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Teacher Leadership

The «New» Foundations of Teacher Education – A Reader – Revised edition


Edited By Eleanor Blair

Teacher leadership as a dimension of teachers’ work has never been more important. This topic has emerged as a major component of both state and national standards, and as such, it is included in most contemporary teacher education programs. Three decades of research have focused on teacher leadership as an essential element of school improvement, but its relationship to the potential transformation of the teaching profession remains unexplored. This revised edition of Teacher Leadership: The «New» Foundations of Teacher Education provides an overview of the scholarship being done in the field and a framework for questions and discussions regarding the sustainability of teacher leadership efforts. In this edition, each of the five sections is accompanied by an introduction and reflection questions on the various issues related to teachers acting as leaders in classrooms, schools and communities. The book opens with a completely new section that presents scholarship related to teacher leadership and social justice, where the role of ideology in the work of teacher leaders is considered. This book includes the work of over thirty authors and is an essential tool for guiding dialogue regarding the various facets of teacher leadership and its impact on school culture, student learning and professional learning communities within the context of twenty-first century school reform. Teacher Leadership: The «New» Foundations of Teacher Education – A Reader is intended for undergraduate and graduate education students.
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21. Busting out of the Teacher Cage


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Busting out of the Teacher Cage

Frederick M. Hess

Teacher leadership is popular today for a simple reason—it’s a terrific thing. And lots of people, from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to your corner grocer, have been telling teachers that they deserve to lead and to be heard. The harsh truth, though, is that no one deserves these things—whether one is a doctor, lawyer, cop, or teacher. While everyone can desire them, leadership and a seat at the table always must be earned.

This matters—a lot. Frustrated by schools and systems that consume their time and passion, teachers can find it all too easy to retreat to their classrooms. But doing so leaves them trapped in a classroom cage, stuck with systems and policies that they find frustrating or incoherent. Cage-busting teachers reach out in ways that identify the problems and surface workable solutions.

There are problems of policy and practice that befuddle teachers and need to be addressed. Consider the example of Alex Lopes, Florida Teacher of the Year in 2013. The state’s new teacher evaluation system mandated that 50% of a teacher’s evaluation be based on student achievement, with teachers in nontested grades scored using schoolwide achievement. As a preschool autism teacher, Lopes had no tested students; thus, he was judged using schoolwide results from his high-poverty, low-performing school. His score was predictably poor, with the result that...

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