My favorite book about education, from 8 education leaders

As the academic year is underway, educators of any tenure may feel uncertain of how to face the challenges that lie ahead.

But for any leader who needs a reminder of the importance of education, Timothy Smith and Nicole Chung may have a book recommendation for you.

Smith and Chung asked education experts to name the best book they had read about teaching and learning, and then rounded up their responses for the Washington Post. The topics ranged from classroom equity, to technological innovations, to stories about education reform.

Read our favorites below.

The Innovator's Dilemma by Clayton Christensen

Although Christiansen's book is not explicitly about education, it offers important lessons on the transformative power of technology, explains Anant Agarwal, a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The lessons may resonate for leaders hoping to bring technological innovation to higher education, says Agarwal.

The Education of Blacks in the South by James Anderson

Marybeth Gasman, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and expert on historically black colleges, credits Anderson's book for inspiring her to become a professor. Anderson offers a nuanced history of early black education and examines the activism of African-Americans after the Civil War, Gasman explains.

Radical by Michelle Rhee

Radical chronicles how Michelle Rhee changed the educational landscape of the United States through school reform, says Joel Klein, the chancellor of the New York City Department of Education from 2002 and 2010.

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Democracy and Education by John Dewey and "On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings" by William James

Michael Roth, president of Wesleyan University, explains that his two choices reflect the two-fold purpose of education. Dewey's book argues that a liberal education is essential for democracy, while James' lecture reveals how education can help students see the world from someone else's perspective, Roth says.

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

Grant's book about social-emotional learning exemplifies one of the D.C. public education system's major priorities—ensuring that every student succeeds, no matter their background, notes Antwan Wilson, the chancellor of D.C.'s public schools (DCPS).

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Troublemakers by Carla Shalaby

Troublemakers explains that while the concept of public school is rooted in freedom, schools themselves aren't always prepared to support the freedom of their students, says Ashley Lamb-Sinclair, the 2016 Kentucky teacher of the year.

Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire

Freire's work challenges educators to question practices and attitudes that uphold societal oppression, says Kathy Hollowell-Makle, DCPS' 2013 teacher of the year.

For educators fighting to create equitable classrooms, Pedagogy can offer guidance and encouragement, says Hallowell-Makle.

Emile, or On Education by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Jonathan Kozol, a recipient of the National Book Award, considers Emile his favorite book on childhood education. Rousseau's belief that children should not be judged as good or bad is refreshing advice for today's over-pressured teachers, says Kozol (Smith/Chung, Washington Post, 10/3).

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