Education reform and policy making have captured the attention of the American public. In a highly politicized agenda, federal and state improvement plans have become touted national education platforms with stiff penalties for schools and teachers who don't 'make the grade'. A system of controls is in place that has revolutionized how we organize, present, and evaluate education. Test-driven curriculum reflects new standards of what will be taught and assessed at each grade level. Through all of this, classroom teachers have been identified as the reason for our failing schools and the focus for improved school performance. Between 1998 and 2006, Penny Ann Armstrong interviewed over 300 classroom teachers and administrators in Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Texas about the effects of the national reform initiatives in their schools. This book tells their stories. Their narratives are candid, often impassioned, and many times troubling. They describe what is really happening as they work to accommodate federal reform policy. These teachers describe reform efforts that may be well-intentioned but have resulted in serious and far-reaching consequences. They feel they have been robbed of their professional authority in their classrooms and they feel many of the changes they are required to assimilate are limiting their opportunities to teach and compromising learning for students. This book brings the reader into the classroom to see from the teachers' perspective what is really happening in our schools today and why the current reform efforts cannot succeed.
Penny Ann Armstrong has been an educator for 25 years. She has been a school administrator in Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Texas.
Part 1 Part I: The History and Evolution of Education Reform Chapter 2 Education Reform: Classroom Teachers on the Outside Looking In Chapter 3 A Brief History of Education Reform Part 4 Part II: The Impact of Reform Policies on Teaching and Learning Chapter 5 Teaching for Improved Student Achievement Chapter 6 State Tests and Their Power in the Classroom Part 7 Part III: Changes in Teachers' Perceptions About Their Profession and Their Responsibilities Chapter 8 Teachers and Their Students Chapter 9 Defining, Training, and Keeping High-Quality Teachers Chapter 10 The Wall of Silence Part 11 Part IV: The Future of Reform: Promises That Can Be Kept Chapter 12 Classroom Teachers and the Future of Reform