Text reads "Five Books for the Back to School Season"

Five Books for the Back to School Season

As students and teachers prepare to return to school, we’re taking a look at the state of education today. The educational system is constantly evolving, shaped not only by pedagogical advancements but by political and social climates. These five books that offer insights into the shifting status of contemporary education, exploring the efforts to make learning environments more inclusive, equal, and personally enriching.

Pawan Dhingra’s Hyper Education: Why Good Schools, Good Grades, and Good Behavior Are Not Enough examines the pressure of high-achievement education and its impact on children and communities, placing a significant emphasis on Asian American immigrant culture. The Wall Street Journal describes Hyper Education as “[a] fascinating look at a growing subculture and an account of the ways in which public schools are failing our most gifted and hard-working ­students and putting the blame on their parents.”

A Federal Right to Education: Fundamental Questions for Our Democracy considers the federal government’s role in education reform. Using historical and legal analysis, the text offers insight into how a federally affirmed right to education would impact the lives and opportunities of every child. Catherine Lhamon, chair of the US Department of Education’s US Commission on Civil Rights, describes the book as “a must read for anyone who cares about policy for kids.” 

In The Homeschool Choice: Parents and the Privatization of Education, Kate Henley Averett investigates the increasing popularity of homeschooling among parents in the United States. Averett provides readers with a rich perspective using interviews with parents, exploring the relationships between children, schools, families, and development. The Homeschool Choice received an Honorable Mention for the Sex & Gender Section Distinguished Book Award, given by the American Sociological Association.

Winner of the Outstanding Scholarly Contribution Award of the American Sociological Association’s Section on Children and Youth, Growing Up Latinx: Coming of Age in A Time of Contested Citizenship establishes schools as an environment through which Latinx children navigate their identity, citizenship, and sense of belonging. Jesica Siham Fernández provides readers with powerful insights drawn from interviews with Latinx children as they explore what it means to “come of age” in the United States.

Disabled Education: A Critical Analysis of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is a thorough evaluation of IDEA, an act first introduced in 1975 to provide equal educational opportunity to all students, regardless of disability. Colker traces the historical evolution of IDEA, identifying its limitations and areas where it has fallen short. According to Choice Reviews, “Colker (Michael E. Moritz College of Law, Ohio State Univ.) presents a detailed examination of the origins and implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The powerful and extremely engaging book is based on extensive archival research that sheds new light on this important subject.”

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