In this post, Tom Ultican reviews two recent books.

One is Mercedes Schneider’s guide to sleuthing through online records and following the money. It is called A Practical Guide to Digital Research: Getting the Facts and Rejecting the Lies.

Schneider is an expert at “following the money,” and she reveals the secrets of her craft in this book. The book grew out of a presentation that Schneider gave at an NPE conference in Indianapolis in collaboration with Darcie Cimarusti and Andrea Gabor. As Tom Ultican explains, the purpose of the session was to teach a seminar in doing the kind of research that these three have mastered. When Mercedes was asked to summarize her presentation, she realized that it would require a book to do it, and this is that book.

So if you want to dig up the tax records of a pseudo-reform organization, here is the place to start.

The other book that Tom reviews is one that I co-write with veteran educator Nancy E. Bailey. Regular readers of this blog know Bailey as a blogger whose views are grounded in long experience and knowledge. She and I discovered that we both had a fascination with the language now used to misrepresent teaching, schools, and education. And from our online conversations came this book called EdSpeak and Doubletalk: A Glossary to Decipher Hypocrisy and Save Public Schooling.

The book is a glossary with a pro-public education attitude. It aims to identify and describe the lingo of corporate education reform and to decipher the many faux groups that are funded by billionaires to advance privatization. Of course, we think it is an invaluable tool for parents and educators who want to stop the billionaires before they get a foothold. It will help you find your way through the vacant and deceptive vocabulary used by faux reformers to grab your public schools.

As Tom points out, the book has another advantage:

Thanks to the authors and the facilities at Teachers College, this is a living book. At the book’s cyber address, there is a link to a 58 page downloadable supplement as well as an updates tab.

In other words, as new organizations, new flimflam, and new jargon emerges, it will be added to the book online and available to arm you with knowledge.