Book Reviews Perspective

The teacher wars: a history of America’s most embattled profession

"In the absence of these 'bridging instruments' between policy and practice, I fear American politics will continue to reflect profound disappointment in teachers, and teachers themselves will continue to feel embattled. But there is hope. If we accept the limitations of our decentralized political system, we can move toward a future in which sustainable and transformative education reforms are seeded from the ground up, not imposed from the top down. They will be built more upon the expertise of the best teachers than on our fears of the worst teachers. This is how we will achieve an end to teacher wars." -Dana Goldstein, The Teacher Wars: A History of America's Most Embattled Profession

In the epilogue of her book, titled "Lessons from history for improving teaching today," Dana Goldstein makes the following recommendations for improving the teaching profession and the quality of our schools:

1. Teacher pay matters.
2. Create communities of practice.
3. Keep teaching interesting.
4. Deal with the legacy of the normal school.
5. Focus on the principal as much as the teacher.
6. Return tests to their rightful role as diagnostic tools.
7. Teachers benefit from watching each other work.
8. Recruit more men and people of color.
9. End outdated union protections.
10. Let a thousand policy flowers bloom.
11. Be real about the limitations of our system.

About the author

Stuart Egan is an English teacher at West Forsyth High School in Winston Salem, North Carolina.

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