Whether you are a Curriculum Director by title or by assignment, an aspiring CD, or someone who just loves learning about curriculum design and development this booklist is for you. Every title on the top 5 books for curriculum directors in 2023 should be on your bookshelf this year.
1. The Knowledge Gap by Natalie Wexler
It was only after years within the education reform movement that Natalie Wexler stumbled across a hidden explanation for our country’s frustrating lack of progress when it comes to providing every child with a quality education. The problem wasn’t one of the usual scapegoats: lazy teachers, shoddy facilities, lack of accountability. It was something no one was talking about: the elementary school curriculum’s intense focus on decontextualized reading comprehension “skills” at the expense of actual knowledge. In the tradition of Dale Russakoff’s The Prize and Dana Goldstein’s The Teacher Wars, Wexler brings together history, research, and compelling characters to pull back the curtain on this fundamental flaw in our education system–one that fellow reformers, journalists, and policymakers have long overlooked, and of which the general public, including many parents, remains unaware.
But The Knowledge Gap isn’t just a story of what schools have gotten so wrong–it also follows innovative educators who are in the process of shedding their deeply ingrained habits, and describes the rewards that have come along: students who are not only excited to learn but are also acquiring the knowledge and vocabulary that will enable them to succeed. If we truly want to fix our education system and unlock the potential of our neediest children, we have no choice but to pay attention.
2. The Shame of the Nation, by Jonathan Kozol
Kozol’s works have sought to address educational inequalities in the United States, particularly those created by ethnic and socioeconomic disparity and inequality. This critical book, described as “the most important book of this age,” according to Scholastic, seeks to unify educators and school administrators into the adoption of a system that educates all students equally. From curriculum design to budget problems for schools that serve poorer students, this book seeks to rectify this inequality by providing equal opportunity to students in education – and in instructing teachers on why this is so vitally important.
3. Leading in a Culture of Change, by Michael Fullan
With the education world in a constant state of flux, effective leadership can be challenging on all levels. Successful educators recommend Fullan’s book because it offers five simple principles that every effective leader can implement to deal with complex changes in a chaotic environment. Fullan’s innovative methods for setting and achieving goals in the midst of change will transform teachers into exceptional leaders both inside the classroom and out.
4. Essential Questions, by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins
A must read for curriculum developers, this highly recommended book assists educators in conceiving and implementing essential questions into classroom curriculums in order to maximize learning of important concepts in each academic field. Essential Questions also assists educators in organizing content into units and lesson plans, making it a must-read, particularly for educators new to the field, whether they teach in K-12, college, or academic services centers.
To build and sustain a successful mathematics program, mathematics leaders need to work collaboratively to establish a cohesive vision for teaching and learning and put that vision into action. This book details the necessary steps that mathematics leaders must take to change traditional practices; meet new curricular, instructional, and assessment challenges; and engage students, families, and community members in mathematics education.
There are many high quality books for Curriculum Directors available. Finding the right ones to support the work that you are doing right now can be hard. By starting with these five books, you will be well on your way to success in 2023.