Urban Education: Books to Read

Explore books about urban education and the charter school movement in this related reading list for a series of presentations on What Works in Urban Education, co-hosted by Tom Bloch and Kansas City’s University Academy.

Urban education | Charter schools and school choice

Urban education

Stand For the Best book jacket

Stand For the Best: What I Learned After Leaving My Job as CEO of H&R Block to Become a Teacher and Founder of an Inner-City Charter School
By Thomas M. Bloch
Twelve years ago, Bloch was CEO of H&R Block, the world's largest tax-preparation firm. After much soul-searching, he resigned to become a math teacher in a Kansas City inner-city school. Bloch tells what it was like struggling to make a difference to his students.

Making Schools Work: Improving Performance and Controlling Costs
By Eric Hanushek
This book is the culmination of extensive discussions among a panel of economists led by Eric Hanushek, who will speak at the Library on January 22, 2009. In this book, economists conclude that economic considerations have been entirely absent from the development of educational policies and that economic reality is sorely needed in discussions of new policies. The panel outlines an improvement plan that emphasizes changing incentives in schools and gathering information about effective approaches.

Lessons to Learn: Voices from the Front Lines of Teach For America
By Molly Ness
A unique inside look at Teach for America. Combines interviews and essays from Teach for America members, alumni, school principals, superintendents, parents and noted education experts.

And Still We Rise: The Trials and Triumphs of Twelve Gifted Inner-City High School Students
By Miles Corwin
Author and journalist Miles Corwin offers a masterfully reported and elegantly written chronicle of an exceptional inner-city high school class, Crenshaw High School in South Central Los Angeles.

One Day, All Children…The Unlikely Triumph of Teach For America and What I Learned Along the Way
By Wendy Kopp
Not just a personal memoir, this work is a blueprint for a new civil rights movement that demands educational access and opportunity for all American children.

The Education Gap: Vouchers and Urban Schools
By William G. Howell, Paul E. Peterson
The voucher debate has been both intense and ideologically polarizing, in good part because so little is known about how voucher programs operate in practice. In this book, William Howell and Paul Peterson report new findings drawn from a comprehensive study on vouchers.

Charter schools and school choice

Our School book jacket

Our School: The Inspiring Story of Two Teachers, One Big Idea, and the School That Beat the Odds
By Joanne Jacobs
Honest, engaging, and inspiring, Our School tells the story of Downtown College Prep, a public charter high school in San Jose that recruits underachieving students and promises to prepare them for four-year colleges and universities.

Expect Miracles: Charter Schools and the Politics of Hope and Despair
By Peter W. Cookson, Jr., and Kristina Berger
This book places the debate concerning the future of public education in a meaningful framework that allows the reader to ask new questions and seek genuine solutions.

Inside Charter Schools: The Paradox of Radical Decentralization
Edited by Bruce Fuller
Inside Charter Schools takes readers into six strikingly different schools, from an evangelical home-schooling charter in California to a back-to-basics charter in a black neighborhood in Lansing, Michigan. With a keen eye for human aspirations and dilemmas, the authors provide incisive analysis of the challenges and problems facing this young movement.

Charters, Vouchers, and Public Education
Edited by Paul E. Peterson and David E. Campbell
This volume brings together current empirical research on two important innovations reshaping American education today: voucher programs and charter schools. With thorough summaries of the existing research and the legal issues facing school choice, this book is key for readers who want to stay current with the burgeoning debates on vouchers and charter schools.

Learning from School Choice
Edited by Paul E. Peterson and Bryan C. Hassel
While educators, parents, and policy makers debate the pros and cons of school choice, it is now possible to learn from choice experiments in public, private, and charter schools across the country. This book examines the evidence from these early school choice programs and looks at the larger implications of choice and competition in education.

Choice with Equity
Edited by Paul T. Hill
The review of the national debate over school choice examines the benefits of choice for children, families, and schools “and shows how properly designed choice programs can prevent the harmful outcomes opponents fear.” Contributing writers include Paul Peterson, Eric Hanushek, Caroline Hoxby, and others.

Book descriptions provided by BookLetters.