The Social Foundations Reader

Critical Essays on Teaching, Learning and Leading in the 21st Century

by Eleanor Blair (Volume editor) Yolanda Medina (Volume editor)
©2016 Textbook XV, 364 Pages


The Social Foundations Reader is meant for undergraduate and graduate students in introductory foundations of education classes. No other contemporary reader provides such a broad and yet critical view of the issues typically addressed in an introductory foundations course. Instead, most provide a generic and typically conservative perspective on schools and classrooms and do little to encourage students to consider the important roles of critical theory and social justice in the creation of school environments that are responsive to issues of equity and diversity. This book provides a different lens through which students can view what happens in twenty-first-century schools while also considering the perspectives of multiple constituencies: parents, teachers, students and communities. The reader of this text is exposed to a wide range of scholarship in the foundations of education; essays range from the more traditional work of John Dewey to the controversial ideas of Henry Giroux. Contested topics associated with teaching, learning and leading in contemporary public schools are considered within a context where grappling with the answers to fundamental questions that will ultimately guide meaningful school reform is an essential part of becoming an educator. Each of the five sections in the book is accompanied by an introduction and summary/reflection questions to both guide reading and challenge students to think critically about how to synthesize and apply the ideas being presented.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Foreword: Critical Social Foundations in the Corporate Academy
  • Introduction
  • Section I: A Foundation for 21st Century Schools
  • Introduction
  • 1. A Pedagogy of Hopelessness: Fear and Loathing in 21st Century American Schools
  • 2. My Pedagogic Creed
  • 3. Finding Hope Among the Hopeless.
  • 4. What I Learned About School Reform
  • 5. Disability Justifies Exclusion of Minority Students: A Critical History Grounded in Disability Studies
  • 6. Equality of Educational Opportunity: Race, Gender, and Special Needs
  • Reflection Questions
  • Section II: Social Justice and Critical Theory in the Schoolhouse
  • Introduction
  • 7. Transforming Educational Leadership Without Social Justice?: Looking at Critical Pedagogy as More Than a Critique, and a Way Toward “Democracy”
  • 8. Race and Pedagogy
  • 9. Critical Pedagogy in Action
  • 10. Art Education Programs: Empowering Social Change
  • 11. The Invisibility of Oppression
  • Reflection Questions
  • Section III: Teaching, Learning and Leading Against the Grain
  • Introduction
  • 12. Teaching Is Leading
  • 13. Going Against the Grain
  • 14. Teaching from the Test: Using High-Stakes Assessments to Enhance Student Learning
  • 15. “Too Young for the Marches but I Remember These Drums”: Recommended Pedagogies for Hip–Hop–Based Education and Youth Studies
  • 16. The Issue of identity
  • 17. The Story of Cesar Chavez High School: One Small School’s Struggle for Biliteracy
  • Reflection Questions
  • section IV: Teachers in 21st Century Schools
  • Introduction
  • 18. Warm Demanders: The Importance of Teachers in the Lives of Children of Poverty
  • 19. In Defense of Public School Teachers in a Time of Crisis
  • 20. Starting Points: Assumptions and Alternatives
  • 21. But That’s Just Good Teaching! The Case for Culturally Relevant Pedagogy
  • 22. Wrong Answer to the Wrong Question: Why We Need Critical Teacher Education, Not Standardization
  • Reflection Questions
  • Section V: “Shift Happens”: Contemporary Issues of Equity and Diversity
  • Introduction
  • 23. Community
  • 24. “What I know about Spanish is that I don’t talk it much”: Bilingual Fifth-Grade Students’ Perceptions of Bilingualism
  • 25. A Distinctly Un-American Idea: An Education Appropriate to Their Station
  • 26. Enabling or Disabling? Observations on Changes in Special Education
  • 27. Selling Out: Parenting, the Realities of Urban Education, and the Hidden Curriculum in Schools
  • 28. What Matthew Shepard Would Tell Us: Gay and Lesbian Issues in Education
  • Reflection Questions
  • Contributors

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Critical Social Foundations in the Corporate Academy

William M. Reynolds

Georgia Southern University

Questioning the ostensibly unquestionable premises of our way of life is arguably the most urgent of services we owe our fellow humans and ourselves. —Bauman (1998, p. 5)

Thus, a life of dissent requires us to expel the “success myths” of capital that pollute the ivy-covered halls of academia and to reject the warped and distorted privileges of power, preserved and doled out to the obedient servants of the empire. And as such, dissident voices reject the incarcerations of our minds and bodies, by the neat and orderly colonizing rationale that conserves the hegemonic order. —Darder (2011, p. 5)


In 1994, Rebecca Martusewicz and I edited a book entitled Inside/Out: Contemporary Critical Perspectives in Education. We discussed, along with others, how the foundations of education within the context of critical theory and critical pedagogy had the potential of turning people “inside/out” a phrase used by a student in one of our foundations classes. She was describing the experience of her readings and class discussions. The inside surface had been turned to the outside: “Things are no longer seen ‘as they usually are’; that some other aspect or new way of looking is brought to our attention; what was once a boundary, frontier, or surface is gone, replaced by another” (Martusewicz & Reynolds, 1994, p. 2). That is the point with critical foundations of education. It can turn “normal” understandings of society, equity, diversity, justice, schooling, curriculum, pedagogy, students, and teachers inside/out. Questions need to be raised about all of it. That was 21 years ago. After teaching educational foundations and curriculum studies for 30 years, I still believe there is the necessity to continually emphasize and reemphasize critical perspectives in both. That is the primary reason The Social Foundations Reader: Critical Essays on Teaching, Learning and Leading in the 21st Century by Eleanor J. Blair and Yolanda Medina is crucial for these times. What times, you may ask?

Fast-forward to 2015. Education and schooling have not been turned inside/out but outside/in to a corporate neoliberal nightmare. The neoliberal agenda is to destroy public education and turn it ← xi | xii → into a race to the bottom—the bottom line that is. The litany of horrors in public schools, meant to educate smart (knowing large quantities of disconnected information), docile consumers, is legendary. The current nightmare includes: standardization, state-developed curriculum, scripted lesson plans, predetermined state objectives, computerized reading tests (constructed by the Accelerated Reading Program Software), i-Ready1 (computerized instruction), and state-mandated tests (developed by very lucrative textbook/testing corporations such as Pearson) to make sure teachers are compliantly implementing and depositing what they are told to implement and deposit. It is an effort to assure that critical approaches to pedagogy and the effort to produce critical citizens interested in questions concerning social justice are daily thwarted. As Giroux (2013) writes,

Welcome to the dystopian world of corporate education in which learning how to think, be informed by public values, and become engaged critical citizens are viewed as a failure rather than a mark of success. Instead of producing “a generation of leaders worthy of the challenges,”2 the dystopian mission of public and higher education is to produce robots, technocrats, and compliant workers. There is more than a backlash at work in these assaults on public and higher education: there is a sustained effort to dismantle education as a pillar of democracy, public values, critical thought, social responsibility, and civic courage. (p. 1)

As Giroux indicates, the public schools were only the first step in the long march of neoliberalism. The destruction of colleges of education is the insidious current move of corporate/neoliberalism. An initial unspoken maneuver is to discourage and ultimately prevent any alternative teaching or content that presents critical perspectives. The foundations of education courses become a target in this agenda as well as critical academics who teach foundations courses within a critical context. The first step on the march to destroy is the takeover of undergraduate teacher education by corporations. It is the move to privatize teacher education. Undergraduate foundations course syllabi are given direction, objectives, and strategies from the state education departments. These, in many cases, can be proactively challenged. The more difficult intrusion to contest is the onslaught of Pearson Corporation into teacher education and teacher certification. Pearson’s “sales were up in 2012 to 6.1 billion pounds or $9.21 billon” (Singer, 2013, p. 10). Pearson’s edTPA is used as the final step in teacher certification. Currently there are 606 Educator Preparation Programs in 33 states and the District of Columbia participating in edTPA3 (AACTE, 2015, p. 1). This is the face of teacher education at the present time. Outside corporations are determining whether pre-service teachers become certified. On Pearson’s assessment webpage, the process is lauded:

edTPA includes a review of a teacher candidate’s authentic teaching materials. This serves as a culmination of a teaching and learning process that documents and demonstrates each candidate’s ability to effectively teach his/her subject matter to all students. (Pearson, 2015, p. 1)

This is what Deleuze warned about concerning education in general. It has turned into a continual assessment factory. It is the businessification of education:

Even the state education system has been looking at the principle of “getting paid for results”: in fact, just as businesses are replacing factories, school is being replaced by continuing education and exams by continuous assessment. It is the surest way of turning education into a business. (Deleuze, 1995, p. 179)

The Dismantling of the Critical Social Foundations of Education

Sadly, the evidence shared in this article suggests that corporate teacher preparation does not support coursework, faculty, or scholarship in educational foundations. In fact, the opposite is present: Corporations maximize profits by preparing school personnel with scripted curricula, by hiring adjunct instructors (many of whom do not hold terminal degrees), by developing online technical coursework and by generating computerized examinations. (Hartlep & Porfilio, 2015, p. 305) ← xii | xiii →

I believe, after 30 years of working to present critical perspectives and critical pedagogy in Social Foundations and Curriculum Studies classes, the ways in which the neoliberal agenda currently works is the dismantling of Colleges of Education and certainly implicit in that dismantling is the expunging of any critical perspectives in any aspect of undergraduate or graduate education. How does the process work? There is, of course, the nuclear option for neoliberals. That is to eliminate Educational Studies or Foundations programs entirely from universities. The rationale is always budget issues. For example, Emory University proposed eliminating its Educational Studies program and The University of Akron “suspended” its Educational Foundations and Social, Philosophical Foundations of Education coursework at the master’s level. This is a dangerous trend for critical programs and critical scholars and will, no doubt, continue.

In other cases, critical programs go through a process that calls their existence into question (Reynolds, 2013). This process applies to courses or programs that exhibit critical orientations.4 The first step in this process is to delegitimize the scholarship that critical scholars and their students produce. The research is characterized as not “real” research. Questions are raised. How is doing research about issues such as social justice, identity formation, popular culture, and so on educational research? There is a need on the part of critical scholars in educational foundations and other areas to constantly defend their scholarly work. It is an attempt to rein in critical work. And, if there is a constant need to defend one’s scholarly work, there is less time to actually do the work. The second level in this process is to challenge a program or particular courses. Criticism against critical programs in education starts with the attack on the theoretical nature of the programs and eventually to attacks on the required readings in courses. Of course, the charge of “overly theoretical” programs is illustrative of a fear of theory, and its misunderstanding. It is also a politically regressive, anti-intellectual move to limit the nature of the study of education. There is an underlying fear that theory might, indeed, enable teachers to imagine and think differently about educational issues and their own practice, which could lead to challenging questions about taken-for-granted assumptions in current educational practice.5 As Giroux (2012) explains,

Theory is the condition that enables teachers and students to be self-reflexive, develop better forms of knowledge and classroom skills, and gain an understanding of the contexts in which they teach and learn. In fact, these contexts of teaching and learning have already been constituted through struggles over theories that make claim to legitimating what kind of knowledge and practice counts in a classroom. (p. 80)

Another step in this process of dismantling is the attack on individual scholars. The scholars, who challenge the taken-for-granted, find their questioning and critique results in institutional punishment that does not go unnoticed by colleagues who might consider working in critical perspectives. These scholars, particularly in social foundations, suffer under horrendous course loads, denied presentations, funding, or awards. In the corporate university where job intensification is the rule, this treatment is yet another way to discourage and prevent critical perspectives and work in social foundations.

The Failure to Quit

All of which brings us back again to the preeminence of education experience and to its eminently ethical character, which in its turn leads us to the radical nature of “hope.” In other words, though I know that things can get worse, I also know that I am able to intervene to improve them. (Freire, 1998, p. 53)

Despite these dreadful maneuvers by the corporate university with its neoliberal agenda, critical work in the social foundations of education continues. Critical perspectives in the social foundations are more urgent than ever. Howard Zinn described the official charge when he and 550 others were arrested for protesting Reagan’s blockade of Nicaragua at the Federal building in Boston. The official charge was ← xiii | xiv →Failure to Quit” (Zinn, 2009, p. 723). The editors and the authors of this volume demonstrate the failure to quit. From the Deweyan perspectives in My Pedagogic Creed, to issues of social justice, critical theory, teaching, learning and leading against the grain, 21st century schools, to issues of equity and diversity, these editors and authors demonstrate that critical perspectives need to be read by all involved in education. And, that the social foundations courses and scholarship play an indispensable role in providing a critical education for students who are being trained to be consumer citizens in our public schools and universities. The failure to quit on educating for critical citizens who can work for social justice in the cruel, nightmarish world of the 21st century is a most needed strength.

As critical social foundations educators work with critical theory and critical pedagogy in the 21st century and struggle to have their students understand issues of social justice, equity and diversity, they become more visible and more vulnerable:

Social foundations texts and courses that are tailored not only to an unquestioning, taken-for-granted point of view, but also support corporate principles and methods are legion. Given that we are experiencing these nightmarish times concerning educational foundations and education in general, a book like The Social Foundations Reader: Critical Essays on Teaching, Learning and Leading in the 21st Century, with its stellar lineup of critical chapters, is an absolute necessity for those of who continue to struggle for social justice and a more humane world.


1. I-Ready is an individualized computer instruction program where all students and the teachers sit at computers and the interaction in class is on the computer. As the website from Curriculum Associates, an independently owned company selling programs to schools, states: “Based on the Diagnostic results, i-Ready automatically provides individualized online and teacher-led instruction targeted to each student’s unique needs. In addition, easy-to-read reports provide teachers with a detailed action plan for individual and group instruction and the tools to deliver that instruction in any style learning environment” (Curriculum Associates, 2015).

2. Giroux (2013) cites David Theo Goldberg, “The University We Are For,” Huffington Post (November 28, 2011). Online: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-theo-goldberg/university-california-protests_b_1106234.html

3. The edTPA website breaks down states’ participation in their assessments in the following way:

1. States that use edTPA as the assessment for teacher state licensure: Washington, Oregon, California, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, New York, Georgia, Tennessee, and Hawaii;

2. States moving toward implementation: Alabama and Ohio;

3. States participating in edTPA: Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Florida, Michigan, Indiana, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut. (AACTE, 2015)

4. See Reynolds (2013), pp. 233–235.

5. Reynolds (2013), p. 233.


American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. (2015). edTPA participation map. Retrieved from http://edtpa.aacte.org/state-policy

Bauman, Z. (1998). Globalization: The human consequences. New York: Columbia University Press.

Curriculum Associates (2015). What is an adaptive diagnostic? Retrieved from http://www.curriculumassociates.com/products/iready/iready-adaptive-diagnostic-assessment.aspx

Darder, A. (2011). A dissident voice: Essays on culture, pedagogy, and power. New York: Peter Lang.

Deleuze, G. (1995). Negotiations: 1972–1990 (M. Joughin, Trans.). New York: Columbia University Press. ← xiv | xv →

Giroux, H. A. (2012). Education and the crisis of public values: Challenging the assault on teachers, students, & public education. New York: Peter Lang.

Giroux, H. A. (2013). Beyond dystopian education in a neoliberal society. Fast Capitalism, 10.1. Retrieved from http://www.uta.edu/huma/agger/fastcapitalism/10_1/giroux10_1.html

Hartlep, N. D. & Porfilio, B. J. (2015). Revitalizing the field of educational foundations and PK-20 educator’s commitment to social justice and issues of equity in the age of neoliberalism. Educational Studies: A Journal of the American Educational Studies Association, 51(4), pp. 300–316.

Martusewicz, R. A. & Reynolds, W. M. (1994). Inside/out: Contemporary critical perspectives in education. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Pearson (2015). Assessment. Retrieved from http://www.pearsonassessments.com/teacherlicensure/edtpa.html

Reynolds, W. M. (2013). “Won’t back down”: Counter-narratives of visibility and vulnerability in a bleak house. In E. Daniels & B. J. Porfilio (Eds.), Dangerous counterstories in the corporate academy: Narrating for understanding, solidarity, resistance and community in the age of neoliberalism (pp. 225–240). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Singer, A. (2013, March 19). Pearson rakes in the profits. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-singer/pearson-education-profits_b_2902642.html

Zinn, H. (2009). The Zinn reader: Writing on disobedience and democracy. New York: Seven Stories Press.

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Eleanor J. Blair and Yolanda Medina

The relevance of introductory foundations of education classes to teacher preparation is often debated by those who would like to capture those credit hours for other purposes. And yet, these courses have survived decades of assaults and mutations that reflect efforts to accommodate the needs of competing interests, retaining content related to the historical, social and philosophical foundations of education. If truth is going to be told here, most students have few ideas about what the social foundations represent and many ideas about the lack of importance of these interdisciplinary courses to the practice of teaching in K–12 schools. With this fact in mind, the content of this textbook was selected in an attempt to present the most interesting and compelling ideas of foundations of education scholars within a critical context that promotes a connection between theory and practice. The goal here is to facilitate the development of teachers who actively question taken-for-granted assumptions about how we “do” schooling in the 21st century; teachers who will question not just the context for education, but the content as well.

In social foundations courses, students will often begin the journey from sitting in classrooms as students to leading classrooms of students. Within this context, the study of the social foundations of education has the potential to challenge students to understand the powerful roles and responsibilities of teachers while simultaneously encouraging them to consider how they will negotiate and reconcile the needs of diverse learners. In foundations of education classes, students begin to understand the multiple lenses through which schools can be viewed as both benevolent and malignant institutions, possessing the power to heal and promote or destroy the minds and souls of the children who show up on their doorsteps each year. Like many of my students, as a beginning teacher, I saw schools through the lens of my personal experience; my perspective was limited and seldom challenged by a consideration of the issues and concerns associated with diversity, equity and social justice. In this book, we attempt to introduce teachers to the questions attached to a critical analysis of contemporary schools through the interdisciplinary work of scholars who have significantly impacted our ideas about teaching and learning in the public domain. The discussion and dialogue that emerge from a consideration of these ← 1 | 2 → ideas will hopefully be characterized by more questions than answers and a growing certainty that there is no single solution for the problems faced by 21st century schools.

As social foundations professors, we constantly aspire to create courses that contain experiences that are relevant to students’ lives, both personally and professionally. However, we are also very aware that many students, both graduate and undergraduate, question the lack of relevance between social foundations courses and issues they are grappling with in 21st century schools. The critical pedagogical beliefs introduced in this text challenge students to consider the roles of privilege, oppression, and marginalization in their own educational experiences, and for many students, this produces discomfort. Students want to believe that they earned their place in the academy through hard work and personal merit; however, considering schools as political spheres where there is a strong correlation between power and privilege and access to knowledge shifts the focus of teaching and learning, and as such, redefines notions of success, achievement and merit. The discussion becomes even more complicated when one considers the tension between the democratic ideals espoused by Dewey (1897) and the private, corporate interests that seek to take over schools using egalitarian mantras that disguise the valuing of profit over ideology. Surprising to most students is the understanding that teaching is always political; there is no such thing as “just teaching”; within their own classrooms, teachers are pedagogical political entrepreneurs, and yet, praxis is often mediated by competing interests (and politics). John Goodlad (2004) was right on target when he suggested that “we must prepare teachers for the schools of tomorrow, not for the schools of today.” The students who will use this book are the teachers of tomorrow and preparing them to assume their roles as political actors on the frontlines of schools across American is no easy task. Meaningful reform of 21st century schools will demand that these students participate in creating educational spaces that challenge traditional notions of success and challenge the sources of oppression and marginalization. This textbook is a starting point on that journey, a journey that, by necessity, requires teacher leaders who function as 21st century change agents and participate in a redefinition of teacher roles and responsibilities.

Teachers, Schools and Society

A beginning point for understanding what happens in schools must, by necessity, begin with teachers. Historically, teaching has often been a temporary “blip” in the career paths of individuals on the way to somewhere else. Recently, Ravitch (2010) noted,

This reality is often obscured in discussions of school reform and accountability; the “talk” is all about making education a top priority, but no one is really talking about the fact that schools today still perpetuate myths regarding democratic schools that don’t acknowledge the systematic oppression and marginalization that occurs daily for both teachers and students working in these public institutions. Ultimately, and this is the fundamental argument in this book, teachers’ work and teachers’ voices must be the frontline of any meaningful reform of the schools. Only then will teaching and learning begin to embrace a 21st century ideology that critically examines teaching and learning as political acts embedded in the complexities of bureaucratic agencies operating on behalf of individuals representing corporate/capitalist interests in America. Giroux (2012) argues this point in the following:

Questions about teacher’s work, schools and schooling are related to school reform efforts in profound ways. Thinking about teachers’ work within the framework of critical ideologies provides both a challenge and impetus to address the daily assaults on teachers and public education. This book is about thinking about teachers, teaching and schools as revolutionary, transformational phenomena that have the potential of upending previous notions of what schooling and education represent in 21st century schools. Even when teachers get “it” and understand that education is much more than the quantified, minimalist definitions promoted by the accountability measures that have proliferated schools and classrooms, their desires to do more in schools and classrooms are often uninformed by an ideology that might shape and direct their actions with purpose and focus. In effect, teachers have been regularly positioned to enter a semi-profession, attempting to survive and take the road most frequently traveled, supporting the status quo and quickly get tenure.

Foundations of education scholars understand that the problems in public education are deeply engrained in the ideological wars that have dominated the public schools from the very beginning; the problems are resilient and resistant to easy solutions. These problems will require smart teachers doing smart things. Giroux (1988) argues, “In the broadest sense, teachers as intellectuals have to be seen in terms of the ideological and political interests that structure the nature of the discourse, classroom social relations, and values that they legitimate in their teaching … teachers should become transformative intellectuals if they are to educate students to be active, critical citizens” (p. 127). And herein lies the most important issue, the “problems” that exist in schools today are not just teaching and learning issues that can be solved through political actions and mandates. The “real problems” have a lot to do with teachers who are well-educated, but seldom given the authority to operate as intellectual decision-makers. As transformative intellectuals, teachers would be prepared at every level, both preservice and inservice, to assume roles as researchers and scholars as well as educational practitioners. Teachers would have the tools needed to analyze and design classrooms and schools that facilitate critical thought and action, while recognizing that teaching and learning are endeavors that require these environments to be structured in such a way that they are responsive to a constantly changing milieu. According to Giroux (1988), “central to the category of transformative intellectual is the necessity of making the pedagogical more political and the political more pedagogical” (p. 127). His discussion concludes with the idea that “transformative intellectuals need to develop a discourse that unites the language of critique with the language of possibility, so that social educators recognize they can make changes. In doing so, they must speak out against economic, political and social injustices both within and outside of schools” (p. 128). As teacher educators, we daily confront the chasm between preparing graduate students to teach in traditional school environs and teaching teachers as intellectuals who will enter teaching with a well-defined vision for their roles as teachers, a vision infused with hope and possibilities that will guide the choices and decisions they make as educational leaders. In this way, teacher leadership is redefined and represents a radical repositioning of conversations about teachers’ work and teacher leadership.

Teachers’ Work

Understanding teachers’ work is prerequisite to determining the kinds of changes that are necessary to support the ideological reform of schools through authentic teacher leadership in 21st century schools. In Steve Jobs’s commencement address at Stanford University, he spoke about connecting the dots in one’s life: “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever” (Stanford Report, 2005). And so, with this book, ← 3 | 4 → we are attempting to connect the dots in public education. If we had not chosen the path that each of us chose in education, we might not understand so clearly the juxtaposition between the “street level” vision of just getting a first teaching job and surviving, and the broader view attained by stepping back to look at the “big picture.” When we look back and connect the dots, do we use that knowledge to influence where we go from here? Do we continue to look at the present as merely a continuation of past errors or do we look up and begin to think about formulating a vision of how things can change? Obviously, we are hopeful about the future of public schools. We believe that if we can dream it, we have a chance of making it happen, but there has to be a dream, a vision informed by experience, hope and possibilities. Each teacher is different, but perhaps, the most important quality of a good teacher is simply the courage to act on convictions. Few individuals would dispute the notion that good schools must have extraordinary teachers, and as such, the future of public education my depend upon a critical mass of politically astute teacher leaders who are able to articulate a road map for teachers’ work that recognizes the important role of advocacy on behalf of all communities, parents and children. These teachers acting as critical pedagogues will be the foundation of a profession that achieves the levels of status and recognition that are prerequisite for the creation of schools that provide both the context and content of meaningful school reform.

Summary of the Sections of the Book

The authors chosen for this book are renowned scholars who are often cited in the current literature and who teach in the field of social foundations of education. These authors use interdisciplinary approaches that draw on knowledge from one or more of the liberal arts and humanities branches of history, sociology, philosophy, political science, law, anthropology, and cultural studies to critique and analyze societal structures that perpetuate oppression and privilege, and their effects on teaching practices. In this way, social foundations of education scholars have taken on the responsibility to:


XV, 364
ISBN (Softcover)
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2016 (April)
K-12 Teaching Education
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2016. 380 pp.

Biographical notes

Eleanor Blair (Volume editor) Yolanda Medina (Volume editor)

Eleanor Blair (PhD, University of Tennessee, Knoxville) is Associate Professor at Western Carolina University (WCU). She teaches foundations of education courses in curriculum, teacher leadership and history/philosophy of education at WCU and in Jamaica through the WCU-Jamaica program. Recent publications include a revised edition of Teacher Leadership: The «New» Foundations of Teacher Education: A Reader and Foundations of Education: Teachers, Teaching and Teacher Leadership in Diverse 21st Century Schools (forthcoming in 2016). Yolanda Medina is Associate Professor in the Teacher Education Department at BMCC/City University of New York. She is a co-editor of Latinas/os on the East Coast: A Critical Reader (Lang, 2015), and is the author of Critical Aesthetic Pedagogy: Toward a Theory of Self and Social Empowerment (2012) and of several articles and book chapters on critical pedagogy, cultural studies and aesthetic education. She is past president of the American Educational Studies Association (AESA) and vice president of the Maxine Greene Center for Aesthetic Education and Social Imagination.


Title: The Social Foundations Reader
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