For years, school reform efforts targeted either students in regular education or those with special needs, but not both. As a result of the No Child Left Behind legislation (NCLB) and its focus on accountability, administrators established policies that would integrate the needs of students who previously were served under separate frameworks. Using the NCLB structure as a starting point, Stephanie W. Cawthon’s new book Accountability-Based Reforms: The Impact on Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students discusses key assumptions behind accountability reforms. She specifically examines how elements of these reforms affect students who are deaf or hard of hearing, their teachers, and their families.
Cawthon begins by providing a brief introduction to the deaf education context, offering detailed information on student demographics, settings, and academic outcomes for deaf students. She then outlines the evolution of accountability-based education reforms, following with a chapter on content standards, assessment accommodations, accountability as sanctions, and students with disabilities. The remaining chapters in Accountability-Based Reforms closely examine educational professionals, accountability, and students who are deaf or hard of hearing; school choice policies and parents; and deaf education and measures of success. Each chapter presents an overview of an important component of accountability reform, available research, and how it has been implemented in the United States. These chapters also offer recommendations for future action by educators, parents, researchers, and education policymakers.
An Alternate Pragmatism for Going Public interrogates composition’s most prominent responses to contemporary K–16 education reform. By “going public,” teachers, scholars, and administrators rightfully reassert their expertise against corporate-political standards and assessments like the Common Core, Complete College America, and the Collegiate Learning Assessment. However, author Jim Webber shows that composition’s professional imperative for self-defense only partly fulfils the broader aims of “going public,” which include fostering public participation that can assess and potentially affirm the public good of professional judgment.
Drawing on the pragmatic/democratic tradition, Webber envisions an alternate rhetoric of professionalism, one that not only reasserts compositionists’ expertise but also expands opportunities for publics to authorize this expertise. While this public inquiry and engagement may not safeguard professional standing against neoliberal reform, it reorients composition toward an equally important goal, enabling publics to gauge the adequacy of the educational standardization so often advocated by contemporary reform.
An Alternate Pragmatism for Going Public shows how public engagement can serve composition’s efforts related to “going public.”
The challenge of overcoming educational inequality in the United States can sometimes appear overwhelming, and great controversy exists as to whether or not elementary schools are up to the task, whether they can ameliorate existing social inequalities and initiate opportunities for economic and civic flourishing for all children. This book shows what can happen when you rethink schools from the ground up with precisely these goals in mind, approaching educational inequality and its entrenched causes head on, student by student.
Drawing on an in-depth study of real schools on the South Side of Chicago, Elizabeth McGhee Hassrick, Stephen W. Raudenbush, and Lisa Rosen argue that effectively meeting the challenge of educational inequality requires a complete reorganization of institutional structures as well as wholly new norms, values, and practices that are animated by a relentless commitment to student learning. They examine a model that pulls teachers out of their isolated classrooms and places them into collaborative environments where they can share their curricula, teaching methods, and assessments of student progress with a school-based network of peers, parents, and other professionals. Within this structure, teachers, school leaders, social workers, and parents collaborate to ensure that every child receives instruction tailored to his or her developing skills. Cooperating schools share new tools for assessment and instruction and become sites for the training of new teachers. Parents become respected partners, and expert practitioners work with researchers to evaluate their work and refine their models for educational organization and practice. The authors show not only what such a model looks like but the dramatic results it produces for student learning and achievement.
The result is a fresh, deeply informed, and remarkably clear portrait of school reform that directly addresses the real problems of educational inequality.
Ellen Bigler Temple University Press, 1999 Library of Congress LC1099.3.B477 1999 | Dewey Decimal 370.1170973
Growing numbers of working-class Puerto Ricans are migrating from larger mainland metropolitan areas into smaller, "safer" communities in search of a better quality of life for themselves and their families. What they may also encounter in moving to such communities is a discourse of exclusion that associates their differences and their lower socioeconomic class with a lack of effort and an unwillingness to assimilate into mainstream culture. In this ethnographic study of a community in conflict, educator and anthropologist Ellen Bigler examines such discourses as she explores one city's heated dispute that arose over bringing multiculturalism and bilingual education into their lives and their schools' curricula.
The impassioned debate that erupted between long-time white ethnic residents and more recently arrived Puerto Rican citizens in the de-industrialized city the author calls "Arnhem" was initially sparked by one school board member's disparaging comments about Latinos. The conflict led to an investigation by the attempts to implement multicultural reforms in the city's schools. American Conversations follows the ensuing conflict, looks at the history of racial formation in the United States, and considers the specific economic and labor histories of the groups comprising the community in opposition. Including interviews with students, teachers, parents, and community leaders, as well as her own observations of exchanges among them inside and outside the classroom, Bigler's book explores the social positions, diverging constructions of history, and polarized understandings of contemporary racial/ethnic dynamics in Arnhem. Through her retelling of one community's crisis, Bigler illuminates the nature of racial politics in the United States and how both sides in the debate over multicultural education struggle to find a common language.
American Conversations will appeal to anyone invested in education and multiculturalism in the United States as well as those interested in anthropology, sociology, racial and ethnic studies, educational institutions, migration and settlement, the effects of industrial restructuring, and broad issues of community formation and conflict.
Dissecting twenty years of educational politics in our nation’s largest cities, American School Reform offers one of the clearest assessments of school reform as it has played out in our recent history. Joseph P. McDonald and his colleagues evaluate the half-billion-dollar Annenberg Challenge—launched in 1994—alongside other large-scale reform efforts that have taken place in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay Area. They look deeply at what school reform really is, how it works, how it fails, and what differences it can make nonetheless.
McDonald and his colleagues lay out several interrelated ideas in what they call a theory of action space. Frequently education policy gets so ambitious that implementing it becomes a near impossibility. Action space, however, is what takes shape when talented educators, leaders, and reformers guide the social capital of civic leaders and the financial capital of governments, foundations, corporations, and other backers toward true results. Exploring these extraordinary collaborations through their lifespans and their influences on future efforts, the authors provide political hope—that reform efforts can work, and that our schools can be made better.
Aztlán Arizona is a history of the Chicano Movement in Arizona in the 1960s and 1970s. Focusing on community and student activism in Phoenix and Tucson, Darius V. Echeverría ties the Arizona events to the larger Chicano and civil rights movements against the backdrop of broad societal shifts that occurred throughout the country. Arizona’s unique role in the movement came from its (public) schools, which were the primary source of Chicano activism against the inequities in the judicial, social, economic, medical, political, and educational arenas.
The word Aztlán, originally meaning the legendary ancestral home of the Nahua peoples of Mesoamerica, was adopted as a symbol of independence by Chicano/a activists during the movement of the 1960s and 1970s. In an era when poverty, prejudice, and considerable oppositional forces blighted the lives of roughly one-fifth of Arizonans, the author argues that understanding those societal realities is essential to defining the rise and power of the Chicano Movement.
The book illustrates how Mexican American communities fostered a togetherness that ultimately modified larger Arizona society by revamping the educational history of the region. The concluding chapter outlines key Mexican American individuals and organizations that became politically active in order to address Chicano educational concerns. This Chicano unity, reflected in student, parent, and community leadership organizations, helped break barriers, dispel the Mexican American inferiority concept, and create educational change that benefited all Arizonans.
No other scholar has examined the emergence of Chicano Movement politics and its related school reform efforts in Arizona. Echeverría’s thorough research, rich in scope and interpretation, is coupled with detailed and exact endnotes. The book helps readers understand the issues surrounding the Chicano Movement educational reform and ethnic identity. Equally important, the author shows how residual effects of these dynamics are still pertinent today in places such as Tucson.
Fifty years ago, students who were parents were a rarity in college classrooms, but by the beginning of the twenty-first century, over a quarter of all undergraduate students were parents. In Back in School, A. Fiona Pearson explores how these student parents navigate cultural norms and institutional resources, forging pathways as they journey to become better parents and successful students. Back in School examines how policy makers, professors, college administrators, counselors, and social workers provide or deny access to child care, tutoring, financial aid, or other campus- or community-based resources. Pearson further explores how social norms and governmental and organizational policies influence access to these resources and student parents’ experiences on campus and at home.
The creation of a new school system in the Philippines in 1898 and educational reforms in occupied Japan, both with stated goals of democratization, speaks to a singular vision of America as savior, following its politics of violence with benevolent recuperation. The pedagogy of recovery—in which schooling was central and natives were forced to accept empire through education—might have shown how Americans could be good occupiers, but it also created projects of Orientalist racial management: Filipinos had to be educated and civilized, while the Japanese had to be reeducated and “de-civilized.”
In Campaigns of Knowledge, Malini Schueller contrapuntally reads state-sanctioned proclamations, educational agendas, and school textbooks alongside political cartoons, novels, short stories, and films to demonstrate how the U.S. tutelary project was rerouted, appropriated, reinterpreted, and resisted. In doing so, she highlights how schooling was conceived as a process of subjectification, creating particular modes of thought, behaviors, aspirations, and desires that would render the natives docile subjects amenable to American-style colonialism in the Philippines and occupation in Japan.
Nearly one hundred years ago America's foremost philosopher of education, John Dewey, set in motion the progressive education movement—an effort to enhance both child and community by establishing schools that would focus on the needs and interests of children, thereby turning out more productive citizens. To what degree did these ideas actually change the day-to-day lives of school children? What can the progressive education movement teach us about the conditions that facilitate and impede the implementation of new ideas about schools?
Through a focus on actual classroom practices in several school systems in the Chicago area, Zilversmit examines the impact of Dewey's ideas at a national and local level. He looks at the course of progressivism from the 1930s, when its influence was at its height but reform was difficult because of the Depression, through the post-World War II period when the baby boom led to rapid school expansion. The new affluence made reform possible, but the Cold War put progressivism on the defensive.
Zilversmit's goal is to illuminate the role of the ideas of the progressives in determining school practices so we can develop a better understanding of the relationship between education ideas and educational practices. This understanding, argues Zilversmit, will better enable us to determine new directions for educational reform, and to determine how reforms can be successfully implemented.
Almost every day American higher education is making news with a list of problems that includes the incoherent nature of the curriculum, the resistance of the faculty to change, and the influential role of the federal government both through major investments in student aid and intrusive policies. Checklist for Change not only diagnoses these problems, but also provides constructive recommendations for practical change.
Robert Zemsky details the complications that have impeded every credible reform intended to change American higher education. He demythologizes such initiatives as the Morrill Act, the GI Bill, and the Higher Education Act of 1972, shedding new light on their origins and the ways they have shaped higher education in unanticipated and not commonly understood ways. Next, he addresses overly simplistic arguments about the causes of the problems we face and builds a convincing argument that well-intentioned actions have combined to create the current mess for which everyone is to blame.
Using provocative case studies, Zemsky describes the reforms being implemented at a few institutions with the hope that these might serve as harbingers of the kinds of change needed: the University of Minnesota at Rochester’s compact curriculum in the health sciences only, Whittier College’s emphasis on learning outcomes, and the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s coherent overall curriculum.
In conclusion, Zemsky describes the principal changes that must occur not singly but in combination. These include a fundamental recasting of federal financial aid; new mechanisms for better channeling the competition among colleges and universities; recasting the undergraduate curriculum; and a stronger, more collective faculty voice in governance that defines not why, but how the enterprise must change.
In this, the sequel to his critically acclaimed and controversial The End of Homework, John Buell extends his case against homework. Arguing that homework robs children—and parents—of unstructured time for play and intellectual and emotional development, Closing the Book on Homework offers a convincing case for why homework is an outgrowth of broader cultural anxieties about the sanctity of work itself. After the publication of Buell's previous book, many professional educators portrayed reducing homework as a dangerous idea, while at the same time parents and teachers increasingly raised doubts as to its continued usefulness in education. According to John Buell, the importance of play is culturally underappreciated. Not only grade schoolers, but high school students and adult workers deserve time for the kind of leisure that fosters creativity and sustains a life long interest in learning. Homework is assigned for many reasons, many having little to do with learning, including an accepted, if unchallenged, belief that it fosters good work habits for children's futures. As John Buell argues convincingly, homework does more to obstruct the growth of children's minds, and consumes the time of parents and children who may otherwise develop relationships that foster true growth and learning. A unique book that is sure to fuel the growing debate on school reform, Closing the Book on Homework offers a roadmap for learning that will benefit the wellbeing of children, parents, and teachers alike.
This lively and controversial work critiques the conservative efforts in the 1970s and 1980s to undo the educational reforms of the 1960s, to reestablish control over the curriculum, and to change the nature of the debate and the goals of education.
"An outstanding work of educational theory and history."—John Coatsworth, University of Chicago
This timely, persuasive, and hopeful book reexamines John Dewey's idea of schools, specifically community schools, as the best places to grow a democratic society that is based on racial, social, and economic justice. The authors assert that American colleges and universities bear a responsibility for-and would benefit substantially from-working with schools to develop democratic schools and communities.
Dewey's Dream opens with a reappraisal of Dewey's philosophy and an argument for its continued relevance today. The authors-all well-known in education circles-use illustrations from over 20 years of experience working with public schools in the University of Pennsylvania's local ecological community of West Philadelphia, to demonstrate how their ideas can be put into action. By emphasizing problem-solving as the foundation of education, their work has awakened university students to their social responsibilities. And while the project is still young, it demonstrates that Dewey's "Utopian ends" of creating optimally participatory democratic societies can lead to practical, constructive school, higher education and community change, development, and improvement.
School reform and accountability tests have been hotly debated for decades, but the goal of reform and accountability has not. Most agree that the main problem with contemporary education is that it fails to adequately prepare students with the “21st century skills” needed to find jobs and promote national competitiveness in the global economy. Tony Armstrong challenges both the morality and the consequences of pushing this purpose of education. He says it is immoral because it neglects our children’s deepest aspiration—happiness—and treats them as mere cogs in the economic machine. Dr. Armstrong shows how methods of well-being based on happiness research—mindfulness, gratitude, perspective—can greatly improve kids’ chances to feel better in the present and to live happier lives in the future. And the kindergarten-through-college “happiness pedagogy” he presents would also be a superior way to teach those “21st century skills.”
In 2002 the No Child Left Behind Act rocked America's schools with new initiatives for results-based accountability. But years before NCLB was signed, a new movement was already under way by mayors to take control of city schools from school boards and integrate the management of public education with the overall governing of the city. The Education Mayor is a critical look at mayoral control of urban school districts, beginning with Boston's schools in 1992 and examining more than 100 school districts in 40 states.
The authors seek to answer four central questions: • What does school governance look like under mayoral leadership? • How does mayoral control affect school and student performance? • What are the key factors for success or failure of integrated governance? • How does mayoral control effect practical changes in schools and classrooms?
The results of their examination indicate that, although mayoral control of schools may not be appropriate for every district, it can successfully emphasize accountability across the education system, providing more leverage for each school district to strengthen its educational infrastructure and improve student performance. Based on extensive quantitative data as well as case studies, this analytical study provides a balanced look at America's education reform.
As the first multidistrict empirical examination and most comprehensive overall evaluation of mayoral school reform, The Education Mayor is a must-read for academics, policymakers, educational administrators, and civic and political leaders concerned about public education.
These eleven essays are a timely response by an international set of authorities to the deepening interest in research comparing educational systems from countries around the world.
The contributors chronicle the substantial growth and changing focus of comparative education, offer criticism of this type of research, and describe recent developments in education worldwide. Topics include a profile of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement and a summary of the organization’s key findings; the impact of international agencies like the World Bank on the reconstruction of schooling in Africa; the effects of social upheaval on education in Russia; the expansion of secondary education and independent schools in the new Czech Republic; the removal of vestiges of Communism from civic education in Romania; new forms of teacher training in Israel and China; and reforms in the entrance examination process in Japan.
The contributors are scholars at universities in Australia, China, Europe, Israel, and the United States, a Romanian school inspector, and a research pyschologist from the United States.
American graduate education is in disarray. Graduate study in the humanities takes too long and those who succeed face a dismal academic job market. Leonard Cassuto gives practical advice about how faculty can teach and advise students so that they are prepared for the demands of the working worlds they will join, inside and outside the academy.
If there is one thing that describes the trajectory of American education, it is this: more high-stakes testing. In the United States, the debates surrounding this trajectory can be so fierce that it feels like we are in uncharted waters. As Christopher Bjork reminds us in this study, however, we are not the first to make testing so central to education: Japan has been doing it for decades. Drawing on Japan’s experiences with testing, overtesting, and recent reforms to relax educational pressures, he sheds light on the best path forward for US schools.
Bjork asks a variety of important questions related to testing and reform: Does testing overburden students? Does it impede innovation and encourage conformity? Can a system anchored by examination be reshaped to nurture creativity and curiosity? How should any reforms be implemented by teachers? Each chapter explores questions like these with careful attention to the actual effects policies have had on schools in Japan and other Asian settings, and each draws direct parallels to issues that US schools currently face. Offering a wake-up call for American education, Bjork ultimately cautions that the accountability-driven practice of standardized testing might very well exacerbate the precise problems it is trying to solve.
One of the great challenges now facing education reformers in the United States is how to devise a consistent and intelligent framework for instruction that will work across the nation’s notoriously fragmented and politically conflicted school systems. Various programs have tried to do that, but only a few have succeeded. Improvement by Design looks at three different programs, seeking to understand why two of them—America’s Choice and Success for All—worked, and why the third—Accelerated Schools Project—did not.
The authors identify four critical puzzles that the successful programs were able to solve: design, implementation, improvement, and sustainability. Pinpointing the specific solutions that clearly improved instruction, they identify the key elements that all successful reform programs share. Offering urgently needed guidance for state and local school systems as they attempt to respond to future reform proposals, Improvement by Design gets America one step closer to truly successful education systems.
An award-winning professor and an accomplished educator, Jal Mehta and Sarah Fine take us beyond the hype of reform and inside some of America’s most innovative classrooms to show what is working—and what isn’t. In a world where test scores have been king, this boldly humanistic book offers a rich account of what education can be at its best.
Arguing that too many would-be reformers know nothing about the conflicting demands of teaching, Kennedy takes us into the controlled commotion of the classroom, revealing how painstakingly teachers plan their lessons, and how many different ways things go awry. She argues that pedagogical reform proposals that do not acknowledge all of the things teachers need to do are bound to fail. If reformers want students to learn, they must address all of the problems teachers face, not just those that interest them.
Higher education is broken, and we haven’t been able to fix it. Even in the face of great and growing dysfunction, it seems resistant to fundamental change. At this point, can anything be done to save it?
The Instruction Myth argues that yes, higher education can be reformed and reinvigorated, but it will not be an easy process. In fact, it will require universities to abandon their central operating principle, the belief that education revolves around instruction, easily measurable in course syllabi, credits, and enrollments. Acclaimed education scholar John Tagg presents a powerful case that instruction alone is worthless and that universities should instead be centered upon student learning, which is far harder to quantify and standardize. Yet, as he shows, decades of research have indicated how to best promote student learning, but few universities have systematically implemented these suggestions.
This book demonstrates why higher education must undergo radical change if it hopes to survive. More importantly, it offers specific policy suggestions for how universities can break their harmful dependence on the instruction myth. In this extensively researched book, Tagg offers a compelling diagnosis of what’s ailing American higher education and a prescription for how it might still heal itself.
The influence of John Dewey's undeniably pervasive ideas on the course of American education during the last half-century has been celebrated in some quarters and decried in others. But Dewey's writings themselves have not often been analyzed in a sustained way. In John Dewey and the Decline of American Education, Hank Edmondson takes up that task. He begins with an account of the startling authority with which Dewey's fundamental principles have been-and continue to be-received within the U.S. educational establishment. Edmondson then shows how revolutionary these principles are in light of the classical and Christian traditions. Finally, he persuasively demonstrates that Dewey has had an insidious effect on American democracy through the baneful impact his core ideas have had in our nation's classrooms. Few people are pleased with the performance of our public schools. Eschewing polemic in favor of understanding, Edmondson's study of the "patron saint" of those schools sheds much-needed light on both the ideas that bear much responsibility for their decline and the alternative principles that could spur their recovery.
What They're Saying...
"Edmondson’s critique of Dewey is useful, clear, and brief. He rightly sees Rousseau’s primitivism as a major influence, and he rightly distinguishes Dewey from Jefferson, whose reputation and lineage Dewey was eager to claim as his own." —M.D. Aeschliman, The National Review
"A distinguished Southern scholar who has written widely on ethics and literature, including on Flannery O'Connor and J.R.R. Tolkien, Edmondson has bravely trekked through the desert wastes of forty volumes of what must be the most muddled prose to ever attain to such demonic power over a culture. Keeping his bearings by the polestars of Plato, Aristotle, Newman, Chesterton, and others who understand genuine education as Edmondson tracks the beast of educationism to its ultimate lair, where lie the scattered bones of countless students devoured by relativism and nihilism." —New Oxford Review
"Edmondson excels in demonstrating that the problem with public education in this country is not just a matter of bad policy (although there is certainly plenty of that going on); it goes much deeper. It is a matter of faulty philosophy...Edmondson lays out many more detailed suggestions, making this book not only informative but also a very capable handbook for moving educational reform in the right direction." —Townhall.com
"John Dewey believed that education was the key to social change. Yet as Henry T. Edmondson effectively shows in his new book, Dewey could not defy the inherent contradiction of his own philosophy, which has left an indelible mark on American education." —Claremont Review of Books
"While all of his suggestions are meritorious, Edmondson's greatest contribution toward school reform is his overall conclusion....One hopes that Edmondson's book, dedicated to teachers, will spark the long road to renewal." —Crisis
"Today, of course, public education has come under severe criticism and no book that I've read better explains the root cause of our national educational dilemma then Henry Edmondson's John Dewey and the Decline of American Education. —Bob Cheeks, IntellectualConservative.com
"Edmondson doesn't draw the conclusion, but one puts this book down with the conviction that unless control of primary and secondary education is wrested from the U.S. educational establishment, corrective measures are not likely to occur." —Jude P. Dougherty, The Catholic University of America
"If the title of Henry T. Edmondson's book leaves any room for doubt as to his views on John Dewey and [his] educational theories, the book's subtitle should make clear Edmondson's belief: Dewey's lasting influence on the U.S. education system has wrought nothing but diminishing returns, if not all-out catastrophic results." —Bruce Edward WalkerMichigan Education Report
"…a bold indictment of one of the fathers of modern educational thought and practise…Edmondson's critique of Dewey is in the vein of conservative scholars such as Allan Bloom and Diane Ravitch, who have voiced similar concerns regarding the loss of tradition in education. It is clear that Edmondson also believes that education can regain prominence only by abandoning Deweyan progressivism and embracing traditional Western values." —Perdue University Press, Education and Culture
This historical memoir by the widely recognized scholar, Wayne Flynt, chronicles the inner workings of his academic career at Samford and Auburn Universities, as well as his many contributions to the general history of Alabama. Flynt has traveled the state and the South lecturing and teaching both lay and academic groups, calling on his detailed knowledge of both the history and power structures in Alabama to reveal uncomfortable truths wherever he finds them, whether in academic institutions that fall short of their stated missions, in government and industry leaders who seek and hold power by playing to the fears and prejudices of the public, or in religious groups who abandon their original missions and instead seek financial and emotional comfort in lip service only.
In doing so he has not only energized those who think the State of Alabama can and must do better, but also has earned the enmity of those who prosper, profit, and prevaricate for their own selfish ends. Nevertheless, Flynt utilizes a lifetime of learning and reflection to voice the conscience of his community. Keeping the Faith: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives tells the story of his life and his courageous battles against an indifferent or hostile hierarchy with modesty and honesty. In doing so he tells us how Alabama institutions really are manipulated and, more importantly, why we should care.
What is the purpose of higher education, and how should we pursue it? Debates over these issues raged in the late nineteenth century as reformers introduced a new kind of university—one dedicated to free inquiry and the advancement of knowledge. In the first major study of moral education in American universities, Julie Reuben examines the consequences of these debates for modern intellectual life.
Based on extensive research at eight universities—Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Chicago, Stanford, Michigan, and California at Berkeley—Reuben examines the aims of university reformers in the context of nineteenth-century ideas about truth. She argues that these educators tried to apply new scientific standards to moral education, but that their modernization efforts ultimately failed. By exploring the complex interaction between institutional and intellectual change, Reuben enhances our understanding of the modern university, the secularization of intellectual life, and the association of scientific objectivity with value-neutrality.
Making Reform Work is a practical narrative of ideas that begins by describing who is saying what about American higher educationùwho's angry, who's disappointed, and why. Most of the pleas for changing American colleges and universities that originate outside the academy are lamentations on a small number of too often repeated themes. The critique from within the academy focuses on issues principally involving money and the power of the market to change colleges and universities. Sandwiched between these perspectives is a public that still has faith in an enterprise that it really doesn't understand.
Robert Zemsky, one of a select group of scholars who participated in Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings's 2005 Commission on the Future of Higher Education, signed off on the commission's report with reluctance. In Making Reform Work he presents the ideas he believes should have come from that group to forge a practical agenda for change. Zemsky argues that improving higher education will require enlisting faculty leadership, on the one hand, and, on the other, a strategy for changing the higher education system writ large.
Directing his attention from what can't be done to what can be done, Zemsky provides numerous suggestions. These include a renewed effort to help students' performance in high schools and a stronger focus on the science of active learning, not just teaching methods. He concludes by suggesting a series of dislodging eventsùfor example, making a three-year baccalaureate the standard undergraduate degree, congressional rethinking of student aid in the wake of the loan scandal, and a change in the rules governing endowmentsùthat could break the gridlock that today holds higher education reform captive.
Making Reform Work offers three rules for successful college and university transformation: don't vilify, don't play games, and come to the table with a well-thought-out strategy rather than a sharply worded lamentation.
A significant factor for many people deciding where to live is the quality of the local school district, with superior schools creating a price premium for housing. The result is a “race to the top,” as all school districts attempt to improve their performance in order to attract homebuyers. Given the importance of school districts to the daily lives of children and families, it is surprising that their evolution has not received much attention.
In this provocative book, William Fischel argues that the historical development of school districts reflects Americans’ desire to make their communities attractive to outsiders. The result has been a standardized, interchangeable system of education not overly demanding for either students or teachers, one that involved parents and local voters in its governance and finance. Innovative in its focus on bottom-up processes generated by individual behaviors rather than top-down decisions by bureaucrats, Making the Grade provides a new perspective on education reform that emphasizes how public schools form the basis for the localized social capital in American towns and cities.
After a remarkable career in higher education, Sidonie Smith offers Manifesto for the Humanities as a reflective contribution to the current academic conversation over the place of the Humanities in the 21st century. Her focus is on doctoral education and opportunities she sees for its reform.
Grounding this manifesto in background factors contributing to current “crises” in the humanities, Smith advocates for a 21st century doctoral education responsive to the changing ecology of humanistic scholarship and teaching. She elaborates a more expansive conceptualization of coursework and dissertation, a more robust, engaged public humanities, and a more diverse, collaborative, and networked sociality.
A large central government providing numerous public services has long been a hallmark of Swedish society, which is also well-known for its pursuit of equality. Yet in the 1990s, Sweden moved away from this tradition in education, introducing market-oriented reforms that decentralized authority over public schools and encouraged competition between private and public schools. Many wondered if this approach would improve educational quality, or if it might expand inequality that Sweden has fought so hard to hold down. In The Market Comes to Education in Sweden, economists Anders Björklund, Melissa Clark, Per-Anders Edin, Peter Fredriksson, and Alan Krueger measure the impact of Sweden's bold experiment in governing and help answer the questions that societies across the globe have been debating as they try to improve their children's education. The Market Comes to Education in Sweden injects some much-needed objectivity into the heavily politicized debate about the effectiveness of educational reform. While advocates for reform herald the effectiveness of competition in improving outcomes, others suggest that the reforms will grossly increase educational inequality for young people. The authors find that increased competition did help improve students' math and language skills, but only slightly, and with no effect on the performance of foreign-born students and those with low-educated parents. They also find some signs of increasing school segregation and wider inequality in student performance, but nothing near the doomsday scenarios many feared. In fact, the authors note that the relationship between family background and school performance has hardly budged since before the reforms were enacted. The authors conclude by providing valuable recommendations for school reform, such as strengthening school evaluation criteria, which are essential for parents, students, and governments to make competent decisions regarding education. Whether or not the market-oriented reforms to Sweden's educational system succeed will have far reaching implications for other countries considering the same course of action. The Market Comes to Education in Sweden offers firm empirical answers to the questions raised by school reform and brings crucial facts to the debate over the future of schooling in countries across the world.
America's urban public schools are in crisis. Compared with their suburban counterparts, urban students have lower test scores and higher dropout rates. In an attempt to improve educational quality, responsibility for school governance has been handed over to mayors in several U.S. cities. Based on extensive research, including more than eighty in-depth interviews, Mayors and Schools examines whether mayoral control results in higher student achievement and considers the social costs of diminished community involvement. Using a comparative case study approach, Stefanie Chambers researches the impact of mayoral educational control in two big-city school districts, Chicago and Cleveland. On the whole, she finds, student test scores have improved since the takeovers but there are now fewer opportunities for grassroots participation in the educational system by minority community members. Chambers contends that these findings have important implications for democratic theory, arguing that urban schools cannot be successful in the long run without the active participation of local citizens.
Pointing to the disparities between wealthy and impoverished school districts in areas where revenue depends primarily upon local taxes, reformers repeatedly call for the centralization of school funding. Their proposals meet resistance from citizens, elected officials, and school administrators who fear the loss of local autonomy.
Bryan Shelly finds, however, that local autonomy has already been compromised by federal and state governments, which exercise a tremendous amount of control over public education despite their small contribution to a school system's funding. This disproportionate relationship between funding and control allows state and federal officials to pass education policy yet excuses them from supplying adequate funding for new programs. The resulting unfunded and underfunded mandates and regulations, Shelly insists, are the true cause of the loss of community control over public education.
Shelly outlines the effects of the most infamous of underfunded federal mandates, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), and explores why schools implemented it despite its unpopularity and out-of-pocket costs. Shelly's findings hold significant implications for school finance reform, NCLB, and the future of intergovernmental relations.
When courts lifted their school desegregation orders in the 1990s—declaring that black and white students were now "integrated" in America's public schools—it seemed that a window of opportunity would open for Latinos, Asians, and people of other races and ethnicities to influence school reform efforts. However, in most large cities the "multiethnic moment" passed, without leading to greater responsiveness to burgeoning new constituencies. Multiethnic Moments examines school systems in four major U.S. cities—Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco—to uncover the factors that worked for and against ethnically-representative school change. More than a case study, this book is a concentrated effort to come to grips with the multiethnic city as a distinctive setting. It utilizes the politics of education reform to provide theoretically-grounded, empirical scholarship about the broader contemporary politics of race and ethnicity—emphasizing the intersection of interests, ideas, and institutions with the differing political legacies of each of the cities under consideration.
In 1988, the Chicago public school system decentralized, granting parents and communities significant resources and authority to reform their schools in dramatic ways. To track the effects of this bold experiment, the authors of Organizing Schools for Improvement collected a wealth of data on elementary schools in Chicago. Over a seven-year period they identified one hundred elementary schools that had substantially improved—and one hundred that had not. What did the successful schools do to accelerate student learning?
The authors of this illuminating book identify a comprehensive set of practices and conditions that were key factors for improvement, including school leadership, the professional capacity of the faculty and staff, and a student-centered learning climate. In addition, they analyze the impact of social dynamics, including crime, critically examining the inextricable link between schools and their communities. Putting their data onto a more human scale, they also chronicle the stories of two neighboring schools with very different trajectories. The lessons gleaned from this groundbreaking study will be invaluable for anyone involved with urban education.
The idea that American education has been steered by progressivism is accepted as fact by liberals and conservatives alike. Adam Laats shows that this belief is wrong. Calling to center stage conservatives who shaped America’s classrooms, he shows that in the long march of American public education, progressive reform has been a beleaguered dream.
Who holds ultimate authority for the education of America's children—teachers or parents? Although the relationship between home and school has changed dramatically over the decades, William Cutler's fascinating history argues that it has always been a political one, and his book uncovers for the first time how and why the balance of power has shifted over time. Starting with parental dominance in the mid-nineteenth century, Cutler chronicles how schools' growing bureaucratization and professionalization allowed educators to gain increasing control over the schooling and lives of the children they taught. Central to his story is the role of parent-teacher associations, which helped transform an adversarial relationship into a collaborative one. Yet parents have also been controlled by educators through PTAs, leading to the perception that they are "company unions."
Cutler shows how in the 1920s and 1930s schools expanded their responsibility for children's well-being outside the classroom. These efforts sowed the seeds for later conflict as schools came to be held accountable for solving society's problems. Finally, he brings the reader into recent decades, in which a breakdown of trust, racial tension, and "parents' rights" have taken the story full circle, with parents and schools once again at odds.
Cutler's book is an invaluable guide to understanding how parent-teacher cooperation, which is essential for our children's educational success, might be achieved.
Evaluating higher education institutions—particularly the rise of the “global university”—and their rapidly changing role in the global era, Gigi Roggero finds the system in crisis. In his groundbreaking book, The Production of Living Knowledge, Roggero examines the university system as a key site of conflict and transformation within “cognitive capitalism”—a regime in which knowledge has become increasingly central to the production process at large. Based on extensive fieldwork carried out through the activist method of conricerca, or “co-research,” wherein researchers are also subjects, Roggero’s book situates the crisis of the university and the changing composition of its labor force against the backdrop of the global economic crisis.
Combining a discussion of radical experiments in education, new student movements, and autonomist Marxian (or post-operaista) social theory, Roggero produces a distinctly transnational and methodologically innovative critique of the global university from the perspective of what he calls “living knowledge.”
In light of new student struggles in the United States and across the world, this first English-language edition is particularly timely.
American high schools have never been under more pressure to reform: student populations are more diverse than ever, resources are limited, and teachers are expected to teach to high standards for all students. While many reformers look for change at the state or district level, the authors here argue that the most local contexts—schools, departments, and communities—matter the most to how well teachers perform in the classroom and how satisfied they are professionally. Their findings—based on one of the most extensive research projects ever done on secondary teaching—show that departmental cultures play a crucial role in classroom settings and expectations. In the same school, for example, social studies teachers described their students as "apathetic and unwilling to work," while English teachers described the same students as "bright, interesting, and energetic."
With wide-ranging implications for educational practice and policy, this unprecedented look into teacher communities is essential reading for educators, administrators, and all those concerned with U. S. High Schools.
Three trailblazers for education reform in the Sunbelt South.
In southern politics, 1970 marked a watershed. A group of southern governors entered office that year and changed both the way the nation looked at the South and the way the constituents of those states viewed themselves. Reubin Askew in Florida, John West in South Carolina, Jimmy Carter in Georgia, and Albert Brewer in Alabama all represented a new breed of progressive moderate politician that helped demolish Jim Crow segregation and the dual economies, societies, and educational systems notorious to the Sunbelt South. Historian Gordon Harvey explores the political lives and legacies of three of these governors, examining the conditions that led to such a radical change in political leadership, the effects their legislative agendas had on the identity of their states, and the aftermath of their terms in elected office.
A common thread in each governor's agenda was educational reform. Albert Brewer's short term as Alabama governor resulted in a sweeping education package that still stands as the most progressive the state has seen. Reubin Askew, far more outspoken than Brewer, won the Florida gubernatorial election through a campaign that openly promoted desegregation, busing, and tax reform as a means of equal school funding. John West's commitment to a policy of inclusion helped allay fears of both black and white parents and made South Carolina's one of the smoothest transitions to integrated schools.
As members of the first generation of New South governors, Brewer, Askew, and West played the role of trailblazers. Their successful assaults on economic and racial injustice in their states were certainly aided by such landmark events as Brown v. Board of Education, the civil rights movement, and the expansion of voting rights-all of which sounded the death knell for the traditional one-party segregated South. But in this critical detailing of their work for justice, we learn how these reform-minded men made education central to their gubernatorial terms and, in doing so, helped redefine the very character of the place they called home.
In Realizing Educational Rights, Anne Newman examines two educational rights questions that arise at the intersection of political theory, educational policy, and law: What is the place of a right to education in a participatory democracy, and how can we realize this right in the United States? Tracking these questions across both philosophical and pragmatic terrain, she addresses urgent moral and political questions, offering a rare, double-pronged look at educational justice in a democratic society.
Newman argues that an adequate K–12 education is the right of all citizens, as a matter of equality, and emphasizes that this right must be shielded from the sway of partisan and majoritarian policy making far more than it currently is. She then examines how educational rights are realized in our current democratic structure, offering two case studies of leading types of rights-based activism: school finance litigation on the state level and the mobilization of citizens through community-based organizations. Bringing these case studies together with rich philosophical analysis, Realizing Educational Rights advances understanding of the relationships among moral and legal rights, education reform, and democratic politics.
A heated debate is raging over our nation’s public schools and how they should be reformed, with proposals ranging from imposing national standards to replacing public education altogether with a voucher system for private schools. Combining decades of experience in education, the authors propose an innovative approach to solving the problems of our school system and find a middle ground between these extremes.
Reinventing Public Education shows how contracting would radically change the way we operate our schools, while keeping them public and accessible to all, and making them better able to meet standards of achievement and equity. Using public funds, local school boards would select private providers to operate individual schools under formal contracts specifying the type and quality of instruction.
In a hands-on, concrete fashion, the authors provide a thorough explanation of the pros and cons of school contracting and how it would work in practice. They show how contracting would free local school boards from operating schools so they can focus on improving educational policy; how it would allow parents to choose the best school for their children; and, finally, how it would ensure that schools are held accountable and academic standards are met.
While retaining a strong public role in education, contracting enables schools to be more imaginative, adaptable, and suited to the needs of children and families. In presenting an alternative vision for America’s schools, Reinventing Public Education is too important to be ignored.
At one time, universities educated new generations and were a source of social change. Today colleges and universities are less places of public purpose, than agencies of personal advantage. Remaking the American University provides a penetrating analysis of the ways market forces have shaped and distorted the behaviors, purposes, and ultimately the missions of universities and colleges over the past half-century.
The authors describe how a competitive preoccupation with rankings and markets published by the media spawned an admissions arms race that drains institutional resources and energies. Equally revealing are the depictions of the ways faculty distance themselves from their universities with the resulting increase in the number of administrators, which contributes substantially to institutional costs. Other chapters focus on the impact of intercollegiate athletics on educational mission, even among selective institutions; on the unforeseen result of higher education's "outsourcing" a substantial share of the scholarly publication function to for-profit interests; and on the potentially dire consequences of today's zealous investments in e-learning.
A central question extends through this series of explorations: Can universities and colleges today still choose to be places of public purpose? In the answers they provide, both sobering and enlightening, the authors underscore a consistent and powerful lesson-academic institutions cannot ignore the workings of the markets. The challenge ahead is to learn how to better use those markets to achieve public purposes.
Response to Reform: Composition and the Professionalization of Teaching critiques the politics of labor and gender biases inherent in the composition workplace that prevent literacy teachers from attaining professional status and respect. Scrutinizing the relationship between scholarship and teaching, Margaret J. Marshall calls for a reconceptualization of what it means to prepare for and enter the field of composition instruction.
Interrogating the approach the education system takes to certify teachers without actually “professionalizing” their careers, Marshall contends that these programs rely on outdated rhetorics of labor that only widen the gap between teaching and other professional jobs. Such attempts to re-educate literacy teachers exploit and marginalize their work, and thus prevent them from claiming the status of academic professionals. In providing an overview of the history of and language used to literacy instruction, she also points out that while women are overrepresented in composition instruction, they are underrepresented in tenure track and administrative positions.
To correct and combat these inequities, Marshall advocates an alternate alignment of power structures and rhetorical choices. In a wide-ranging survey that sheds new light on the composition workplace as well as higher education at large, Response to Reform: Composition and the Professionalization of Teaching boldly asks us to do away with the reductive language we inherit from the past that characterize teaching and professionalization, as well as our customary responses to public criticism of education. The result is a new articulation of composition as a meritorious profession.
The Same Thing Over and Over
Frederick M. Hess Harvard University Press, 2010 Library of Congress LB2822.82.H492 2010 | Dewey Decimal 371.2070973
Hess argues that in the current disputes over education reform, virtually all vocal parties-- from teachers' unions and ed schools on the left, to the charter school or testing enthusiasts on the right-- accept without questioning the features and structures of schools that were established in the late 19th century. Under this approach, the long-standing assumption is that all schools need to be standardized in their curricula, that all students enroll in uniform schools, and that all schools be organized on the one-teacher-per-age-defined classroom. Provocatively, Hess states that these Left-Right disputes are standing in the way of actual progress and that everything from pedagogical techniques, curricular variability, and the structure of the teaching profession needs to be rethought given 21st century economic realities.
In this book Peterson interprets the history of American schools by placing major educational reformers in the context of their times and relates their thinking to our own era by scrutinizing the often unanticipated consequences of their commitments and ideas. These extraordinary individuals provided the critical ideas and articulated the ideals that motivated many others to search for ways to save the schools from the limitations in which they were embedded: Horace Mann, John Dewey, Martin Luther King, Al Shanker, William Bennett, and James S. Coleman. The drive to centralize was pervasive despite repeatedly expressed reform desire to customize education. Peterson argues that education has become an increasingly labor intensive industry that must reverse direction and become more capital intensive or it will descend in quality. Fortunately, technological change is making it possible radically alter the way in which education services are delivered, providing a new chance to save our schools.
School Choice in Chile examines the dramatic educational decentralization and privatization of schools in Chile. In the early 1980s, the Pinochet regime decentralized schooling, providing vouchers for parental choice of public or private schools. At the same time, the government supposedly gave the administration of schools to local municipalities. Although the reform has merit and is defended by some as a major achievement, Varun Gauri shows the many ways in which it has not worked.
In this process of reform, neither the administration of schools nor school content was really decentralized from the Ministry of Education, nor did students gain equality of educationaly opportunity or better schooling outcomes. These failures of the post-welfare model are due partly to Chile’s political and economic problems of the era, but are also evidence of flaws at its core, at least where education is concerned.
The study presents data for an original survey of 726 households in Greater Santiago that finds more evidence for social and economic stratification among Chilean schools than past analyses have shown. Gauri finds that information about school quality, a sense of entitlement, and the use of specific search techniques increase the odds that a child attends a school with high achievement scores. Gauri offers some insights as he supports the criticism that market forces might exacerbate inequalities without necessarily generating clear gains in academic achievement. In the new system, many parents continued to be ill-informed about differences among schools, nonacademic factors played a major role in school selection, schools appeared to use entrance exams to practice a form of “creaming,” and parental wealth was a strong determinant of whether families were willing and able to take full advantage of choice programs.
These are extremely timely findings, especially in light of the current debate over school choice and vouchers in the United States. Because the United States has little experience in school choice, School Choice in Chile presents a convincing and necessary report on an almost twenty-year-old experience with information from which all nations can learn. Parents, policy analysts in education and social welfare, as well as those studying political science, public policy, and education, will find it extremely useful.
In recent decades, many metropolitan areas in the United States have experienced a decline in the population of urban centers and rapid growth in the suburbs, with new schools being built outside of cities and existing urban schools facing closure. These new schools are increasingly larger and farther from residences; in contrast, urban school facilities are often in closer proximity to homes but are also in dire need of upgrading or modernization. This eye-opening book explores the compelling health and economic rationales for new approaches to school siting, including economic savings to school districts, transportation infrastructure needs, and improved child health. An essential examination of public policy issues associated with school siting, this compiled volume will assist policy makers and help the public understand why it is important for government and school districts to work together on school siting and capital expenditures and how these new outlooks will improve local and regional outcomes.
“Democracy has to be born anew every generation, and education is its midwife,” wrote John Dewey in his classic work The School and Society. In School, Society, and State, Tracy Steffes places that idea at the center of her exploration of the connections between public school reform in the early twentieth century and American political development from 1890 to 1940.
American public schooling, Steffes shows, was not merely another reform project of the Progressive Era, but a central one. She addresses why Americans invested in public education and explains how an array of reformers subtly transformed schooling into a tool of social governance to address the consequences of industrialization and urbanization. By extending the reach of schools, broadening their mandate, and expanding their authority over the well-being of children, the state assumed a defining role in the education—and in the lives—of American families.
In School, Society, and State, Steffes returns the state to the study of the history of education and brings the schools back into our discussion of state power during a pivotal moment in American political development.
Balancing the development of autonomy with that of social interdependence is a crucial aim of education in any society, but nowhere has it been more hotly debated than in Japan, where controversial education reforms over the past twenty years have attempted to reconcile the two goals. In this book, Peter Cave explores these reforms as they have played out at the junior high level, the most intense pressure point in the Japanese system, a time when students prepare for the high school entrance exams that will largely determine their educational trajectories and future livelihoods.
Cave examines the implementation of “relaxed education” reforms that attempted to promote individual autonomy and free thinking in Japanese classrooms. As he shows, however, these policies were eventually transformed by educators and school administrators into curricula and approaches that actually promoted social integration over individuality, an effect opposite to the reforms’ intended purpose. With vivid detail, he offers the voices of teachers, students, and parents to show what happens when national education policies run up against long-held beliefs and practices, and what their complex and conflicted interactions say about the production of self and community in education. The result is a fascinating analysis of a turbulent era in Japanese education that offers lessons for educational practitioners in any country.
What do we really want from schools? Only everything, in all its contradictions. Most of all, we want access and opportunity for all children—but all possible advantages for our own. So argues historian David Labaree in this provocative look at the way “this archetype of dysfunction works so well at what we want it to do even as it evades what we explicitly ask it to do.”
From Disabilities Studies Quarterly
I approached writing a review of Special Education in the 21st Century: Issues of Inclusion and Reform with some caution because every chapter in it supports my personal prejudices regarding inclusion. I was gratified to read arguments in favor of inclusion not only for children with severe disabilities, but also for children with academic gifts. I agreed with the author who discussed technology both critically and optimistically. I found myself nodding in accord when I read that assessment, as it is currently practiced, has little practical value. In addition, the book is written by academics from both the United States and Canada thus bringing an international perspective to the discussion.
Winzer and Mazurek have put together a collection of pieces, each dealing with a different aspect of inclusion, pieces that grapple with challenges the movement has generated. The book consists of twelve chapters divided into three major sections, each section introduced by a well-organized, brief description of its contents. Section One explores the context of reform in special education discussing the philosophical theories, judicial background, and research bases undergirding the movement. Section Two examines technology, assessment, and teacher education, areas that can support or detract from inclusion as it is practiced. Section Three (by far the largest) deals with issues attached to particular populations. These include the children who present the most complex challenges to the inclusion movement - children who are gifted and talented, those who are emotionally and behaviorally disturbed, the Deaf and those with residual hearing, the very young, those with the most severe impairments, and those whose difficulties are compounded by language and cultural differences.
Most chapters begin with a brief and cogent review, including a history of and background to the subject. On the whole, reviews are informative and not overly technical, but they give the reader a sound foundation for what follows. Many chapters also examine the assumptions behind the topic. For instance, the chapter on assessment takes a careful look at the assumptions behind the categorical approach which the authors describe as defensibly logical, but flawed in practice. Each chapter provides insights to the complexities. The chapter on children who are behaviorally disturbed explains how teachers and students become locked into a negative reinforcement cycle. The chapter on technology categorizes educational software into two types, one that assumes passivity in learners (drill and practice) and the other that asks for creative interaction (word processing, desk top publishing, spreadsheets). And the chapter on multicultural education explains that the movement is contentious because it "brings a new vision of a pluralist rather than an assimilated America" (pp. 243-244).
Reviewing a collection of pieces on a topic can become problematic if the pieces have not been carefully selected and/or edited. Readers should expect consistent quality in organization, depth of discussion, relevance, use of research versus anecdotes, and writing. It was in this area that I found myself somewhat more critical of Winzer's and Mazurek's text. Initially, I was confused about the audience for the book. The chapter on teacher training, while fact filled, seemed a call to arms for administrators and policy makers, yet there is little discussion of the underlying assumptions (e.g., the need to recruit minority special education teachers). The first chapter on the inclusion movement is well-suited for graduate students, while the chapter on education for those with behavioral disturbances is useful for practicing teachers.
In addition, chapters are somewhat uneven in their presentation of history and background as opposed to an examination of assumptions and practical issues. The chapter on the Deaf was predominantly historical in its focus. I was disappointed that the authors did not grapple with the more extreme positions taken in the debate. The chapter on inclusion for students with severe disabilities relied heavily on decisions made by the courts, the legal basis for inclusion, and the use of paraprofessionals, while the one on multicultural education was theoretical. Perhaps, the above concern is a non-issue. The book's variety certainly adds interest to its reading, and, of course, each topic should be dealt with on its own.
The target audience may not be students who are already in a teacher certification program, but students at both undergraduate and graduate levels who are interested in disentangling the issues in which the inclusion movement has become snarled. Winzer and Mazurek do an admirable job in presenting an intelligent, well-organized, interesting overview and discussion of inclusion. The book is easy to read, yet it does not simplify complex issues or sacrifice the amusing use of metaphor for brevity. Authors are not afraid to take strong stands, stands based on logical arguments and a thorough review of empirical research. This is a valuable item for any library, whether personal or professional, and it will serve as an excellent foundation for a liberal arts examination of special education issues at the graduate or undergraduate level.
-- Beth Franks, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY
Margret A. Winzer is Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, at the University of Lethbridge, in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.
Kas Mazurek is Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, at the University of Lethbridge, in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.
Drawing on archival as well as rich interview material, John F. Lyons examines the role of Chicago public schoolteachers and their union, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), in shaping the policies and practices of public education in Chicago from 1937 to 1970. From the union's formation in 1937 until the 1960s, the CTU was the largest and most influential teachers' union in the country, operating in the nation's second largest school system. Although all Chicago public schoolteachers were committed to such bread-and-butter demands as higher salaries, many teachers also sought a more rigorous reform of the school system through calls for better working conditions, greater classroom autonomy, more funding for education, and the end of political control of the schools. Using political action, public relations campaigns, and community alliances, the CTU successfully raised members' salaries and benefits, increased school budgets, influenced school curricula, and campaigned for greater equality for women within the Chicago public education system.
Examining teachers' unions and public education from the bottom up, Lyons shows how teachers' unions helped to shape one of the largest public education systems in the nation. Taking into consideration the larger political context, such as World War II, the McCarthy era, and the civil rights movements of the 1960s, this study analyzes how the teachers' attempts to improve their working lives and the quality of the Chicago public school system were constrained by internal divisions over race and gender as well as external disputes between the CTU and the school administration, state and local politicians, and powerful business and civic organizations. Because of the obstacles they faced and the decisions they made, unionized teachers left many problems unresolved, but they effected changes to public education and to local politics that still benefit Chicago teachers and the public today.
Only 50 percent of kids growing up in poverty will earn a high school diploma. Just one in ten will graduate college. Compelled by these troubling statistics, Heather Kirn Lanier joined Teach For America (TFA), a program that thrusts eager but inexperienced college graduates into America’s most impoverished areas to teach, asking them to do whatever is necessary to catch their disadvantaged kids up to the rest of the nation.
With little more than a five-week teacher boot camp and the knowledge that David Simon referred to her future school as “The Terrordome,” the altruistic and naïve Lanier devoted herself to attaining the program’s goals but met obstacles on all fronts. The building itself was in such poor condition that tiles fell from the ceiling at random. Kids from the halls barged into classes all day, disrupting even the most carefully planned educational activities. In the middle of one lesson, a wandering student lit her classroom door on fire. Some colleagues, instantly suspicious of TFA’s intentions, withheld their help and supplies. (“They think you’re trying to ‘save’ the children,” one teacher said.) And although high school students can be by definition resistant, in west Baltimore they threw eggs, slashed tires, and threatened teachers’ lives. Within weeks, Lanier realized that the task she was charged with—achieving quantifiable gains in her students’ learning—would require something close to a miracle.
Superbly written and timely, Teaching in the Terrordome casts an unflinching gaze on one of America’s “dropout factory” high schools. Though Teach For America often touts its most successful teacher stories, in this powerful memoir Lanier illuminates a more common experience of “Teaching For America” with thoughtful complexity, a poet’s eye, and an engaging voice. As hard as Lanier worked to become a competent teacher, she found that in “The Terrordome,” idealism wasn’t enough. To persevere, she had to rely on grit, humility, a little comedy, and a willingness to look failure in the face. As she adjusted to a chaotic school administration, crumbling facilities, burned-out colleagues, and students who perceived their school for the failure it was, she gained perspective on the true state of the crisis TFA sets out to solve. Ultimately, she discovered that contrary to her intentions, survival in the so-called Charm City was a high expectation.
In the wake of the Civil War, higher education in the South was at an impasse, and many historians have tended to view Southern colleges and universities of the era as an educational backwater that resisted reform. As Thinking Confederates demonstrates, however, defeat in fact taught many Southern intellectuals that their institutions had failed to supply antebellum graduates with the skills needed to compete with the North. Thus, in the years following the war, educators who had previously served as Confederate officers led an effort to promote academic reform throughout the region.
Dan Frost shows how, inspired by the idea of progress, these men set about transforming Southern higher education. Recognizing the North’s superiority in industry and technology, they turned their own schools from a classical orientation to a new emphasis on science and engineering. These educators came to define the Southern idea of progress and passed it on to their students, thus helping to create and perpetuate an expectation for the arrival of the New South.
Although they espoused a reverence for the past, these Civil War veterans were not blindly wedded to old ideals but rather fashioned a modern academic vision. Drawing on private correspondence that offers telling insight into the minds of these men, Frost shows that they recognized that the eradication of slavery had been necessary for Southern progress. He also explains how they upheld an idea of a New South that embraced beliefs both in the “Lost Cause” and in national reconciliation.
Challenging the view that the Confederacy’s military leaders were too conservative to entertain any notion of progress, this book offers a fresh and provocative analysis of postbellum Southern thought and higher education.
The Author: Dan R. Frost is an assistant professor of history at Dillard University in New Orleans. He has previously written on the history of higher education in the South in a two-volume work on the LSU College of Engineering.
Tinkering toward Utopia
David B. TYACK Harvard University Press, 1995 Library of Congress LA216.T92 1995 | Dewey Decimal 371.01097309
For over a century, Americans have translated their cultural anxieties and hopes into dramatic demands for educational reform. Although policy talk has sounded a millennial tone, the actual reforms have been gradual and incremental. Tinkering toward Utopia documents the dynamic tension between Americans' faith in education as a panacea and the moderate pace of change in educational practices.
In this book, David Tyack and Larry Cuban explore some basic questions about the nature of educational reform. Why have Americans come to believe that schooling has regressed? Have educational reforms occurred in cycles, and if so, why? Why has it been so difficult to change the basic institutional patterns of schooling? What actually happened when reformers tried to "reinvent" schooling?
Tyack and Cuban argue that the ahistorical nature of most current reform proposals magnifies defects and understates the difficulty of changing the system. Policy talk has alternated between lamentation and overconfidence. The authors suggest that reformers today need to focus on ways to help teachers improve instruction from the inside out instead of decreeing change by remote control, and that reformers must also keep in mind the democratic purposes that guide public education.
From the former president of one of America's leading universities comes a comprehensive analysis of the challenges and opportunities facing higher education in America as we enter the twenty-first century. In A University for the Twenty-first Century, James J. Duderstadt discusses the array of powerful economic, social, and technological forces that are driving the rapid and profound change in American social institutions and universities in particular.
Change has always characterized the university as it has sought to preserve and propagate the intellectual achievements, the cultures, and the values of our civilization. However, the capacity of the university to change, through a process characterized by reflection, reaction, and consensus, simply may not be sufficient to allow the university to control its own destiny. Not only will social and technical change be a challenge to the American university, Duderstadt says, it will be the watchword for the years ahead. And with change will come unprecedented opportunities for those universities with the vision, the wisdom, and the courage to lead in the twenty-first century. The real question raised by this book is not whether higher education will be transformed, but rather how . . . and by whom.
James J. Duderstadt is President Emeritus and University Professor of Science and Engineering, University of Michigan.