Gifts for Education Wonks and Others

Because I believe that books are a great gift for those interested in public education, I’ve compiled a list of suggestions, with the caveat that I do not have time to read most of the hundred-plus education-related books that come to me during the year.

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The Adventures of Sampleman

And now, we bring you this week’s episode of “The Adventures of Sampleman.”

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Opting Out

What to make of recent events in Colorado, where thousands of high school seniors refused to take a state-mandated standardized test? Is this a harbinger of things to come, an American version of “Arab Spring,” or was it an isolated incident with slight significance beyond the Rocky Mountain State?

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What Happens in Great Schools

If you had been traveling with me the past few weeks, you would have seen three examples of outstanding education: My 3-year-old granddaughter’s pre-school, a 12th grade science class in a public high school in Philadelphia, and a journalism class at Palo Alto High School in California.

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Jesse James, Meet Baker Mitchell

Of course you’ve heard of the notorious criminal Jesse James, but you may not be familiar with Baker Mitchell. He’s a businessman who has figured out a completely legal way to extract millions of dollars from North Carolina in payment for his public charter schools.

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Why We Have Schools

What do schools produce? And who are the workers in schools?

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How Much Do We Test?

The results of our survey are beginning to come in. In hopes of encouraging more superintendents and school boards to provide data, I offer this early report, with the caveat that it is based on information from a handful of the nation’s 14,000 school districts.

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