In Praise of American Educators: And How They Can Become Even Better

In Praise of American Educators: And How They Can Become Even Better

by Richard DuFour


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Explore the state of education today. In this thought-provoking book, the author presents a compelling case for why contemporary American educators are the greatest generation in history. He carefully explains why current national reform policies have failed and presents specific steps policymakers, administrators, and teachers must take to transform American schools to meet student needs in the 21st century.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781942496571
Publisher: Solution Tree Press
Publication date: 07/20/2015
Pages: 312
Sales rank: 758,097
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

About the Author xvii

Foreword xix

Introduction 1

1 Educators Under Attack 5

We Have Found the Enemy, and It's … Teachers 10

2 The Phony Crisis 15

Record-Setting High School Grad nation Rates 15

More Students Succeeding in a More Rigorous Curriculum 16

Steadily Improving Test Scores 16

Parent Satisfaction 18

Student-Teacher Relations 18

Meeting the Needs of All Students 19

The Rationale for Attacking Educators 21

3 The Firings Will Continue Until Morale Improves 29

Assumption One: Charter Schools Will Improve Other Public Schools 30

Assumption Two: Providing Vouchers to Send Students to Other Public or Private Schools Will Improve Public Schools 34

Assumption Three: More Testing Means More Accountability 38

Assumption Four: Intensive Supervision and Evaluation Will Lead to the Dismissal of Ineffective Teachers 39

Assumption Five: Value-Based Testing Provides a Valid Way to Reward Effective Teachers and Dismiss Ineffective Teachers 43

Assumption Six: Merit Pay Will Improve Teaching and Therefore Improve Schools 50

Assumption Seven: Closing Low-Performing Schools Will Improve Remaining Schools 52

The Proof Is in the Pudding 53

4 Learning From High-Performing Countries 55

Singapore 56

Finland 57

The United States 60

Assessing an Unproven Theory 62

More Effective Policies 66

The Educators We Deserve? 82

5 A Word About Teacher Unions 85

Teacher Tenure 88

Last In, First Out 90

Support Alternative Ways to Compensate Teachers 92

Support Conditions for Professional Learning Communities 93

6 Laying the Foundation of a Professional Learning Community 97

Laying the Foundation of the PLC Process 99

Mission: Why Do We Exist? 101

Vision: What Must We Become? 108

Collective Commitments (Values): How Must We Behave? 110

Goals: How Will We Mark Our Progress? 113

How Long Docs It Take to Build a Shared Foundation? 115

Not Just Words on a Piece of Paper 117

7 The Imperative of a Collaborative Culture 121

Laying the Groundwork for a Powerful Collaborative Culture 124

Achieving Clarity Regarding the Right Work 135

8 Providing Students with Access to a Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum 137

Creating the 21st Century Curriculum 140

District Approaches to Curriculum Development 142

How to Establish a Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum 149

Moving Toward What Works 153

9 Assessment to Inform and Improve Professional Practice 157

Ongoing Formative Assessment in the Classroom 160

Team-Developed Common Formative Assessment 163

The Power of Team-Developed Common Formative Assessment 169

The Benefits of Team-Developed Common Formative Assessments 175

Common Formative Assessments: The Great Persuader 177

Overcoming Traditional Obstacles to Using Common Formative Assessments 180

Taking the Necessary Steps 188

10 Ensuring Every Student Succeeds 189

Special Education 192

More Recent Efforts to Provide Interventions 195

Observations on Typical Interventions 198

What We Must Do to Ensure High Levels of Learning for Every Student 200

Nondiscretionary Elements of Effective Systems of Intervention (What's Tight) 201

The Challenge Ahead 220

11 The Principal as Lead Learner 223

Dispersing Leadership 225

Creating Clarity and Coherence 228

Servant Leadership and Reciprocal Accountability 231

Monitoring the Work of Teams 233

Building Consensus and Responding to Resistance 235

The Importance of a Willingness to Confront 237

Celebration as Communication 241

The Role of the Principal 245

The Greatest Generation of Educators 247

References and Resources 255

Index 281

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