If the essential acts of teaching are the same for schoolteachers and professors, why are they seen as members of quite separate professions? Would the nation’s schools be better served if teachers shared more of the authority that professors have long enjoyed? Will a slow revolution be completed that enables schoolteachers to take charge of their practice—to shoulder more responsibility for hiring, mentoring, promoting, and, if necessary, firing their peers?
This book explores these questions by analyzing the essential acts of teaching in a way that will help all teachers become more thoughtful practitioners. It presents portraits of teachers (most of them women) struggling to take control of their practice in a system dominated by an administrative elite (mostly male). The educational system, Gerald Grant and Christine Murray argue, will be saved not by better managers but by better teachers. And the only way to secure them is by attracting talented recruits, developing their skills, and instituting better means of assessing teachers’ performance.
Grant and Murray describe the evolution of the teaching profession over the last hundred years, and then focus in depth on recent experiments that gave teachers the power to shape their schools and mentor young educators. The authors conclude by analyzing three equally possible scenarios depicting the role of teachers in 2020.