Book Review Page 42
Strategic Management of
Human Capital in Education
Improving Instructional Practice and Student Learning in Schools
by Allan R. Odden, Routledge, New York, N.Y., 2011, 240 pp., $42.95 softcover
Getting the right people to deliver on the aspiration of students being ready for college and/or career readiness is a major responsibility of policymakers, higher education professionals and school district leaders.
Allan Odden’s Strategic Management of Human Capital in Education: Improving Instructional Practice and Student Learning in Schools presents concepts, principles and practical recommendations to guide this effort.
People are valued assets in the school system. The talent of the people to whom we entrust our youth should be directed in a well-developed and comprehensive management system aligned with the district’s mission and vision. Reform-minded and reflective leaders will benefit from reading this book, as it challenges the norms that have directed personnel functions in pre-Race To the Top years. Odden effectively presents a personnel management plan that addresses the dual drivers of student performance and teacher effectiveness.
This book can be used as a text for a graduate-level personnel course or a meaningful source for transforming routine human resource functions.
Some public school educators might be skeptical of Odden’s admiring references to not-for-profit agencies and lightning rod leaders (e.g. Teach for America, Michelle Rhee, Joe Klein). A reflective reading, however, will reinforce the idea of teachers and principals as resources to be nurtured and not to be solely judged on student test scores.
Reviewed by Edward J. Sullivan, associate dean for teacher education, Marist College, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.