Challenging the Assault on Teachers, Students, and Public Education – Second edition
1. In Defense of Public School Teachers in a Time of Crisis
The noble tradition that once viewed public school teaching as an important public service is in rapid decline in the United States. This democratic legacy, advanced by important scholars such as Jane Addams and John Dewey, valued teachers for providing a crucial educational foundation in the service of the greater social good. Educators were viewed as a valuable resource in teaching students how to take responsibility for their future, develop an unrelenting fidelity to justice, and hone their ability to discriminate between rigorous arguments and heavily charged opinions. Such an education focused on enabling young people to develop the values, skills, and knowledge required for them to enter adult life as critical citizens capable of questioning “common sense,” official knowledge, public opinion, and the dominant media. Developing the conditions for students to be critical agents was viewed as central to the very process of teaching and learning and was part of the broader project of enabling students to both shape and expand democratic institutions. Since the 1980s, however, teachers have faced an unprecedented attack by those forces that view schools less as a public good than as a private right. Seldom accorded the well-deserved status of public intellectuals in the current educational climate, teachers remain the most important component in the learning process for students, while also serving as a moral compass to gauge how seriously a society invests in its youth and in the future. Yet teachers are now being deskilled, unceremoniously removed from the process of...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.