, and the challenge of educating the overly bright.
The Top Education Books of 2003
Publishers seem to have discovered teenagers in 2003. After several years of cranking out books that focus on preschool (and, sometimes, prenatal) education, they're now acknowledging that little kids grow into big kids worthy of attention. ASBJ's 2003 Notable Books—what our editors see as the must-reads of the past year—reflect this renewed interest in adolescence. But this year's list also includes books about the achievement gap, political correctness, a one-room school, and a little pipe dreaming.
The Top Education Books of 2002
The old pendulum is swinging again. After embracing the need for standards and accountability in schools, we're now deploring the stress created by tests used to hold those schools—and kids—accountable. After worrying about the violence of boys, we're now fussing over the "quiet aggression" of girls. After searching for ways to break free from school district bureaucracies, we're now wondering who will hold charter schools and voucher programs responsible for the kind of education they provide. This year's Notable Books in Education, selected by the editors of ASBJ, reflect how the pendulum is swinging. But these books also reflect some relatively new—and painfully old—problems that confront schools today.