Summer Reading: 7 education books to take to the beach

Charles Saylan, a non-profit leader, and Daniel Blumstein, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department chair and Institute of the Environment and Sustainablity professor at UCLA, see our failure to address environmental issues as partly a failure to teach about the environment in school. Maybe. But it's also possible that people just disagree about environmentalism and its costs and benefits and that the special interests clashing around environmental policy is unavoidable. In any event, getting students more engaged with the environment (and simply getting students outside more) would no doubt pay a lot of dividends. Unfortunately, Saylan and Blumstein offer just one vision of environmental education — eating less meat, for instance — so their recommendations are more likely to run into a political buzzsaw than penetrate the nation's classrooms. Still, although the book meanders, they're asking the right questions, and our schools are doing too little to connect students with the natural world. It's easy to blame that on today's focus on standardized testing when in fact it's a much more longstanding problem.

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