Journalist Traces Rise and Fall of Teaching Trends in New Book

The New York Times recently reviewed The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Most Embattled Professiona new book by journalist Dana Goldstein.  In The Teacher Wars, Goldstein chronicles American education reforms from 1820s onward, providing insight into why these reforms have failed, sharing examples of some of the detrimental effects of recent policies, and offering a few suggestions on how we might do better.

In a 12-page epilogue, Goldstein offers a number of sensible recommendations for shoring up those ordinary men and women and improving American schools. These include returning standardized tests to their proper, lower-stakes role: helping teachers determine what their students do and don’t know and where to aim their lessons. Similarly, she suggests using “value-added” calculations — how much an individual teacher raises test scores — to target help to those who are struggling and career opportunities to those at the top. Goldstein does not directly challenge tenure, but she does call for an end to such “outdated union protections” as requiring the last teacher hired to be the first fired during layoffs.

For more information, see the full review from The New York Times, or purchase The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession. For more information on the implementation of federal reforms in Maryland see our previous posts, Workgroup Discusses Common Core Implementation in Maryland and Maryland’s College and Career-Ready Standards Workgroup Releases Preliminary Report.