Educating aspiring teachers for the workforce is a crucial consideration for states and nations. But in an age of consumer choice, decentralization, and deregulation in education, as in other areas, policymakers sometimes demonstrate surprisingly little awareness of the impacts of such popular reforms on those doing the actual teaching, and especially on their preparation for the profession. This raises a number of questions: To what extent has the push for privatization and marketization of education shaped how we recruit and train the next generation of teachers? What are they taught and why? How do such policies impact the dispositions of colleges of education and alternative teacher certification organizations? The growing tide of educational reforms that seek to inject competition into education schools’ “monopoly” on teacher training find ideological roots in Friedmanism and the push for deregulation in the 1980s. Readers of this text will develop a more robust understanding of the nature of teacher preparation – broadly conceived – as well as an in-depth understanding of how these policies, practices, and ideology have taken root in colleges of education and alternative certification programs domestically and internationally. Becoming a Teacher in an Age of Reform: Global Lessons for Teacher Preparation and the Teaching Profession is Co-Edited by Christopher A. Lubienski and T. Jameson Brewer.
Since the turn of the century, teacher preparation has increasingly aligned itself with “best practices,” standards, and accountability, matching approaches that became mandatory in P-12 schooling nationwide. Technical skills instruction and methods have become the sina qua non of teacher preparation and accreditation of programs. Teacher candidates learn to be unquestioning servants of a school system rather than educators who govern the meaning of schooling.
It is likely that this is not an accident, but a cultural construct built defensively because of how schooling serves as a vital lever either to preserve the status quo or to transform society. Teachers in charge of schooling would inevitably choose to focus on the holistic benefit of their charges. This, however, does not serve the conservative status quo for whom students are a mass to be distributed into their appropriate economic and political slots for evaluation, valuation, and subsequent profit analysis.
For teacher candidates, this has meant the excision of social foundations of education and any further explorations of the philosophy of education or the history of schooling in their curricula. This book seeks to smuggle a file into the neo-essentialist political prison of teacher preparation. While one small file cannot offer to free every prisoner, it may allow a few to escape simply by learning that they are being incarcerated, and how.
Each year Forbes bestows a handful of “edu-preneurs” with the 30 Under 30 Award in Education (Under30), designating those individuals as the best hope for revolutionizing and reforming education. Boasting low recipient rates, Forbeselevates the manufactured expertise of awardees and the importance of their organizations and ventures. Further, Forbesemploys the language and norms of neoliberalism to articulate a pro-market vision of education reform. This social network analytic (SNA) study seeks to untangle the edu-preneur network to critically examine the connections between awardees, their organizations, judges, and the larger education reform network. To this end, we utilized descriptive analyses and SNA. We find evidence that Under30 serves as a mechanism for promoting social closure and ideological homophily within education reform networks. Further, we consider the policy implications that such awards may have on public discourse and policy creation.
This paper explores the politicization of school reopenings in two swing states against the backdrop of rising COVID cases, public health warnings, and the hyper-partisan weaponization of “choice” rhetoric by parents to send children back into buildings exposing teachers and staff who are at higher risk for serious disease or death. Rhetoric surrounding parental choice partnered with economic considerations placed significant pressure on school boards to navigate their reopening plans from a partisan frame of reference. We explore, compare, and contrast the landscape of school reopening plans in Wisconsin and Georgia, which both served as pivotal states in the contentious 2020 Presidential election. Within each state we consider two districts that are situated in either a more traditionally conservative or liberal environment. Our guiding questions are: (1) How is the conversation about school reopening reflective of politicized and polarized approaches to COVID? and, (2) How are school reopening discussions different in politically liberal and conservative communities?
For about a hundred years, high-stakes standardized tests have been used to sort and track students in the United States. The use of tests was spurred early on by the racist eugenics movement to affirm its belief that one race was intellectually superior to another (Sacks, 1999). This article examines the growth of standardized testing, the ideological foundations of accountability, the legal challenges and landscape that has fostered testing, and explores the dangers and ethics of high-stakes accountability in American education.
Educational reforms have become the new policy mainstay in educational discourse and policy. Without doubt, “fixing” teachers and increasing student test scores have both been a large component of much of the reform rhetoric. Moreover, calls for implementing merit pay schemes have uniquely combined reformer’s efforts to “fix” teachers while increasing test scores as teacher pay is linked directly to student academic achievement. This article traces the historical use of merit pay schemes, situates the current push for merit pay within the neoliberal education reform movement, while highlighting the overt and covert implications of injecting competition into teacher salaries. In addition to creating an environment that lends itself to narrowed pedagogical approaches and teaching to tests (and even cheating on them), this article suggests that merit pay schemes that require teachers to compete with one another may likely undermines positive collaboration.
This article seeks to characterize Norwegian kindergarten pedagogy as specifically Rousseauian in nature and approach. As a reflective article, my experience of pedagogical methods of play employed at an outdoor kindergarten in Norway are analyzed and compared to my experience of American schooling. Norwegian kindergartens that employ such Rousseauian practices reinforce Norway’s dedication to fostering an egalitarian society beginning with the youngest learners..
Educating for social and racial justice in such a community comes with unique challenges, including navigating the intersection of both privileged and non-privileged identities, which is further exacerbated by continued promotion of the myth of meritocracy. Operating on the foundational belief that the individual is responsible for their own successes or failures – rather than seeing success or failure as not only a collective process but a collective result – reinforces a belief in the Protestant work ethic (Weber, 1930/1989), self-reliance, competition, skepticism and fear of the “other,” and the shunning of efforts that seek to elevate collectivism and justice rather than promote unregulated markets (Apple, 2001; Author-a, 2015; Ball, 2003, 2007, 2012; Giroux, 2004; Glass, 2008; Harvey, 2005; Peters, 2011; Weiner, 2011). Because our students are, mostly, relatively less affluent than their White peers who live in more suburban settings, their struggles and work to achieve academic and economic success reveal for them a myriad of hardships that they must overcome in both academic and non-academic settings. And despite, or because of, their successful navigating around those barriers, many students adopt the belief that it was their hard work alone – their work ethic – that produced laudable results. As a result, conversations about systemic inequalities that are exacerbated through intersectional realities not experienced by our students (e.g., non-White, non-Protestant Christian, non-Republican) are often met with animosity while sharing support for the ideology that success is available to anyone who simply works hard enough.
This chapter explores the viability of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding as a means to assist with student loan debt. This chapter first explores how neoliberal policies have encouraged the growth of student loan debt. Next, crowdsourcing and crowdfunding are outlined, including descriptions of various organizations that utilize crowdfunding methods to ease student loan debt. Third, a crowdfunding model is explored using data and demands from an active online community, the results of which indicate that although large amounts of money could be raised, after 15 years, under this model, the amount of money raised would not rival the amount of combined debt that the group currently owns. Conclusions are centered on the inability of these organizations to make deep impacts on total student loan debt and discuss national level efforts that policymakers can engage it to solve this issue.
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