Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What Every High School Student Should Read but Probably Doesn't

Adam C. Zern has a reading recommendation for high school students:

"I love the Back to School section at Books-a-Million.  I enjoy very much checking off the books I've read, the books I haven't, and the books I never want to.  It got me thinking about which books, if I were in charge, I would require all high school students to read.  What book is so important that essentially every high school student should read it during their years of pre-college education?  I could pick an obvious one that is already on most lists, such as: To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm, etc.  However, I would rather pick a book that isn't normally on the list and give a few reasons why.

Every high school student should read A Conflict of Visions by Thomas Sowell.  The brilliance of Sowell's treatise on ideology and why people believe what they do is not that it aligns well with what I believe; rather, the book is more of an investigation of ideological belief rather than an endorsement of a particular ideology.  It's explication of opposing visions, even if it's incomplete (but no treatise on this subject matter could ever be entirely complete), is masterful and enlightening.  Ideology impacts so much of our world that it is invaluable to understand why others, especially those in opposition to you, believe contrary to what you do.  It doesn't necessarily resolve conflicts, but it does manage them and can make them more reasonable. 

If high school students had a better idea of not only why opposing visions exist but that it's appropriate for them to exist, they will, in my opinion, become more capable critical thinkers and less prone to willingly regurgitate what educators, especially at college, spoon-feed them.  Furthermore, I think high school students, if their opinions are already established, will be benefited by using Sowell's insights to reflect upon their own beliefs and wonder why exactly they believe the way they do. 

A Conflict of Visions is a worthy book for any reader, but I think high school students would have a tremendous advantage entering the workplace or higher education having read it.  It provides an excellent foundation for critical thinking, and it discusses some of the most important and influential matters of any society.  But since I'm not in charge of public education, A Conflict of Visions may never become required curriculum, but high school students should read it all the same."

1 comment:

  1. Stephen 0 minutes ago 0 votes

    I love A Conflict of Visions and have recommended it for years for leaders in many capacities. I think the book helps us understand people who think differently than we do, and that is a critical skill for leaders (important for all as well, but especially for leaders). I would settle for the first 40 pages or so being mandatory high school reading, along with enough discussion to make it powerful.

    I also believe Accountability Citizenship would be a good read for high school students. It offers an explicit application of a number of topics that should be on the high school curriculum, like civics, history and critical thinking. If the premise is correct that the information age requires new citizenship skills in order to preserve republican government, Accountability Citizenship should be on the list.

    Accountability Citizenship