Reading Against Democracy: The Broken Promises of Reading Instruction

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Thoughtful teachers, chafing at restrictions and mandates, are asking themselves, “How did it come to this?” Patrick Shannon's book provides fascinating, thoroughly-researched answers, with an empowering perspective and a hopeful path out of this current nonsense.
- Randy and Katherine Bomer
Authors of For a Better World

Education is not a disinterested process, nor does it foster many innocent bystanders ...

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Overview


Thoughtful teachers, chafing at restrictions and mandates, are asking themselves, “How did it come to this?” Patrick Shannon's book provides fascinating, thoroughly-researched answers, with an empowering perspective and a hopeful path out of this current nonsense.
- Randy and Katherine Bomer
Authors of For a Better World

Education is not a disinterested process, nor does it foster many innocent bystanders or casual observers. Pat helps us understand the players, the policies and the programs that influence classroom practices, research agendas, and literacy assessments, and provides the “big picture” of literacy education that enables us to comprehend today's educational landscape.
- Frank Serafini
Author of Lessons in Comprehension

This book is certain to inspire educators who are discouraged by recent developments to continue their work for equity, humanity, and social justice in our schools. It reminds us that we do not stand alone, but that there are, and there will continue to be, scores of dedicated educators seeking humane and thoughtful ways of helping children to learn.
- Catherine Compton-Lilly
Author of Confronting, Racism, Poverty, and Power

Patrick Shannon's Broken Promises was hailed by Language Arts as one of nine seminal references on literacy and inequality in education. But so much has changed, and worsened, since its publication that instead of revising his classic Shannon has written an almost entirely new book. The result, Reading Against Democracy, is Shannon's fully documented, up to date, and utterly convincing look at how businesses and political interests broke the promise that American education would teach students how to think, read, and write as citizens.

Shannon describes how business, government, and educational experts have consistently trumped the civic rationales for education with the economic. He explains how attempts to make instructional outcomes more predictable for business have led to a curricular formula that serves American students poorly at home as well as, ironically, in the global economy.

Think the goal of America's schools is to immerse students in literate behaviors so they can participate in America's rich democratic tradition? Think again. Reading Against Democracy is the book that lays out the whole story of where literacy education has gone wrong, where it's headed, and what steps we can take to make sure our children are educated like people, not trained like employees.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780325009766
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 2/13/2007
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Patrick Shannon's latest book with Heinemann is Closer Readings of the Common Core, an analysis and critique the Common Core State Standards. He and his colleagues seek answers to the big questions about standards (Common to whom? Core of What?) by examining the product and process of the CCSS document, its creation, and its adoption. A former preschool and primary grades teacher, Pat is currently a professor of education at The Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of numerous other Heinemann titles, including Reading Against Democracy (2005); Education, Inc. (2002); Becoming Political, Too (2001); iShop, You Shop (2001); Reading Poverty (1998); text, lies, & video tape: stories about life, literacy, & learning (1995); and Becoming Political: Readings and Writings in the Politics of Literacy Education (1992), all published by Heinemann.
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Table of Contents


Introduction     vii
Reading Instruction Before the Turn of the Twentieth Century     1
Early Attempts to Reform Reading Instruction     18
A Real Rationalization of Reading Instruction     36
Challenges to the Scientific Management of Reading Instruction     69
One Best Method: The Role of Government     96
The Business of Reading     125
The Scientific Solution     144
Teachers as Targets     166
A Process of Elimination     192
Then, Now, and Tomorrow     211
Notes     233
Index     265
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