Thinking Beyond Buildings: “It’s the curriculum, stupid”

Dan Willingham has posted a review of The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley.

I don’t know how good the book is (Willingham says “It’s pretty darn good.”), but I do think the review is worth a read (go ahead, and then come back).

The local school board often seems to operate almost exclusively as a facilities management organization with little attention paid to the details of the education program offered by the district.  Even talk of magnet schools seems to be driven very little by an interest in specific educational programming.

I would like to see the school board take more of a public interest in curriculum and instruction issues, which might involve reading and talking about books like Amanda Ripley’s.

Other books I’d like the board to read and discuss:

  • Why Our Children Can’t Read And What We Can Do About It and/or Early Reading Instruction: What Science Really Tells Us about How to Teach Reading by Diane McGuinness
  • Teaching Reading Is Rocket Science by Louisa Moats
  • When Can You Trust the Experts?: How to Tell Good Science From Bad in Education by Dan Willingham (previously written about on this blog here)
  • Why Don’t Students Like School? by Dan Willingham
  • The Academic Achievement Challenge: What Really Works in the Classroom? by Jeanne S. Chall