If you’re like me, you’ve read articles, essays, and books that attempt to explain the root cause of the problems facing the teaching profession. In The Allure of Order, Jal Mehta only needs one paragraph to break it down: “In the longer term, the success of the reformers in the Progressive Era resulted in a shift from one-room schoolhouses to urban school systems, in which schools were expected to follow the directives of a central manager in a district office.
When we realized __________, we did what most large organizations do when they find themselves falling behind the competition: we worked harder. We deployed more resources, we put more people to work, and we strove to create ever-greater efficiency within the existing operating model. Like obnoxious tourists trying to make themselves understood in a foreign country by continuing to speak their native tongue louder and louder we were raising the volume to no good end.
Three books on three seemingly different topics changed how I think about public policy. My reading list this month came together serendipitously. A tweet led me to buy The Conservative Heart, I ordered Team of Teams after listening to a podcast, and purchased The Allure of Order after reading Neerav Kingsland’s blogs about it. At a first glance, these books don’t look like they’d fit together. The Conservative Heart is about communicating a conservative anti-poverty agenda.