Books

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.” ― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

The Five Best Books I Read This Year and One to Avoid

For the first time since 2011, I didn’t get to my goal of 75 books read in a calendar year. In fact, I didn’t even get close, with 53 being a best case this year. There are a number of reasons why I didn’t read as much as I like to, but I’m going to give most of the blame to Meredith Grey and the months-long funk that led to watching way too...

As My Books Fly Out, My Treasures Remain Shelved: The Elfstones of Shannara

When I was very young, I dreamed that I would one day own a home with a library. It was a strange dream for a kid from a working class family, but I had rather vivid and specific expectations for what my library would one day look like. It would have been filled ceiling to floor with heavy, leather-bound books, hold a reading chair with perfect light, and definitely...

The Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future by Linda Darling-Hammond

Good teachers create little oases for themselves, while others who are less well prepared adopt approaches that are ineffective or even sometimes harmful. Some seek knowledge that is not readily available to them; others batten down the hatches and eventually become impermeable to better ideas. Schools are vulnerable to vendors selling educational snake oils when...

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein

By failing to recognize that we now live with the severe, enduring effects of de jure segregation, we avoid confronting our constitutional obligation to reverse it. If I am right that we continue to have de jure segregation, then desegregation is not just a desirable policy; it is a constitutional as well as a moral obligation that we are required to fulfill. “Let...

White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide

The trigger for white rage, inevitably, is black advancement. It is not the mere presence of black people that is the problem; rather, it is blackness with ambition, with drive, with purpose, with aspirations, and with demands for full and equal citizenship. It is blackness that refuses to accept subjugation, to give up. A formidable array of policy assaults and...

Presidents, Congress and the Public Schools: The Politics of Education Reform by Jack Jennings

Critics charged that Bloomberg was overstating the numbers of teachers who scored low on tests. Michael Di Carlo of the Albert Shanker Institute looked for the sources of this assertion and found that about 30 percent of teachers who graduated from college in 1992– 1993 were in the bottom quartile, and only 40.9 percent were from the top half of those taking SAT/ ACT...