Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The American Public School Teacher Past, Present, and Future

Darrel Drury and Justin Baer, foreword by Judith Warren Little

At its heart are the National Education Association’s “Status of the American Public School Teacher” surveys, which are conducted every five years and offer unprecedented insights into the professional lives and experiences of teachers nationwide. This volume analyzes and summarizes the survey’s findings, while also offering commentaries on the findings from leading figures in the worlds of education, business, politics, and research. 


This is a stunning achievement. The authors mined a trove of data about public school teachers dating back to 1955, then asked a diverse group of thoughtful men and women to analyze, interpret, and comment. Interspersed among the essays are anecdotes from teachers and former teachers, some of which will tug your heartstrings. You will have favorites among the essays—I did—but very few will disappoint. The American Public School Teacher is a modern-day book of revelations.      

— John Merrow, education correspondent, PBS NewsHour

The American Public School Teacher provides an unflinching look into the classrooms of our nation’s schools and offers an overview of the current environment that could serve as a survey course on public education. The authors have convened a stellar lineup of scholars, teachers, government leaders, and policy makers to dissect and prognosticate about the future of schools. The result is an honest, provocative assessment that underscores the complications of meeting our oft-stated national goal of helping all students achieve at high levels.      — Anthony S. Bryk, president, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Improving schools requires improving teaching. But how can we do that? What does it even mean to be a good teacher in today’s world? With historical perspective, data analysis, and informed opinion, The American Public School Teacher provides a range of answers from top scholars and national education leaders. A must-read for anyone who cares about our most important school resource.      — Douglas N. Harris, associate professor, Educational Policy and Public Affairs, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Drury and Baer’s examination of teaching, based on an intriguing compendium of survey data collected over the past half century, is sharp, heterodox, and even-handed. At a time when the teaching profession and the role of teachers’ unions are more hotly debated than ever, I enthusiastically recommend this thoughtful volume to educators, policy makers, and would-be reformers.      — Frederick M. Hess, director, Education Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute

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