Next I devoured, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling, also known as Kelly Kapur (sp?) on the TV sitcom, The Office. I laughed out loud a lot, and constantly read excerpts to my husband, Joey, that I found hilarious.
After some light reading, I caught up on two educational books that I had been meaning to read for the past couple of months. First, Wendy Kopp, the founder of Teacher for America. Her book, A Change to Make History, summarizes what she believes to be the essentials in the battle to shrink our achievement gap in America. She admits that Teach for America is not perfect, but that it does do somethings exceptionally well. In fact, notable Teach for America alum include Michelle Rhee (founder of The New Teacher Project, former Chancellor DC Public Schools, and current founder/CEO of the reform group, StudentsFirst), Kaya Henderson (current Chancellor of the DC Public Schools), and the founders of the Knowledge is Power Programs (KIPP), Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin. Her list goes on... and her suggestions, and the urgency at which we must tackle this atrocity also go on. By the end of the book, one feels propelled to do whatever it takes to improve American schools, and to make sure that all students regardless of their background receive an excellent education.
Finally, I am reading Focus, by Mike Schmoker, his newest book reinforcing "best practices" and the KISS rule. (Keep it simple stupid.) He acknowledges that we are in a new era that requires new skills, but he also remind educators and administrators, and everyone in between, that we need to FOCUS, on what is most important. He warns us to not be distracted by "innovative technology, or the newest program" but instead to FOCUS on "what we teach, how we teach, and authentic literacy". I like where he is going, and how he proposes we get there, but how do I convince my colleagues that what I think "we should teach, how I teach, and what I believe is authentic literacy" is what THEY should be doing, too. Everyone has a different interpretation, and different expectations - how do we make content, instruction, and literacy common without infringing on a teachers freedom?
Share with me what you have been reading!