Education today is increasingly focused on tests and testing. Teachers are being judged on how much they can increase test scores from one year to the next. These year-to-year gains in scores are part of a "value-added" approach to teacher evaluation, and value-added teacher assessment is all the rage now. A main point of this book is that while teachers do add value when they enable students to increase their performance on standardized tests, this is neither the only nor the most important value they add. An ...
Education today is increasingly focused on tests and testing. Teachers are being judged on how much they can increase test scores from one year to the next. These year-to-year gains in scores are part of a "value-added" approach to teacher evaluation, and value-added teacher assessment is all the rage now. A main point of this book is that while teachers do add value when they enable students to increase their performance on standardized tests, this is neither the only nor the most important value they add. An analysis of 40 years of data on teachers suggests that an equally if not more important value added is their contribution to the stability of our increasingly unsteady democracy. Teachers help steady modern democracy by teaching children the limits of liberty and by cultivating the social virtues -- trust, cooperation, helpfulness, and the like -- upon which civil society depends. We need not only to recognize this but also to avoid education policies that undermine their willingness and ability to do so.
This excellent book balances larger philosophical issues with empirical data, resulting in a thought-provoking book for teachers, students, and researchers. Historically, teachers have been held to high standards of professional and personal conduct. These high standards are premised on the assumption that teachers are role models for their students and communities. Serving as a role model, moreover, assumes that the teacher deliberately shares values with children as opposed to modeling behaviors and ideas in a less direct fashion. Slater has written a book on these topics that achieves three things. First, it provides a rich context from which to consider teachers and teaching (chapter 1) and values and valuing (chapter 2). Second, it provides empirical data regarding what teachers believe about topics such as family values, religion, various social issues, freedom, equality, and science (chapters 3 through 8). Finally, Slater uses this data to contemplate how the position of the teacher and the expression of values within schools are essential to stabilize the contradictory ideas within a democracy (e.g., freedom while living and learning in a community). Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers, undergraduate students, graduate students, and research faculty.
This elegantly written book is a profound philosophical analysis of the values that American teachers espouse. Based on vast statistical data Dr. Slater explores the current beliefs and attitudes of the US school teachers and poses many questions, among which: What values do American teachers hold? How do they teach these values? Is freedom among the values they teach? Some readers may disagree with the author's conclusions. In fact, some readers may even dislike these conclusions; however, the controversies the book stirs are the results of exploring the uncharted areas in the US school education. Beside being a great read, the book offers a fresh and original strokes to the portrait of the contemporary American teacher.
Robert Slater holds a Master's degree from Harvard University and a PhD from the University of Chicago. A Senior Fulbright Scholar to Peru in 1996, and again to Bolivia 2010, his teaching, research and writing focuses on education and the vicissitudes of democracy. He is Professor of Education at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he directs the doctoral program in educational leadership and coordinates research development for the Cecil J. Picard Center.
PART I Teachers, Teaching and Values
Chapter 1 Teachers and Teaching
Chapter 2 Values and Valuing
PART II Teachers’ Values
Chapter 3 Family and Children's Values
Chapter 4 Religion
Chapter 5 Social Values: Trust, Helpfulness and Fairness
Chapter 6 Freedom
Chapter 7 Equality
Chapter 8 Science
PART III Teachers' Values and Democracy
Chapter 9 Teachers' Values In Unsteady Democracy