Respect for Teachers: The Rhetoric Gap and How Research on Schools is Laying the Ground for New Business Models in Education (Michael A Peter Series Critical Issues in Education and Politics (RLE))

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9781475802078: Respect for Teachers: The Rhetoric Gap and How Research on Schools is Laying the Ground for New Business Models in Education (Michael A Peter Series Critical Issues in Education and Politics (RLE))

For over 30 years we have been in the midst of a paradox. Following a questionable logic that sees education as a means to economic ends, efforts to reform education have focused on keeping the US from slipping in international economic competition. Relying on testing as a standard, in the end we may have decreased our human potential and become less competitive.

Our system has gotten worse at its core, in its philosophical tenets and in its ultimate effects, by placing unwonted pressure on our youth and in stifling their creativity. While this goes back decades, Respect for Teachers takes its title from a phrase --perhaps a codeword-- in President's 2011 State of the Union address and sits down to consider its implications. Connecting attacks on teachers, unions and schools and the misrepresentation of research to the promotion of new economic models in education, it suggests that the Obama administration may be, without quite realizing it, setting the stage for rapid privatization of the public system. As this endangers the egalitarian basis of democracy, it also reminds us that schooling is big business – many trillions of dollars world-wide. Joseph Schumpeter once said, “No bourgeoisie ever disliked war profits.” Respect operates under the premise that no bourgeoisie ever disliked the spoils of school reform, either.

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About the Author:

Brian Ford has taught from UPenn to Phnom Penh, stopping off in between in Albania, Botswana and, for 13 intriguing years as a New York City Public School Teacher, the Bronx. The last experience led him, after completing graduate work in International Political Economy at Columbia –and not quite finishing a PhD in Politics--, to investigate the connections between contemporary attempts to restructure public education in the US and the global system's ongoing institutionalization in accordance with neoliberal precepts. He currently splits time between New Delhi and New York, living with his wife and 6 year old daughter, writing about how educational policy is articulated, skewed and debated, studying the Indian education system and daily moving forward with another ongoing project on how to teach Math to pre-schoolers, as well as 5, 6 and, very soon, 7 year olds.

Review:

Brian Ford counters the negative and destructive, ideological attack on teachers and schools by constructing an alternative perspective [which has] powerful implications for creating a dynamic and productive educational system. (Henry M. Levin, director, National Center for the Study for Privatization in Education and William Heard Kilpatrick Professor of economics and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University)

Brian Ford’s brilliant new book does two important things: It debunks the Neoliberal attack on public schools and provides an avenue for rethinking education based on trust and the needs of children. Respect for Teachers is compelling and completely convincing. At a time when our national education conversation is confused and confusing, this new book is sorely needed. Don’t wait — start reading Respect for Teachers now if you want to reclaim the democratic vision of education. (Peter W. Cookson)

A new voice, authoritative and convincing, informing us that when our leaders demean the competency of our educators and ignore their remarkable achievements in the face of the rapid expansion of childhood poverty, they both diminish a noble profession and harm the public system of education that is part of the ongoing American experiment in democracy. Highly provocative and recommended. (David Berliner, Regents' Professor Emeritus, Arizona State University)

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