The Teacher Wars: A History of America's Most Embattled Profession

The Teacher Wars A History of America s Most Embattled Profession In her groundbreaking history of years of American education Dana Goldstein finds answers in the past to the controversies that plague our public schools today Teaching is a wildly contentious pr

  • Title: The Teacher Wars: A History of America's Most Embattled Profession
  • Author: Dana Goldstein
  • ISBN: 9780385536950
  • Page: 477
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In her groundbreaking history of 175 years of American education, Dana Goldstein finds answers in the past to the controversies that plague our public schools today.Teaching is a wildly contentious profession in America, one attacked and admired in equal measure In The Teacher Wars, a rich, lively, and unprecedented history of public school teaching, Dana Goldstein revealIn her groundbreaking history of 175 years of American education, Dana Goldstein finds answers in the past to the controversies that plague our public schools today.Teaching is a wildly contentious profession in America, one attacked and admired in equal measure In The Teacher Wars, a rich, lively, and unprecedented history of public school teaching, Dana Goldstein reveals that teachers have been similarly embattled for nearly two centuries From the genteel founding of the common schools movement in the nineteenth century to the violent inner city teacher strikes of the 1960s and 70s, from the dispatching of Northeastern women to frontier schoolhouses to the founding of Teach for America on the Princeton University campus in 1989, Goldstein shows that the same issues have continued to bedevil us Who should teach What should be taught Who should be held accountable for how our children learn She uncovers the surprising roots of hot button issues, from teacher tenure to charter schools, and finds that recent popular ideas to improve schools instituting merit pay, evaluating teachers by student test scores, ranking and firing veteran teachers, and recruiting elite graduates to teach are all approaches that have been tried in the past without producing widespread change And she also discovers an emerging effort that stands a real chance of transforming our schools for the better drawing on the best practices of the three million public school teachers we already have in order to improve learning throughout our nation s classrooms The Teacher Wars upends the conversation about American education by bringing the lessons of history to bear on the dilemmas we confront today By asking How did we get here Dana Goldstein brilliantly illuminates the path forward.

    One thought on “The Teacher Wars: A History of America's Most Embattled Profession”

    1. This is a fascinating book - it provides a history of American education and the complex role that 'being a teacher' has often involved. One of the problems with histories is that it is all too easy to see parallels - you know the old saying, those who don't learn from history are condemned to repeat it - but I think something else I read about history is truer than that, that history doesn't repeat, but rather rhymes. So, when you read that female teachers were encouraged into education and tha [...]

    2. This book’s title might connote a tense battlefield, with ruler-brandishing teachers firmly entrenched against the remonstrations of an angry citizenry. But, like any serious student of history, author Dana Goldstein knows such simplistic images belie the messy truth about wars, which is that they are rife with broken borders, double crossings, unexpected victories, and crushing defeats. So it has been with America’s public education system.The Teacher Wars is a fascinating, much needed hist [...]

    3. The Teacher Wars: A History of America's Most Embattled Profession by historian Dana Goldsteinis a balanced, thoughtful account of the history of teachers in the United States. Goldstein traces how the profession of teaching has been the subject of controversy from the early 1800's, with its deliberate "feminization" (based on the idea that women were a) more spiritual and better nurturers and b) it would cost much less money to hire women) through a long history of teacher pay as well as the on [...]

    4. It's definitely a book worth reading that can simultaneously enrage, engage and entertain you. The Teacher Wars tells the story of why America's teachers are so roundly despised and used as a punching bag by the political elites and power systems. Completely fascinating and non-partisan as far as I can tell, this history should be read by anyone who ever had anything to say about the quality of teachers these days, which is a group that includes, roughly, everyone. I myself was hooked by page 9, [...]

    5. This is a dense text--I had to chunk the reading by chapter and will likely read it again in the future to make sure I fully grasped all of the information being presented. I loved the information presented and the connections that could therefore be made throughout history. Additionally, I appreciated the recommendations she offered at the end about the lessons from history: Teacher pay matters, create communities of practice, keep teaching interesting, deal with the legacy of the normal school [...]

    6. On a daily basis I read articles about state standards, standardized testing, poor teacher training programs and, of course, tenure as culprits behind the declining value of education in the US, which itself may be more hyperbole than legitimate diagnosis. While tenure reform is likely a reactionary code word for union busting and liberal media are marginally more pro-teacher, all of the media's attention, discussion and analysis obscure one crucial fact: most teachers are passionate, dedicated, [...]

    7. A lot of good background on some of the ailments our education system is dealing with today. One of the book's most redeeming qualities is its overall balance across the board: it offers data and anecdotes without much interpretation until the brief epilogue. Well worth reading if you are concerned at all about our education system and the current policies for reform.

    8. Offers a nuanced picture of the political, cultural, and professional battles involving educators. It's doesn't offer apology, unfair excoriation, or undue praise to any group. It provides diligent critique, analysis, and historical context for the ongoing "wars" in education policy and practice. Very interesting and helpful read for all sorts.

    9. Must-read for all education policymakers and stakeholders, and an essential companion to Hess' The Same Thing Over and Over. It makes common cause with many of the recommendations from Building a Better Teacher, although it lays out its case with a longer historical lens. Midway between absolute autonomy and rigid accountability lies professionalism.

    10. The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession- Dana Goldstein 4 starsThe subtitle of this book grabbed my interest immediately. I’ve been a frontline soldier in the public education wars. I wanted to hear what Goldstein had to say about it.The book is a true history of American education, beginning with Chapter One, “Missionary Teachers” of the 19th century. The following chapters detail the growth of public education, the rise teacher’s unions, and the pendulum sw [...]

    11. Highly recommended for anyone in the pedagogical profession or those interested in the evolution of education in America. An excellent analysis of how labor unions and tenure evolved to be staples of the educational environment. Despite all the clamor about the downside of unions and tenure, the alternatives were and are worse. They were instituted to protect teachers (mostly women initially) from tyrannical administrators and school boards who were committed to maintaining low wages and frequen [...]

    12. I loved this smart and well written look into the history of teaching. I have a ton of notes on this that I don't have time to write here, but I highly suggest anyone who is interested in the theory and history of education read this book. I have heard that some find it a little academic, but I found that the author made it very approachable. The biggest take away that I found was that the issues we face today are little different than the same discussions and problems that have been around for [...]

    13. I learned a lot and still don't have any clear answers. Usually a good sign that a book is well researched and fair.

    14. More than any book I’ve read recently, this one is full of what I call “nuggets”—tidbits of information that are so astounding, so stupefying, in their obviousness that they’ve flown under the radar for decades or even centuries of education in this country without due notice. Or else, as I suspect may be true of national, state, and local persons in control of educational funding, most people (legislators) who could help DON’T CARE.[I use the term “loc” to indicate the place in [...]

    15. A long history of how public education in the United States has been ground between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Poorly researched (or faith-based) ideas pushed by well-meaning idealists, promising, yet chronically underfunded ideas, discrimination and segregation. Goldstein has a bias (don't we all?), but largely avoids villainizing the players, or piling on judgement. I was amazed that after recounting close to 200 years of failures, she was able to sound optimistic about several prog [...]

    16. I felt uncertain starting my first attorney job as a special education lawyer when I had no background in education, so I asked an educator friend for a recommendation to help fill the gap. I'm glad that recommendation included the Teacher Wars. It is a socially conscious account of the evolution of education in American with an easy and informative narrative. Definitely something I would recommend to others interested in education.

    17. Great deep dive into the history of teaching in America, with a specific focus on the activism and policy that has shaped our attitudes towards teaching. A great read for anyone who escaped a teacher preparation program in college believing that teaching has historically been an apolitical profession.

    18. This book confirmed a lot of my suspicions of deep-rooted American issues in education as well as shed light on some complicated reforms like community control. As a Teach For America alum who's taught in 3 cities including charter, Catholic and Montessori schools, this book was insightful to the persistent struggles in education at every level today. American Education is indeed a battlefield but now I see the evolution of the fight. I do feel hope that by listening to teachers, integrating sch [...]

    19. Excellent history of public education in the U.S. Eye-opening stuff. It seems it's been either pasttime or racket for most folks; rarely a crusade.

    20. Merit pay, unions, alternative schools, teacher accountability, high stakes testing, tenure, school funding, and teacher evaluations are just some of the topics Goldstein discusses in this book. And, surprisingly for some, the author shows us these are not new topics, issues, or controversies in the ever-heated education debate but rather ones that have plagued our educational system since its onset. Many readers will be astounded at this history. Although I enjoyed this book and found many poin [...]

    21. Goldtsein makes a strong argument that teaching is a controversial profession that is suffering from unnecessary political involvement. Her historical analysis of public education in America shows that teaching has experienced controversy long before George Bush's NCLB. She has also demonstrated how the profession continues to suffer with political interference and moral panics. The book is not perfect, however, Goldstein has done a superb job with her historical analysis. Her writing is excepti [...]

    22. "Why are American teachers both resented and idealized, when teachers in other nations are much more universally respected?"This historical review of teachers in the US was enlightening, depressing, gratifying and frustrating. In the end I would say it left me more hopeless than uplifted. The "reforms" and high stakes testing that are really only high stake for the teachers not the students have been cycled repeatedly over the last 200 years. Teachers are both vilified and romanticized - blamed [...]

    23. This is a fascinating book that I would highly recommend to any teacher or anyone else with an interest in the teaching profession. The book chronicles the teaching profession, paying attention only to the United States, from colonial New England to our nation in the present day.The author draws attention to many great points, including: · How public schools were first sold in the early 1800s as something that could be cheaply done, because women would be teachers and women don't have to be pai [...]

    24. This very entertaining and balanced book covers the teaching profession in the U.S. from the early days of the republic up to the present. It explains how the institutions of education developed and the conflicts around teaching. Teachers are probably the most scrutinized and criticized job category in the country. They are expected to be the solution to class and racial inequality by creating opportunities. Every time a president says "no child left behind" or "race to the top" an expectation t [...]

    25. The Teacher Wars begins with a history of the teaching profession in America as it has evolved from the early 19th century to the present. Goldstein is a journalist, not an academic, and this part of the book, while interesting, has the serviceable feel of homework well done. When Goldstein tries to tie this history to the current state of the profession, she isn't terribly successful. What a reader takes away from this (surprise!) is that teaching has always been a relatively low status profess [...]

    26. “The Teacher Wars,” by Dana Goldstein, is an engaging look at the history of K12 teaching in the United States. The book shows how teaching in America evolved from the first days of compulsory education during the common school era (when women first came to dominate the profession), through many decades of segregated schools, through unionization and desegregation, and into the modern era of big data and charter schools. Throughout the book, I was struck by how frequently teachers were on th [...]

    27. One of the challenges in writing about the history of even such a narrow topic as "America's Most Embattled Profession" is identifying appropriate scope and maintaining objectivity. Goldstein's focus throughout the book seems heavily centered around the northeast, urban education, and policy or philosophical disagreements. Missing are developments of rural schools and their specific challenges, the effects of technology or the lack of technology on schools, and the advent of relatively new forms [...]

    28. Dana Goldstein identifies the broad historic and current trends (infections) afflicting public education without ever mentioning the corrupt interpersonal power dynamics and political affiliations which rely on nepotism, cronyism, deception and pathological tactics to retain and maintain their postures of power. Though she is accurate in her articulation of the broader tensions in education, it would have been helpful to include an analysis examining the fallacious reasoning premising the fatal [...]

    29. There was so much information in this book, and Goldstein did a spectacular job presenting just the facts. I feel like I have a deeper, more appreciative knowledge of teaching. The complexity of past, present, and future teaching were all intertwined in a well-developed and thoughtful manner. This is another education books I've fallen in love with (the other being Lies My Teacher Told Me).Honestly there is so much between the covers I wish I could bring up - like the fact that teachers of color [...]

    30. Dana Goldstein’s "The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession" reminds us that we ignore history at our peril. Who in living memory is aware that standardized testing with outcomes linked to teacher job security has been tried before? If it didn’t work then, why are we trying it again? From the launch of the teacher union movement, to the rise of community control, to the great business takeover, here are startling truths that cast these actions in a new light. Movem [...]

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