Monthly Archives: July 2015

Monthly book roundup – 2015 June

Books finished in June:
(Warning: reviews are unpolished and quickly written.)

Confessions of a Bad Teacher: The Shocking Truth from the Front Lines of American Public Education (2013). Owens (according to himself) quit a good job in publishing to make a difference as a schoolteacher, but was driven out in less than a year by an impossible (and in the end even criminal) principal. Of course everything in the book is from Owen’s own viewpoint. Anyway, two main points are that too many demands and responsibilities are placed on teachers (individualized teaching; keeping order; contact parents; please principal, etc), and that the culture of blaming the teacher for all wrongs must stop. That sounds sensible enough, but he is way too unnuanced in the discussion of data and measurement, of which there are supposedly no advantages. Paradoxically, one of his own recommendations is even more comprehensive tests, which of course would raise all the same issues. Overall, the book is an easily accessible viewpoint in the school debate, but should hardly be taken as a final word.

Ratings and old books are in the library.