Recent Books to Read About Schools! Part II

Here’s book number two.

Trusting Teachers With School Success: What Happens When Teachers Call the Shots, by Kim Farris-Berg, Edward Dirkswager, with Amy Junge. (Rowan and Litlefield)

The authors describe the how-tos at ten schools they view as operating collectively, run by teachers. They take up key practices, one by one and describe different ways these ten have approached teacher autonomy, and why it so vital to do so. Mission Hill is one of the ten—which of course leads me to wish they had referenced In Schools We Trust, a book I wrote about our work.  I wish more was said by the authors about how families and communities fit into these stories.  But it’s a subject rarely (if ever) talked or written about, so I’m hoping for a follow-up.  They have raised the critical issues in ways that everyone should be thinking about, because there’s something absurd about educating for democracy in schools that don’t at least try to practice it!

Of course, it’s important to read books that come from another viewpoint entirely.

Fortunately The Heartland Institute of Chicago sends me a monthly Policy Brief. November’s is entitled: The Parent Trigger, Justification and Design Guidelines, by Joseph Bast and Joy Pullmann.  In an odd way it agrees with the last  sentence of my review above. It makes both an infuriating and informative read into the futurist ideas of the right, about which I had surprisingly little knowledge. I didn’t know—nor dream of!!! We need to all understand what the authors of this report lay out as the future as they see it. Like me they see schools as representing the values of “democracy”  as they interpret it.  The trigger laws, for them, are the way for us to practice what we preach:  the free market itself as a form of democracy.

4 Responses

  1. Thank you Deb! I look forward to looking over these books you’re recommending. They all look so interesting, especially the last one that comes from the “dark side.”

    I just read a sample of Paul Tough’s “How Children Succeed.” I haven’t read the whole book yet (good suggestion for a moratorium on publishing- so much to digest!) but I like the qualities he says we, as educators, need to develop…the “non cognitive” ones which include persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit and self-confidence.

  2. Hello Deb. As always… I enjoy reading you here and in Ed Week!!! I was wondering… is there a place in the literature on public education for a unique and creative voice? I just published my second book called “Fighting for Ms. Rios”. It is technically fiction… but based on 35 years in school leadership here in Southern California. The narrator is actually a very perceptive fourth grade student who is a gifted writer (and activist!). He collects his many stories and observations in his journals and benefits from steady encouragement from Ms. Rios– a remarkable first year teacher who is just struggling to keep her job.

    I have no marketing department or business plan… I’m a full-time school administrator with just enough Saturdays and weekends to lend my voice to the debate about our schools.

    Would you be willing to take a peek at it?– your endorsement (or critique) of my work would be invaluable. The website is:
    http://www.milagrolights.com

    I would gladly forward you a hard copy of the book or Kindle version.

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