Dark Side Of School Reform

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The Dark Side of School Reform directly engages some of the more difficult aspects of working as an educator in a public school. This book investigates what it means to teach, lead, and live during times of ongoing and intense change and offers insights which might help committed professionals better serve the needs of students as they seek to implement their own reforms in the ever-shifting organizations public schools have become. Features: · A qualitative case study that used a sociological conceptual framework to explore teachers' professional and personal lives as they implemented reform initiatives in a single public school over a two-year period · Important and specific problems associated with school reform efforts and offers practitioner-oriented solutions that may aid educators in their efforts to facilitate meaningful educational change. For teachers, school administrators, staff members, professors of education, graduate students, sociologists, and policymakers.

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Editorial Reviews

Teacher Leaders Network
In his qualitative account, peppered with some of the requisite sociological and educational vocabulary, Brooks serves as both mirror and interpreter, but more accurately as a lens through which we enter the reality of teachers' lives within a school continually caught between the lights and shadows of reform. The spectrum of teachers is visible, from neophyte to veteran (literally and figuratively), coach to department chair, bitter to hopeful, individual to team player, technophobe to technophile, withdrawn to engaged. Some 22 teachers are quoted, some at great length, transcribed from taped interviews.
Reference and Research Book News
Brooks recounts the experiences of a group of public high school teachers over a span of two years and how reform in their school affected their work and personal lives. Through interviews and observations and using a narrative structure, he describes effects these reforms had on the pace of the school day and year, changes in teacher duties, and maintaining policies and procedures.
Gerald R. Lopez
Education reform efforts generally start off with good intentions, but often lose their effectiveness as they unfold within the daily life of schools. The Dark Side of School Reform is a skillfully-written book that speaks to a wide variety of audiences about this deterioration, but does not alienate any of them. Indeed, policy-makers, researchers, teachers, administrators, and vested constituents alike are bound to find this book approachable, insightful, and useful.
Gregory Michie
Jeff Brooks' perceptive account plunges us headfirst into the everyday messiness of school reform at ground level, where teachers struggle mightily to hold on to their ideals amid the whirlwind that whips around them. In an educational universe where the wisdom of classroom practitioners is too often disregarded, Brooks' greatest contribution may be his willingness to listen carefully to teachers and to take seriously what they have to say.
William Ayers
Teaching is intellectual and ethical work, transcendent work that at its best encourages students to reach the full measure of their humanity. Teaching is also gritty work-grinding, draining, backbreaking, mind wrecking, and as common as mud. How do teachers experience these conflicting pulls? How do we understand the contradictions at the heart of what we do? How do we negotiate the turbulence? Jeffrey Brooks dives directly into the whirlwind, and invites us to sail along with him. It is not an easy ride, but it is well worth it. In this book he provides a nuanced and complex look at that special place between heaven and earth where every teacher must somehow make a life.
Bruce S. Cooper
While Jeffrey Brooks portrays the dark side of being a teacher, he does it in a shining, even brilliant multifaceted (like a diamond) style. The effect, not depressing, is exciting and engaging, as is teaching itself. Through multiple lenses, he focuses, for example, on a single teacher's struggle, a group of teachers and their school, culture, roles, duties, experiences, contradictions, and problems. Brooks is right there in the book with the teachers, feeling and interacting. For as one teacher, Jim, asked, 'Why can't you use common language to describe something so common?' The author's response: 'Okay, Jim, maybe I will. Thanks.' But nothing's common about this marvelous book.
Julie Gawarecki
The Dark Side of School Reform is an eye-opening look at the difference between appearance and reality in schools today. There will be laughter, tears, and gasps as you read the journey one school has taken. This book will serve as an inspiring and practical tool for school leaders.
Lisa D. Delpit
Skillfully captured in teachers' real voices, this account of a school reform effort draws the reader in so deeply that you'll feel as though you're an invisible presence in busy classrooms and hot and crowded meeting rooms. The writing is superb and the message is enlightening.
Roy F. Fox
With a filmmaker's eye for detail and resonance, Jeff Brooks immerses readers in the voices of teachers who care deeply about what they do-in spite of the daily suffocations of bureaucracies and the constant stream of "reform movements.
Catherine A. Lugg
Evocative, provocative, and very well written. Brooks delves into the shifting complexities of multiple and contradictory school reforms, shedding light on how the layering of these competing demands shapes the lived worlds of teachers. It is 'a must-read' for policy entrepreneurs, political leaders, school board members, educational leaders, teachers, researchers, and anyone who cares about public education.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781578863051
  • Publisher: R&L Education
  • Publication date: 1/1/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 210
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey S. Brooks is assistant professor of educational leadership at Florida State University.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Foreword Chapter 2 Acknowledgments Chapter 3 Introduction: Exploring the Dark Side of School Reform Chapter 4 Theschooldayisfastandtheschoolyearisfaster! Chapter 5 Add Duties, Subtract Duties; Add Responsibility, Subtract Responsibility; Add Rigmarole, Subtract Rigmarole Chapter 6 Teaching as an Everyday Ambiguity: Who Is Doing What, Where, When, Why, and How? Chapter 7 The "Old Guard" versus the "New Way" Chapter 8 Snake Charmers in the Star Chamber Chapter 9 Strangers in a Strange School: Isolated Instructors, Divided Departments, Fractured Faculty Chapter 10 There's No "I" in the Word "School" Chapter 11 Distraction + Disorientation = Disaffection Chapter 12 Leading with Smoke and Mirrors: Of Misty Missions, Vague Values, and Floating Philosophies Chapter 13 Coda or Refrain? Reforming Again and Again and Again and Again... Chapter 14 Teaching in the Space between Reality and Utopia Chapter 15 Methodological Appendix

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