Summer Reading

Published August 1, 1999

School Reform News‘ contributing editors and friends helped compile this list of recommended books for summer reading.


If you read only one book this summer, make it this one:

Andrew J. Coulson, Market Education: The Unknown History, Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, NJ; 470 pages, $54.95 cloth, $24.95 paper (1999).

“While defenders of public schools argue that opening up K-12 education to competition and the profit motive would destroy public education, Andrew J. Coulson comes to just the opposite view after spending five years researching education history as far back as ancient Athens and Sparta, 2,500 years ago. In fact, using the lessons of history, Coulson concludes that public schools do not even serve as a good vehicle for advancing the ideals of public education.”
David W. Kirkpatrick


Clint Bolick, Transformation: The Promise and Politics of Empowerment, Institute for Contemporary Studies Press, Oakland, CA; 200 pages (1999).

John E. Coons and Stephen D. Sugarman, Scholarships for Children, University of California Institute of Governmental Studies Press, Berkeley, CA (1992).

David W. Kirkpatrick, Choice in Schooling: The Case for Tuition Vouchers, Loyola University Press, Chicago, IL; 222 pages (1990).

Paul E. Peterson and Bryan C. Hassel (editors), Learning from School Choice, Brookings Institution Press, Washington, DC; 442 pages (1998).

G. Dirk Mateer and Robert N. Mateer, Education and Freedom, CEBA, Lynchburg, VA (1993).

Daniel McGroarty, Break These Chains, Prima Publishing, Rocklin, CA (1996).

James Skillen (editor), The School_Choice Controversy, The Center for Public Justice, Washington, DC (1993).

Ron Taber, The Case for School Choice, Tribune Press, Olympia, WA (1995).


Bruce Fuller and Richard F. Elmore, Who Chooses? Who Loses? Culture, Institutions, and the Unequal Effects of School Choice, Teachers College Press, New York, NY; 213 pages (1994).

Jeffrey R. Henig, Rethinking School Choice: Limits of the Market Metaphor, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ (1994).


Dale Ballou and Michael Podgursky. Teacher Pay and Teacher Quality, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, Kalamazoo, MI; 185 pages (1997).

“When salaries go up, schools simply pay more for the teachers they already have rather than increase the quality of new hires.”
Myron Lieberman

E.D. Hirsch Jr., The Schools We Need and Why We Don’t Have Them, Doubleday, New York, NY; 317 pages, $24.95 (1996).

Myron Lieberman, Teachers Evaluating Teachers: Peer Review and the New Unionism, Education Policy Institute, Washington, DC (1998).

Myron Lieberman, The Teacher Unions: How the NEA and the AFT Sabotage Reform and Hold Students, Parents, Teachers, and Taxpayers Hostage to Bureaucracy, The Free Press, New York, NY.

Quentin L. Quade, Financing Education: The Struggle between Government Monopoly and Parental Control, Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, NJ; 166 pages (1996).

Sandra Stotsky, Losing Our Language: How Multicultural Classroom Instruction Is Undermining Our Children’s Ability to Read, Write, and Reason, The Free Press, New York, NY; 316 pages, $26.00 (1999).


John Chubb and Terry Moe, Politics, Markets, and America’s Schools, Brookings Institution Press, Washington, DC (1990).

Seymour Fliegel with James MacGuire, Miracle in East Harlem, A Manhattan Institute Book, Times Books, New York, NY (1993).

Frederick M. Hess, Spinning Wheels: The Politics of Urban School Reform, Brookings Institution Press, Washington, DC; 228 pages, $39.95 cloth, $16.95 paper (1999).

“Most reform is not a serious attempt to change teaching and learning in the classroom but is intended to bolster the status of the district policymakers.”
Frederick M. Hess

Diane Ravitch, National Standards in American Education: A Citizen’s Guide, Brookings Institution Press, Washington, DC (1995).

Diane Ravitch (editor), Brookings Papers on Education Policy 1999, Brookings Institution Press, Washington, DC; 300 pages, $19.95 (1999).

Gene Edward Veith Jr. and Andrew Kern, Classical Education–Towards the Revival of American Schooling, Capital Research Center, Washington, DC; 99 pages, $10.00 (1998).


Stephen Arons, Compelling Belief, McGraw_Hill Book Co., New York, NY (1983).

Stephen Arons, Short Route to Chaos: Conscience, Community, and the Reconstitution of American Schooling, University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, Mass.; 213 pages (1997).

William Bentley Ball, Mere Creatures of the State?, Crisis Books, Notre Dame, IN (1994).

Virgil C. Blum S.J., Quest for Religious Freedom II, The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, Milwaukee, WI (1986).

Jo Renée Formicola and Hubert Morken, Everson Revisited: Religion, Education, and Law at the Crossroads, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Lanham, MD; 242 pages (1997).

Gary Goldberg, Church, State and the Constitution, Regnery Gateway, Washington, DC (1984, 1987).

Lloyd P. Jorgenson, The State and the Non-Public School 1825-1925, University of Missouri Press, Columbia, MO; 235 pages (1987).


Elaine K. McEwan, Angry Parents, Failing Schools: What’s Wrong With Public Schools and What You Can Do About It, Harold Shaw Publishers, Wheaton, IL; 297 pages, $12.99 (1998).

Elaine K. McEwan, Ten Traits of Highly Successful Schools: How You Can Know If Your School Is a Good One, Harold Shaw Publishers, Wheaton, IL $12.99 (1999).

Rebecca Rupp, The Complete Home Learning Source Book, Three Rivers Press, New York, NY; 865 pages, $29.95 (1998).

William F. Russell, Family Learning: How to Help Your Children Succeed in School by Learning at Home, First Word Learning Systems, Inc., St. Charles, IL; 364 pages, $26.95 paper (1997).

Guy Strickland, Bad Teachers: The Essential Guide for Concerned Parents, Pocket Books, New York, NY; 307 pages, $14.00 (1998).

” . . . an invaluable resource in the fight against incompetent teachers.”
George A. Clowes


Bryan C. Hassel, The Charter School Challenge: Avoiding the Pitfalls, Fulfilling the Promises, Brookings Institution Press, Washington, DC; 193 pages (1999).

Frederick M. Hess, Robert Maranto, Scott Milliman, and April Gresham (editors), School Choice in the Real World: Lessons from Arizona Charter Schools, Westview Press (1999 – forthcoming).

Massachusetts Department of Education, The Massachusetts Charter School Initiative 1998, Massachusetts Department of Education Charter School Office, Malden, MA; 80 pages, free or from Web site at (1999).


John Chubb and Terry Moe, A Lesson in School Reform from Great Britain, Brookings Institution Press, Washington, DC (1992).

Charles L. Glenn, Choice of Schools in Six Nations, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC (1989).

Charles L. Glenn, Educational Freedom in Eastern Europe, Cato Institute, Washington, DC (1995).