Engaging education policy from kindergarten to college
Author Tyler S. Branson argues that education reform initiatives in the twentieth century can be understood in terms of historical shifts in the ideas, interests, and governing arrangements that inform the teaching of writing. Today, policy regimes of “accountability” shape education reform programs such as Common Core in K-12 and Dual Enrollment in postsecondary institutions. This book reopens the conversation between policy makers and writing teachers, empirically describing the field’s institutional/historical relationship to policy and the ways teachers work on a daily basis to carry out policy. Federal and state accountability policy significantly shapes classrooms before teachers even enter them, but Branson argues the classroom is where teachers leverage disciplinary knowledge about writing to bridge, partner with, support, and sometimes resist education policies.
Branson deftly blends policy critique, archival analysis, and participant observation to offer the first scholarly treatment of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Washington Task Force as well as a rare empirical study of a dual enrollment course offered in a high school. This book’s macro-and-micro-level analysis of education policy reveals how writing teachers, researchers, and administrators can strengthen their commitments to successfully teaching their students across all levels of education, while deepening their understanding of the ways education policy helps—and hinders—those commitments.