Teacher education in America has changed dramatically in the past thirty years—with major implications for how our kids are taught.
As recently as 1990, if a person wanted to become a public school teacher in the United States, he or she needed to attend an accredited university education program. Less than three decades later, the variety of routes into teaching is staggering. In Teaching Teachers, education historians James W. Fraser and Lauren Lefty look at these alternative programs through the lens of the past.
Fraser and Lefty explain how, beginning in 1986, an extraordinary range of new teaching programs emerged, most of which moved teacher education out of universities. In some school districts and charter schools, superintendents started their own teacher preparation programs—sometimes in conjunction with universities, sometimes not. Other teacher educators designed blended programs, creating collaboration between university teacher education programs and other parts of the university, linking with school districts and independent providers, and creating a range of novel options.
Fraser and Lefty argue that three factors help explain this dramatic shift in how teachers are trained: an ethos that market forces were the solution to social problems; long-term dissatisfaction with the inadequacies of university-based teacher education; and the frustration of school superintendents with teachers themselves, who can seem both underprepared and too quick to challenge established policy. Surveying which programs are effective and which are not, this book also examines the impact of for-profit teacher training in the classroom. Casting light on the historical and social forces that led to the sea change in the ways American teachers are prepared, Teaching Teachers is a substantial and unbiased history of a controversial topic.
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