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January 15, 2016 - What Do These Two Books Have in Common...? An 'Academic' Anecdote


Why does this blog post feature a picture of Common Ground on Common Core alongside the cover of Anthony Cody's The Educator and the Oligarch?

We do have a reason. Read on...

In May of 2015, Professor Craig Sower, Professor of Education Management at Shujitsu University in Japan, reached out to Resounding Books with a problem. He'd been trying unsuccessfully to purchase a copy of Common Ground on Common Core on our website. He was interested in the volume, he explained, as a potential resource for a paper he wanted to write and submit to an education conference. 

Unfortunately, because of our business model, accepting foreign payments is not something Resounding Books is in a position to do. But upon learning that an academic researcher might find the insights in our book valuable, our founder, Kirsten Lombard, volunteered to send Professor Sower at no charge a PDF review copy via email--one that might be even more convenient for him because it would be searchable. In exchange, Sower offered, should he decide to cite the book in any manner, to send Kirsten a copy of the paper.

True to his word, just before Christmas, Sower sent holiday greetings with a gift attached: a draft of the completed conference paper. It had been presented at the October 2015 Asian Conference on Education in Kobe, Japan.

The paper cites five essays from Common Ground on Common Core:

  • R. James Milgram and Ze'ev Wurman: "The Common Core Math Standards"
  • Sandra Stotsky: "An Invalid Validation of Common Core's Standards"
  • Sandras Stotsky: "How Did Charlatans Ever Get to Design National English Language Arts Standards, and Why Would We Listen to Them?
  • Christopher Tienken: "Challenging Core Assumptions: What Does U.S. Performance on International Assessments Really Tell Us?"
  • Shane Vander Hart: "Common Core: The Silent Revolution in Education Policy"

In the paper's introduction, Professor Sower even extends gracious thanks and a powerful recommendation of our work:

Before delving into the Core’s background, the author gratefully acknowledges and highly recommends two books and one organization that readers will find invaluable. An inspection copy of the first book, Common ground on Common Core: Voices from across the political spectrum expose the realities of the Common Core State Standards, was sent to the author in May 2015, by its editor, Kirsten Lombard. It is an anthology of superb essays by education experts covering every facet of the CCSSI. The book is unavailable in Japan and this paper benefitted greatly from her generous help. The second book, The educator and the oligarch: A teacher challenges The Gates Foundation, is by Anthony Cody, a National Board-certified science teacher and self-described social activist from Oakland, California. He is the author of Education Week’s “Living in Dialogue” blog, which featured his public debate with the Gates Foundation starting in 2012, much of it reprinted in his book. Finally, the Pioneer Institute is a privately funded Boston-based think tank devoted to nonpartisan analysis of quality of life issues in Massachusetts. Since 2009, it has led the fight against Common Core’s effort to seize control of K-12 education, publishing a scholarly series of white papers, many of which are cited below.

We're honored to have been of service to an academic researcher, and we're delighted to have our efforts viewed so highly.

And now you know why our book is pictured next to Anthony Cody's...and we agree with Craig Sower, incidentally, that Anthony's book is also well worth reading.

We hope you'll take the time to check out Professor Sower's paper. Entitled "Untried and Untrue: Common Core's Mechanization of Education," it's a great look at some important angles of the education reform debacle.

And there's even more good news...

When Kirsten asked if he might be interested in doing some guest blogging here at Resounding Books, Professor Sower unhesitatingly said yes. Brainstorming on education-related topics is already underway. So, look for more from Craig Sower right here in the not-so-distant future...