Outstanding Academic Titles 2020: Education

This week's sneak peek from our 2020 Outstanding Academic Titles list: award-winning titles about Education in the US.

This week’s sneak peek from our 2020 Outstanding Academic Titles list: award-winning titles about Education in the US.

1. Science in the city: culturally relevant STEM education
Brown, Bryan Anthony. Harvard Education Press, 2019

Connecting broader notions underpinning race and culture to many fundamental principles of learning, this timely and compelling book addresses persistent inequities across science education. The stories and narratives that comprise this volume are both relatable and enduring in their messages as readers are invited to consider the many deep-rooted challenges within a multicultural society. For example, a discussion of the “black tax” (income shared with struggling family members) reminds readers that access—which remains a significant hurdle to success for many students within the science classroom—does not often lead to equity. As such, this book argues for a fundamental shift in teaching practices that better meet students where they are to promote authentic learning opportunities. Specific recommendations for the reform of science teaching pedagogy include utilizing technology in culturally specific ways to connect students to science. Grounded in research and conveyed through a compelling series of concise chapters, the practice-ready approaches outlined here will inspire and motivate teachers and researchers to engage in a more accessible and socially just way of teaching science to everyone.
View on Amazon

2. Beyond education: radical studying for another world
Meyerhoff, Eli. Minnesota, 2019

Book cover

What is the purpose of higher education? Who is best served by the traditional university and college system? More important, who is not being well served? Meyerhoff (Duke Univ.) raises these fundamental questions in Beyond Education, bringing his background in political science to bear on his analysis. Anyone who is sensitized to the highly politicized sociocultural issues at the forefront of any current consideration for US institutions (e.g., the #MeToo movement, Black Lives Matter, and immigration policies such as DACA, among others) will be quick to understand the author’s perspective. What sets this book apart from other more polemic volumes (and there are dozens on both sides of the political spectrum) is the clarity of Meyerhoff’s writing, his use of individual narratives to make his points, and his references to similarly accessible works. View on Amazon

3. Badges and incidents: a transdisciplinary history of the right to education in America
Kaufman, Michael J. Cambridge, 2020

Kaufman (Loyola Univ.) argues that although the Founders conceptualized a nation “in which knowledge is diffused through important associations,” the lingering “‘badges and incidents’ of slavery” have yielded striking educational disparities that deprive African Americans of many opportunities (p. 2). Since the abolition of slavery in the US, not even the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education (1954) has resolved this imbalance. The perpetuation of this ongoing struggle for quality and equitable public education, Kaufman argues, stems from the failures in our justice system to uphold protections for disadvantaged communities. To begin to bridge this gap entails first acknowledging the racial basis of these disparities, as Justice Sonia Sotomayor has noted that “what makes race matter is understanding the simple truth that race does matter” (p. 102). Kaufman’s extensive quotations from philosophical and historical sources are this slim volume’s central strength. These foundational groundings in educational theory and philosophy qualify Badges and Incidents as a sine qua non for graduate classes in US educational history..
View on Amazon

4. Paradoxes of the public school: historical and contemporary foundations of American public education
Schul, James E. Information Age, 2019

Schul (Winona State Univ.) effectively provides an opportunity for policy makers, professors, school administrators, teacher educators, experienced teachers, and prospective teachers to engage in thoughtful dialogue about the complexity of American public schools and how best to improve them. This comprehensive study is not a typical chronological history of public education. Rather, Schul identifies significant moments in the evolution of American public schools and aligns them chronologically across 14 thematic chapters focused on contemporary issues—religion, democracy, teachers, race, reform, pedagogy, efficiency, freedom, segregation, social class, exceptionality, gender, technology, accountability—central to understanding the complexities of American public education. The author relays fictional accounts in each chapter that focus on the larger contemporary themes at hand and explore today’s school environment. Each chapter concludes with questions for readers to reflect on that will enrich their understanding of the content discussed.
View on Amazon

5Hyper education: why good schools, good grades, and good behavior are not enough
Dhingra, Pawan. New York University, 2020

Children today are presented with a plethora of after-school, Saturday, and summer activities to enhance their education, including after-school learning centers, mathematics competitions, science camps, and spelling bees. In an increasingly competitive environment where children, parents, and even teachers seek to “get ahead” of others, Dhingra (Amherst College) presents a compelling and cogent examination of this phenomenon and analyzes whether or not it is a positive development. Organized into three parts that examine good schools, good grades, and good behavior, the book investigates some of the motivating factors causing this educational arms race and why the pressures it places on children, families, and schools are not necessarily a good thing. Based on over 100 interviews Dhingra conducted with children, parents, principals, teachers, tutors, and other stakeholders, the research underlying the book’s thesis is rigorous, well reasoned, and reliable.
View on Amazon

Sign up to receive our weekly 2020 Outstanding Academic Titles snippet list in your inbox.

Read more about Choice Outstanding Academic Titles.