Against School Reform (And In Praise Of Great Teaching)

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In the midst of the continuing controversy over the right ways to bring change to American schools, Peter Temes’s book is a firebell in the night. In Against School Reform Mr. Temes sets out a straightforward prescription for our schools which centers on the life of the individual teacher and rejects the billion-dollar school reform industry. He argues that enormous monies and millions of hours of effort have gone into reforming American schools in the past ten years, and we have precious little to show for it. As we enter a critical period in American history—a growing population, an uncompromising demand for well-educated workers, and the complexities of world politics impacting ordinary people every day—there is not more time or money to waste. In Mr. Temes’s view, great teachers are the secret to making better schools. Forget the macro issues of school reform, he advises, and focus on recruiting, retaining, and supporting the very best teachers. Teaching will once again become an elite profession, and school problems will go the way of the trolley car. Against School Reform digs deep into the qualities of great teaching, with stories from real schools and with practical advice for parents, teachers, and students who want to celebrate and support great teachers. It also takes a serious look at what our schools must do to recruit and reward the best teachers in the coming era of teacher shortages. Finally, the book celebrates the power of individual teachers to make a difference in their schools and communities, as forces for bottom-up change. More tests won’t fix our schools, Mr. Temes writes. Bigger, better ideas about education won't fix things either. But great teachers can fix our schools, one classroom at a time.

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Editorial Reviews

Earl Shorris
Peter Temes has located the magical point where education takes place, and shown in clear, straightforward prose how to make it work better.
Daniel Asa Rose
A cogent and stylish writer who brings zestful insights to his subject.... Urgent reading.
Ilan Stavans
A no-nonsense thinker with a style that is crisp, intelligent, and allergic to dishonesty...a courageous book that dares to speak out.
J. Michael Adams
A powerful and impactful book!
Baltimore Sun
The book is inspiring and beautifully written.
New York Sun
The central concept of this book, the reform of teacher selection and a renewed emphasis on educational improvement from the classroom on up, is both inspired and inspiring.
Tampa Tribune
A very timely book...with an accessible, cogent writing style.
The Historian
This book is useful for all participants in the discussion on reform of education.
The central concept of this book, the reform of teacher selection and a renewed emphasis on educational improvement from the classroom on up, is both inspired and inspiring.
Temes argues passionately for what he believes. It should serve as a good lesson for those studying the issue.
Temes...argues persuasively that the key to improving American education is to focus less on systemic reform and more on providing greater support for the individual classroom teachers who are at the heart of the enterprise.
The book is inspiring and beautifully written.
Historian Magazine
This book is useful for all participants in the discussion on reform of education.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566635271
  • Publisher: Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
  • Publication date: 1/28/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.16 (w) x 8.08 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter S. Temes is president of the Antioch New England Graduate School and formerly head of the Great Books Foundation. He has taught at every level of American education, including a course on the moral principles of war at Harvard University and the University of Chicago. His has also written The Just War. He lives in Fairfield, Connecticut.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 5
1 The State of Our Schools, and the Big Lie of School Reform 13
2 Keeping It Real: Education and Dialogue 53
3 Making It New: Education as Experiment 83
4 Recruiting and Retaining the Right Teachers 107
5 Why Lasting Change Always Comes from the Bottom Up and the Inside Out 139
6 How to Make Change - Some Do's and Don'ts for Teachers, Administrators, and Parents 161
7 Everyone's Work 201
Suggested Reading 205
Index 213
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2004

    Super ideas for improving schools

    This book says what few others have - - that what's best about schools that work is the teachers. They need support, and protection from the school-reform racket. Lots of big ideas here, from Plato to Dewey, but the core is common sense.

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