Library Books

The following books are available at Portales Public Library:

Tested: One American school struggles to make the grade by Linda Perlstein.

In this eye-opening examination of the effects of No Child Left Behind, Perlstein writes about her year-long immersion in Tyler Heights Elementary School.

This Maryland school was once deemed a chaotic failure. In 2000 when Tina McKnight became principal, only 17 percent of students performed satisfactorily on the state’s reading exam.

By 2005, when Perlstein joined the school, McKnight’s reforms have begun to have an effect, and test scores are at an all time high. But just what do the scores actually represent? Perlstein investigates the changes in teaching and curriculum brought about because of the emphasis on testing, and questions what the tests actually measures.

Her five years spent covering education for the “Washington Post” serve her well, as she brings in the political background of the law and its ramifications for testing companies and large publishing houses.

Perlstein’s careful exploration of public education in America will enlighten readers on the effects of policy on the day-to-day reality of public schools.

Everything I needed to know about being a girl I learned from Judy Blume by Jennifer O’Connell.

In this new book, more than 20 female authors write about how Blume’s books helped them navigate the rocky paths of adolescence. For women growing up in the 1970s and ‘80s, this book will likely be a walk down memory lane, recalling such favorites as “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” “Blubber,” “Deenie,” and of course, “Forever,” which became one of the most challenged and banned books in the United States.
Blume tackled such topics as divorce, religion, and moving, but mostly her books were about growing up. These authors’ essays are funny and poignant — an entertaining tribute to an important children’s author.

But even more, they speak of the value of books and reading to young people — not just in an academic sense, but to their emotional and mental well-being.

Letters to a Young Teacher by Jonathan Kozol.

Of the many voices speaking on the plight of American education, perhaps none speaks so eloquently or insightfully than Jonathan Kozol. His latest book is a compilation of letters to an enthusiastic young woman embarking on her career as a first grade teacher.

Kozol is no stranger to the classroom — much of his writing is informed by his many years teaching and working in inner city schools.

Totally committed to both teaching and public education, Kozol addresses such issues as high stakes testing, incompetent bureaucracies, and the ubiquitous No Child Left Behind act. His wisdom and commonsense will benefit both experienced and new teachers.