The «New» Foundations of Teacher Education – A Reader – Revised edition
Edited By Eleanor Blair
Introduction to Section Four
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Images of teacher leaders in twenty-first-century schools are often contradictory and confusing. Teachers are important, tireless leaders and mentors to our children, and yet, simultaneously, they are held accountable for the demise of public education as measured by high-stakes tests and various accountability measures. Teachers are both heroes and villains in the theatre of public education. There are no winners in this scenario, and concessions to the lowest expectations for public schools seem to dictate that more control and regulation will somehow make schools better. And thus it is really no surprise that twenty-first-century teachers are often “locked” into arbitrary and strictly defined roles, where thinking and creativity are seldom rewarded and unquestioning obedience is considered an asset. Twenty-first-century teachers are considerably better educated than their twentieth-century counterparts; however, the circumstances of their work have not changed significantly. On a daily basis, teachers routinely enter a profession where they are given a curriculum that is measured by high-stakes tests that define teaching and learning efficacy as student scores on high-stakes tests and opportunities for teacher leadership are limited and strictly prescribed to ensure compliance to externally imposed mandates.
School reform that embraces notions about teacher leadership frequently focuses on superficial changes that redefine teachers’ work as compliance, not advocacy. In lieu of creating spaces that accommodate the need for reflection, inquiry, and dialogue by teachers, schools are still designed around business models that focus on outcomes, not process or progress....
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