Thursday, December 27, 2012

Becoming and Being a Teacher - Series list - Peter Lang Verlagsgruppe

Becoming and Being a Teacher - Series list - Peter Lang Verlagsgruppe

Book synopsis

This volume unmasks tensions among economic, political, and educational goals in the context of becoming and being a teacher. Chapters frame becoming and being a teacher within commitments to democracy and political literacy while confronting neoliberal assumptions about American society, universal public education, and education reform. A wide variety of teachers and scholars discuss teacher preparation and teaching through evidence-based examinations of complex problems and solutions facing teachers, education policymakers, the public, and students. Teaching is embraced as a political act, and critical subjectivity is endorsed as a rejection of objectivity and traditional paradigms of teaching designed to create a compliant teacher workforce. The book honors and celebrates voice and collective voice, both of which speak to and from the inexorable fact of becoming and being a teacher as one and the same.


Contents: P. L. Thomas: Introduction - Thomas Robertine: Continuous Becoming: Fieldwork as a Mutually Transformative Experience - Ana L. Cruz: Becoming a Teacher: Fostering a Democratically Conscious Citizenry Through Critical Pedagogy - Katherine Crawford-Garrett: Teach for America, Urban Reform, and the New Taylorism in Public Education - Lisa William-White: Becoming a Teacher in an Era of Curricular Standardization and Reductionist Learning Outcomes: A Poetic Interpretation - Anthony Cody: Learning to Teach: Values in Action - Brad J. Porfilio/Lauren Hoffman: The Corporate Takeover of Teacher Education: Exposing and Challenging NCTQ's Neoliberal Agenda - John L. Hoben: Right-Thinking People: Becoming a Teacher Educator in the Age of Austerity - John M. Elmore: Neoliberalism and Teacher Preparation: Systematic Barriers to Critical Democratic Education - Julie A. Gorlewski/David A. Gorlewski: Too Late for Public Education? Becoming a Teacher in a Neoliberal Era - Lawrence Baines: Ignorance Is Strength: Teaching in the Shadow of Big Brother - Ann G. Winfield/Alan S. Canestrari: Beware Reformers Bearing Gifts: How the Right Uses the Language of Social Justice to Reinforce Inequity - Gordon D. Bambrick: Spotlight on Failure: The Mythology of Corporate Education Reform - Amy Seely Flint/Eliza Allen/Tara Campbell/Amy Fraser/Danielle Hilaski/Linda James/Sanjuana Rodriguez/Natasha Thornton: More Than Graphs and Scripted Programs: Teachers Navigating the Educational Policy Terrain - Dana M. Stachowiak: Not Bound by Stupid Binaries: Dismantling Gender in Public Schools Through a New Consciousness and Claiming of Agency - Galen Leonhardy: So This Is America: A Narrative of Becoming and Being a Teacher - Regletto Aldrich D. Imbong: Neoliberalism and the Filipino Teacher: Shaking the System for a Genuine Democracy - Katie Stover/Crystal Glover: Mandated Scripted Curriculum: A Benefit or Barrier to Democratic Teaching and Learning? - A. Scott Henderson: Schools as Battlegrounds: The Authoritarian Jurisprudence of Clarence Thomas - Melissa Winchell/Patricia Chouinard: Troubling Traditional Notions of «Prepared»: Two Urban Teachers Ignite the Boundaries of Progressive and Critical Theories - Dawn Mitchell: Why Accountability Measures Fail: Practitioner Perspectives on the Role of Teacher Efficacy - Michael Svec: Empowerment Through Classroom Cultural Inquiries - P. L. Thomas: Conclusion. «[N]ot the Follow the Line of Least Resistance».

About the author(s)/editor(s)

P. L. Thomas (Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction, University of South Carolina) is Associate Professor of Education at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. He is a column editor for English Journal(National Council of Teachers of English), series editor for the Critical Literacy Teaching Series, and author of numerous books and journal articles. His most recent volume is Ignoring Poverty in the U.S.: The Corporate Takeover of Public Education.


Critical Studies in Democracy and Political Literacy. Vol. 2
General Editor: Paul R. Carr

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Exploring the School Choice Universe

Exploring the School Choice Universe

Evidence and Recommendations

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A volume in the series: The National Education Policy Center Series. Editor(s): Kevin G. Welner, University of Colorado - Boulder. Alex Molnar, Arizona State University.

In Press 2012

Exploring the School Choice Universe: Evidence and Recommendations gives readers a comprehensive, complete picture of choice policies and issues. In doing so, it offers cross-cutting insights that are obscured when one looks only at single issue or a single approach to choice. The book examines choice in its various forms: charter schools, home schooling, online schooling, voucher plans that allow students to use taxpayer funds to attend private schools, tuition tax credit plans that provide a public subsidy for private school tuition, and magnet schools and other forms of public school intra- and interdistrict choice. It brings together some of the top researchers in the field, presenting a comprehensive overview of the best current knowledge of these important policies.

The questions addressed in Exploring the School Choice Universe are of most importance to researchers and policy makers. What do choice programs actually do? What forms do they take? Who participates, and why? What are the funding implications? What are the results of different forms of school choice on outcomes that matter, like student performance, segregation, and competition effects? Do they affect teachers’ working conditions? Do they drive innovation?

The contents of this book offer reason to believe that choice policies can further some educational goals. But they also suggest many reasons for caution. If choice policies are to be evidence-based, a re-examination is in order. The information, insights and recommendations facilitate a more nuanced understanding of school choice and provide the basis for designing sensible school choice reforms that can pursue a range of desirable outcomes.


"By far, the richest source of information on the most controversial issue in education." Henry M. LevinTeachers College, Columbia University

"This book is one of the few contributions to the school choice debate that recognizes the range and complexity of the issues involved and acknowledges that political judgements about the costs and benefits of choice initiatives are not straightforward. It will be of interest not only to American readers but also to those in other countries considering the adoption of similar choice policies. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who does not have a closed mind on the subject." Geoff Whitty Director Emeritus, Institute of Education, University of London


1.Introduction: Gary Miron, Western Michigan University, and Kevin G. Welner, University of Colorado Boulder.2. Negotiating Public and Private: Philosophical Frameworks for School Choice, Terri S.Wilson. 3. How Legislation and Litigation Shape School Choice, Julie F. Mead. 4. Who Chooses Schools, and Why? The Characteristics and Motivations of Families who Actively Choose Schools, Natalie Lacireno-Paquet and Charleen Brantley. 5. School Choice and Accountability, Gregg Garn and Casey Cobb. 6. Funding Formulas, School Choice, and Inherent Incentives, Clive R. Belfield. 7. Teacher Qualifications and Work Environments Across School Choice Types, Marisa Cannata. 8. Educational Innovation and Diversification in School Choice Plans, Christopher Lubienksi. 9. School Choice and Segregation by Race, Ethnicity, Class, and Achievement, Roslyn Arlin Mickelson, Martha Cecilia Bottia, and Stephanie Southworth. 10. The Competitive Effect of School Choice Policies on Public School Performance, David Arsen and Yongmei Ni. 11. The Impact Of School Choice Reforms On Student Achievement, Gary Miron and Jessica L. Urschel. 12. Conclusions and Recommendations, William J. Mathis and Patricia H. Hinchey.

Why Are Students at Military Base Schools Out-Achieving Their Civilian Peers? | Alternet

Why Are Students at Military Base Schools Out-Achieving Their Civilian Peers? | Alternet

Critical Literacy Teaching Series: Challenging Authors and Genres (Sense)

Critical Literacy Teaching Series: Challenging Authors and Genres

This series explores in separate volumes major authors and genres through a critical literacy lens that seeks to offer students opportunities as readers and writers to embrace and act upon their own empowerment. Each volume will challenge authors (along with examining authors that are themselves challenging) and genres as well as challenging norms and assumptions associated with those authors' works and genres themselves. Further, each volume will confront teachers, students, and scholars by exploring all texts as politically charged mediums of communication. The work of critical educators and scholars will guide each volume, including concerns about silenced voices and texts, marginalized people and perspectives, and normalized ways of being and teaching that ultimately dehumanize students and educators.

Series Editor:
Paul Thomas, Furman University
Editorial Board:
Karen Stein, University of Rhode Island
Shirley Steinberg, McGill University, Montreal
Jeanne Gerlach, University of Texas-Arlington
Leila Christenbury, Virginia Commonwealth University
Renita Schmidt, Furman University
Ken Lindblom, Stony Brook University

Clones, Assembly-line Capitalism, and Wage-Slaves | National Education Policy Center

Clones, Assembly-line Capitalism, and Wage-Slaves | National Education Policy Center

Dr. Thomas writes about education reform

Dr. Thomas writes about education reform

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Available at DISCOUNT: Numbers Games

Numbers Games (2004, Peter Lang USA)

My first volume for Lang will be available directly through me soon; I will be selling this for $10 (includes shipping, unless unusual circumstances). Contact me by email if interested in copies:


See info at publisher site.

Book synopsis
American schools are often the victims of numbers games because its education is in the hands of politicians, the populace, and pundits. How Americans view numbers, science, and research profoundly impacts the ability of politicians to manipulate our schools from pre-K through graduate education. Even in classrooms, teachers are routinely implementing flawed assessment strategies based on misguided assumptions about numbers and commonly held statistical truths. American educators need to step out from under the restrictive mandates of politicians and their growing mania for measuring students — they need to leave the numbers games behind and take control of their profession.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Schools Matter: Division of Labor: Conquering the "Public"

Schools Matter: Division of Labor: Conquering the "Public": Anthony Cody, in his Living in Dialogue blog, has recently addressed the strategy common among "No Excuses" Reformers (NER) using a corpora...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Daily Kos: The Polonius Chronicles: The Invisible Hand and the King Imperative

Daily Kos: The Polonius Chronicles: The Invisible Hand and the King Imperative

Against Obedience, Susan Ohanian

Ohanian, S (2012). Against obedience Critical Education, 3(9). Retrieved from

from page 13:

"Of course some professors are leading the resistance. Rich Gibson and E. Wayne Ross have shown me that “The Education Agenda Is a War Agenda.” I have their book and stacks of others sitting at my elbow and piled at my ankles—books I referred to when writing this piece, books with titles like Neoliberalism and Education Reform (Ross & Gibson, 2007); Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (St Clair & Frank, 2012); The Phenomenon of Obama and the Agenda for Education (Carr & Porfilio, 2011); Reading Wide Awake: Politics, Pedagogies, & Possibilities (Shannon, 2011); Power, Resistance, and Literacy: Writing for Social Justice (Gorlewski, 2011); Ignoring Poverty in the U. S.: the Corporate Takeover of Public Education (Thomas, 2012), Free Voluntary Reading (Krashen, 2011); Digital Diploma Mills: The Automation of Higher Education (Noble, 2003); Terminator Planet: The First History of Drone Warfare (Turse, 2012); The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan (Hastings, 2012); The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at Work (Fernández, 2011). And I know I’ll buy more—probably tomorrow. But if my own royalty statements are any gauge, not many people are buying these books. I once told a Heinemann editor about my theory: “There are roughly only 3,000 teachers who buy books. They buy a lot of books. But they are the only ones buying.” The editor did not reply, but she got a very funny look on her face. I think my one good seller sold about 15,000 copies. Clearly not enough to spark a revolution."

Becoming and Being a Teacher: Lang catalogue

See page 4 of the Fall 2012 Peter Lang Catalogue

Democratic Education

Becoming and Being a Teacher:
Confronting Traditional Norms to Create New Democratic Realities

Edited By P.L. Thomas

PB | 978-1-4331-1650-6
HC | 978-1-4331-1686-5

Critical Studies in Democracy and
Political Literacy; vol.2

This volume unmasks tensions among
economic, political, and educational
goals in the context of becoming and
being a teacher. Chapters frame
becoming and being a teacher within
commitments to democracy and
political literacy while confronting
neoliberal assumptions about
American society, universal public
education, and education reform. A
wide variety of teachers and scholars
discuss teacher preparation and
teaching through evidence-based
examinations of complex problems
and solutions facing teachers,
education policy, the public, and
students. Teaching is embraced as a
political act, and critical subjectivity is
endorsed as a rejection of objectivity
and traditional paradigms of teaching
designed to create a compliant
teacher workforce. The book honors
and celebrates voice as well as
collective voice that speak to and
from the inexorable fact of becoming
and being a teacher as one and the

Sunday, October 14, 2012

At the Chalk Face: Progressive #edreform talk 10/14 by Chalk Face | Blog Talk Radio

At the Chalk Face: Progressive #edreform talk 10/14 by Chalk Face | Blog Talk Radio

October 18, 2012: Poverty Is Destiny: Ignoring the MLK Imperative in Corporate Education Reform

Poverty Is Destiny: Ignoring the MLK Imperative in Corporate Education Reform

[Access PowerPoint HERE]

• Introduction/Context

Working class background

Father, junior college, paternal grandfather owned town gas station, Upstate SC
Mother, dropped out of junior college, maternal grandfather died yarn, mill worker, hills of NC

Home town, rural poverty

Came to recognize privilege inherent in white, male, working class roots

Privilege should equal humility and seeking equity for others (gained from work of Kurt Vonnegut):

“Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.” Eugene V. Debs, September 18, 1918

Taught in rural SC high school 18 years; not in a union (live in right-to-work state)

Critical educator/scholar, FreireKincheloe, hooks, Foucault

“Thus, proponents of critical pedagogy understand that every dimension of schooling and every form of educational practice are politically contested spaces. Shaped by history and challenged by a wide range of interest groups, educational practice is a fuzzy concept as it takes place in numerous settings, is shaped by a plethora of often-invisible forces, and can operate even in the name of democracy and justice to be totalitarian and oppressive.” (Kincheloe, 2005, p. 2)

Claims framed against DEMOCRACY, EQUITY, and AGENCY (not college or work “readiness”)

• Claim 1: Poverty is destiny; so is privilege. (But poverty should not be destiny.)

(A) Not school to prison pipeline, but schools as prison.

White males outnumber Latino and Black males about 3 to 1 in U.S.; Latino and Black males outnumber while males about 10 to 1 in prisons.

"The practice of placing individuals under 'observation' is a natural extension of a justice imbued with disciplinary methods and examination procedures. Is it surprising that the cellular prison, with its regular chronologies, forced labour, its authorities of surveillance and registration, its experts in normality, who continue and multiply the functions of the judge, should have become the modern instrument of penality? Is it surprising that prisons resemble factories, schools, barracks, hospitals, which all resemble prisons?" Michel Foucault. Discipline & Punish (1975), Panopticism, III. Discipline, 3. Panopticism

“These findings show that urban youth get subjected to levels of surveillance and repression that are not the same as long-term incarceration, but nonetheless, as the school merges with an ideology of street policing, the courts, and even the prison, a particular culture of penal control becomes an aspect of everyday life at school and beyond….

"Despite the trouble it caused students, there was an important ideological dimension to their refusal to comply with law enforcement. Their contestations during interactions with police and agents contained within them a decisive critique of disciplinary practices. Policing practices, especially the demand to see ID, conflicted with students' sense of justice and fairness and their imagined ideal of schooling." [Kathleen Nolan. Police in the Hallways: Discipline in an Urban High School (Kindle Edition)]

Pre-kindergarten expulsions mirror incarcerations by race and gender:

Gilliam, W. S. (2005, May 4). Prekindergarteners left behind: Expulsion rates in state prekindergarten systems. Yale University Child Study Center.

(B) Educational opportunity reflects community and home: ZIP code is destiny.

"A Rotting Apple: Education Redlining in New York City" from the Schott Foundation for Public Education

Brookings report, "Housing Costs, Zoning and Access to High-Scoring Schools

(C) Economic mobility data contradict meritocracy myth, notably what Americans believe is equitable v. what exists in U.S. (Sawhill & MortonNorton & Ariely)

(D) High childhood poverty compared internationally (UNICEF 2012):

Iceland             4.7
Finland            5.3
…Norway       6.1
USA                23.1

(E) International educational outcomes, school, teacher, student “quality”—all strongly correlated with poverty rates and other out-of-school factors:

ETS 2007 and 2009

• Claim 2: “No Excuses” Reforms (NER) perpetuate status quo of inequity, classism, racism, and failed universal public education.

(A) NER argues to reform schools in order to change society. Logic problems: If children enter schools unequal, then schools must be UNLIKE the society in order to change that society, and then students must receive DIFFERENT educations that address that social inequity. Traditionally, public schools label, rank, and sort students, and then give those students from poverty the least engaging and challenging educations (NER doesn’t confront that, but perpetuates it).

(B) Contradiction of NER argument: NER policies reflect and perpetuate inequity:

New/different standards suggest problem is poor standards or lack of standards; masking that children of color, children from poverty, and ELL students receive reduced educational opportunities BECAUSE of standards/testing movement.

Standardized testing remains race, class, and gender biased; thus labeling, sorting, and ranking by tests data perpetuates inequity.

Commitments to Teach for America (TFA) continues failure of teacher assignment now common in traditional public schools: students in poverty, students of color, ELL students, and special needs students have un-/under-certified and inexperienced teachers.

Charter schools have a similar range of student outcomes when compared to traditional public schools, and charter schools are experiencing similar re-segregation of schools compared to community-based public schools.

“No Excuses” discipline policies are racist and classist; imposed on “other people’s children” (Delpit) but not implemented in schools unlike “no excuses” charters attended by reformers (Gates) and their children (Duncan, Obama).

• Claim 3: Social Context Reform calls for social reform that supports the meritocracy necessary for children to learn on a level playing field; while education reform must reshape entirely universal public education to address equity of opportunities for all children regardless of their status.

“As a consequence, fragmentary and spasmodic reforms have failed to reach down to the profoundest needs of the poor.

“In addition to the absence of coordination and sufficiency, the programs of the past all have another common failing — they are indirect. Each seeks to solve poverty by first solving something else.
“I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective — the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income….

“We are likely to find that the problems of housing and education, instead of preceding the elimination of poverty, will themselves be affected if poverty is first abolished.” Martin Luther King Jr., Final Words of Advice, 1967

(A) Social reform needed to address childhood inequity; create social meritocracy to support education for democracy, equity, and agency:

Universal healthcare (including eye care, dental care) for children (and families with children)

Childhood food security

Stable and well-paying work for families (reform healthcare so jobs and healthcare are not linked); increase worker’s right and empowerment

Re-commit to fully funding and supporting universal public education; seek universal public college access for all successful students

(B) Genuine public school reform committed to democracy, equity, and agency:

End high-stakes testing and accountability; implement teacher/school autonomy and transparency (what schools offer and how v. student outcomes)

End labeling and sorting students

Insure equitable teacher assignments (no child receives consecutive years of un-/under-certified, inexperienced teachers)

Confront inequitable discipline policies and outcomes related to race, gender, and class

Reject the traditional deficit perspective driving public schooling that reflects cultural deficit view of people in poverty.]

Honor and support school, teacher, and student AUTONOMY (current accountability culture is about compliance, anti-democratic)

• Concluding comments:

Ralph Ellison, celebrated author of Invisible Manspoke in September 1963 at a teachers’ conference “…to discuss ‘these children,’ the difficult thirty percent. We know this very well; it has been hammered out again and again.” Ellison was addressing the educational failures of African American children in U.S. public schools, including drop outs.

Rejecting the prevalent deficit perspective of his era, Ellison bravely asserted, “There is no such thing as a culturally deprived kid.” In his confrontation of stereotypes about race and poverty as well as the historical failure of public education to challenge the racism and inequity of mid-twentieth century America, Ellison concluded with:

“I don’t know what intelligence is. But this I do know, both from life and from literature: whenever you reduce human life to two plus two equals four, the human element within the human animal says, “I don’t give a damn.” You can work on that basis, but the kids cannot. If you can show me how I can cling to that which is real to me, while teaching me a way into the larger society, then I will not only drop my defenses and my hostility, but I will sing your praises and help you to make the desert bear fruit.”

(A) There is no “crisis”

(B) There is no “achievement gap”—“achievement gap” is reflection of “equity gap”

In Ursula K. LeGuin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” she presents an allegory of privilege, a narrative that exposes how privilege exists upon the back of oppression:

“They all know it is there, all the people of Omelas. Some of them have come to see it, others are content merely to know it is there. They all know that it has to be there. Some of them understand why, and some do not, but they all understand that their happiness, the beauty of their city, the tenderness of their friendships, the health of their children, the wisdom of their scholars, the skill of their makers, even the abundance of their harvest and the kindly weathers of their skies, depend wholly on this child’s abominable misery.” (Le Guin, 1975, p. 282)

NER in education maintains the delusion that privilege can somehow be separated from inequity. SCR, however, seeks to pull aside the myth in order to pursue the dream of King in which we continue to seek equity in society and schools in the U.S.—by genuine social reform then wedded to educational reform.

Recommended: Two Lives Diverged, David Bamat