Teacher education: Demands from the boundaries

TEACHER EDUCATION: DEMANDS FROM THE BOUNDARIES

Héctor Gómez Universidad Católica Silva Henríquez (Santiago, Chile)

Fernando Murillo Universidad Alberto Hurtado and Universidad Católica Silva Henríquez (Santiago, Chile) UBC PhD Student

Tuesday October 14, 2015 Noon – 1:00pm UBC Scarfe 1209

[See link to presentation slides below]

Gómez and Murillo will discuss their new book Formacion docente: demandas desde la frontera [Teacher Education: Demands from the Boundaries], a collection of essays that gives voice to perspectives and approaches frequently absent from traditional practices, but are fundamental to the transformative possibilities of teacher education.

The essays are situated within a postcolonial perspective in dialogue with queer theory, inviting a rethinking of current discursive practices around the curriculum of teacher education, asking – among other things – Where do these discourses and practices come from? What gives them legitimacy?, What effects do they have? as a way to problematize the ways in which the curriculum of teacher education is responsible of signifying, appropriating and reproducing identitarian configurations, as well as problematize ways of thinking that discipline and configure certain modalities of life projects through their formative action.

About the speakers

Héctor Gómez: Bachelor in Education – Teacher of History and Social Sciences, Master of Arts in Education and Curriculum. Professor and researcher at the Faculty of Education of Universidad Católica Silva Henríquez. Head of the Curriculum Unit at Universidad Católica Silva Henríquez in Santiago, Chile.

Fernando Murillo: Bachelor in Education – Teacher of English as a Foreign Language, Master of Arts in Education and Curriculum, UBC PhD student. Former curriculum advisor and policy maker for the Ministry of Interior, Government of Chile. Professor and curriculum advisor at Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities, Universidad Alberto Hurtado and Universidad Católica Silva Henríquez in Santiago, Chile.

Gomez & Murillo PPT

Teacher Ed Demands from the  Boundaries

BC Teachers’ Strike: Analyzing the government’s bargaining strategy & its “affordability” trope

Published in Rabble.ca on Friday, September 12, 2014 as:

B.C. schools could be open Monday, if the government wanted

Public schools in British Columbia could be open Monday, if the government wanted.

On Wednesday, in nearly unanimous fashion, members of the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation voted to walk from the picket lines into their classrooms, if the B.C. Liberal government would agree to binding arbitration on all issues, except the most contentious, class size and composition, which is currently before the courts.

Prior to the teachers’ vote government rejected the idea, twice. Education Minister Peter Fassbender called the teachers’ effort to get the schools open by going to binding arbitration, “absolutely silly” and “a ploy.”  The former advertising salesman who has been the face of a formidable government PR campaign seemed uncharacteristically perturbed.

In recent weeks, the government’s strategy has become increasingly transparent. Forcing teachers to choose between financial hardship, perhaps ruin, or protecting court victories over a government that stripped class size and composition language from their contract 12 years ago.

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that the provincial government infringed on teachers’ Charter rights when it stripped class size and composition language from their contract in 2002. Justice Susan Griffin gave the government a year to solve the problem.

In 2012, the legislature enacted new legislation that had same effect as the old and, in January 2012, Justice Griffin’s ruled in favor of the teachers again.

Former crown prosecutor Sandy Garossino told Global TV,

“Over and over and over again, [Justice Griffin] goes through a litany of examples of where the government really never intended to negotiate in good faith with the union at all. It’s very hard to get past that ruling, and it really does in my view cast a completely different view on the nature of the negotiations that are going on now. The credibility of the government is certainly in question.”

Government is appealing Justice Griffin’s decision and it is scheduled to be heard next month by the B.C. Court of Appeals.

Meantime, government wants to negotiate its way out of court losses by insisting teachers accept a contract clause, known as E80, which the union and legal experts say abrogates teachers’ court victories requiring government to restore class size and composition language to teachers’ contracts. E80 is a poison pill the union refuses to swallow.

Throughout negotiations government has argued that B.C. teachers’ demands are unaffordable. It would be more accurate to say that the B.C. Liberals have prioritized cutting taxes for the rich and corporations over providing adequate funding for public services such as education and child welfare.

The key factors in affordability are size of the economy and tax rates.

B.C. Liberals waltzed into the legislature in 2001 and started an unprecedented program of inequitable tax cuts. As a result, B.C. now has a regressive tax system. A Broadbent Institute report released this week points out that in the B.C. the poor are now paying more in all taxes as a percentage of income than the rich.

B.C. Liberals’ tax cuts over the past 10 years have benefited the richest 1 per cent of British Columbians to the tune of $41,000 per year, while the bottom 40 per cent have benefited by an average of $200 per year.

Both the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Conference Board of Canada agree that despite the elimination of the provincial deficit and the recently announced $353 million surplus, overall spending as a share of the provincial GDP is shrinking and will reach a record low in 2017.

In August, the Conference Board report “British Columbia Fiscal Snapshot: Back on Solid Groupnd” said the B.C. government will have to spend $1.6 billion more than it has budgeted on education to maintain a constant level of spending over the next three years.

With the B.C. near the bottom in provincial per student education funding and B.C. teachers near the bottom in average salary, government has budgeted 0.6 per cent increases for K-12 education the next three years. That’s not a typo.

While the provincial budget conservatively projects revenue increases at 8 percent annually, it has budgeted less than a one per cent annual increase in the budget for B.C. schools.

The current B.C. budget projects the economy to grow by almost 20 per cent over the next five years, before inflation. And the government estimates teachers’ demands for wages, class size and composition funding would add up to nearly 15 per cent over same period.

What Minister Fassbender really means when he says the province cannot afford teachers’ demands is that government has not budgeted enough to education to meet teachers’ demands.

The funding model for public education in B.C. reflects the ideological principle that more of the public’s collective wealth should be devoted to maximizing private profits rather than serving public needs.

The teachers have proven they’re serious about getting back to work. The B.C. Liberals remained intractable in their devotion to an ideology that is fundamentally anti-social.

Why paying teachers for student test scores is a bad idea

While everyone in British Columbia is paying attention to the teachers’ strike, the Fraser Institute launched its latest effort to marketize education. This week the Fraser Institute, a neoliberal think tank, released a report promoting incentivized pay for teachers.

Teacher Incentive Pay That Works, summarizes 10 “case studies” from around the globe, which the Fraser Institute argues illustrates successful incentive pay programs. The press release for the report is titled “Evidence shows teacher incentive pay improves student performance,” which is ironic since the report ignores the long history of these schemes, and studiously avoids the details of the debate around value-added measurements in the United States (which is currently enthralled in a public revolt against test-driven education), as well as evidence illustrating damage done to schools and learning under such schemes.

The Illusion of Paying Teachers for Performance

… history shows that any pay-for-performance gains are mostly illusions. Not only do they fail to improve student achievement, they are also destructive, encouraging administrators and teachers to cheat by manipulating statistics, or by teaching to the test. Inevitably, children wind up the losers because curricula are narrowed to include subjects that can be taught by drill and repetition and that are easily measured. (Wilms & Chapleau, 1999)

Wilms and Chapleau note that pay-for-performance was first rolled out in England, around 1710! Teachers’ salaries were based on their students’ scores on examinations in the “three ‘Rs.” “This early payment-for-results system had great appeal because it promised to help keep children from poor families in school, where they might learn the basics.”

The scheme became a permanent fixture in English schools by 1862 (as part of the Revised Education Code) and was in effect for over 30 years. Historical accounts of England’s scheme describe teachers and administrators as becoming obsessed with the systems financial rewards, which according to Wilms and Chapleau were dubbed “the cult of the [cash] register.”

Curriculum was narrowed to include just the easily measured basics. The sciences and the arts, along with many other non-tested activities disappeared from schools (foreshadowing the disappearance of recess from elementary schools in the United States as a result of the test driven reforms like Obama’s Race To The Top).

Teaching became increasingly mechanical, as teachers found that drill and rote repetition produced the “best” results. One schools inspector wrote an account of children reading flawlessly for him while holding their books upside down.

The English system of pay for performance produced a mechanical approach to teaching and learning that eroded teacher creativity. Standards for student success (or failure) were spelled out in detail (just as the new Fraser Institute reports as a “Key Lesson 1″ in their study, “Define what we expect teachers to do.”)

An inspector wrote that the Education Code “did all the thinking for the teacher; it told him in precise detail what he was to do each year.” Another recalled, “Every teacher in the country takes his orders from the Code, studies the Code, and devotes his energies to satisfy or to circumvent it.”

Predictably the English system imploded in a cheating scandal that included falsification of records and teachers coaching student through examinations, not unlike the recent massive cheating scandal in Atlanta, Georgia and across the USA, which highlights deleterious effects of test-driven education.

the overwhelming judgment was that it was unsound policy. Cynics referred to schools as “grant factories” and children as “grant-earning units.”

In the later third of the 19th Century, teacher pay-by-results appeared briefly in Canada. Student achievement initially rose but, as in England, teachers started to focus on students who were most likely to succeed, turning their classrooms into test prep centres. By 1883 the Canadian experiment ended as a result of public outrage.

One hundred years later in the United States, the Nixon administration funded an experiment in “performance contracting” in which school funding was tied to students standardized test scores. The experiment provided incentives for administrators, teachers, and students. Private contractors, who were suppose to bring innovation and business know-how to the effort, were given contracts in 18 cities to raise student achievement levels in reading and math.

Turns out contractors offered no pedagogical innovations only teaching to the test. The project was declared a failure in the midst of poor results and a cheating scandal.

As Wilms and Chapleau illustrate, the wake of pay-for-results education reforms is strewn with detritus of dishonest behaviour (cheating, falsifying records) and teaching to the test.

Similar incentive efforts in the 1990s and the recent examples of cheating scandals in Atlanta and Texas prove that incentive pay reform is a failed idea.

Flawed Logic of Performance Pay

Donald Gratz, the author of Perils and Promise of Performance Pay, describes the flawed logic of incentive pay plans that aim to boost student achievement.

False assumptions #1: Teachers lack motivation.

Teachers care about their students and want them to succeed. “Does anyone really think that large numbers of teachers know what their students need but are willfully withholding it? That they would help students learn more, if only someone offered them a bonus to do so? This is a highly cynical view of teachers, one that teachers understandably find demeaning, not motivational.”

False Assumption #2: Schools are Failing

The manufactured crisis of school failure is a basis for corporate education reform or what is also called the Global Education Reform Movement (Berliner & Biddle, 1995). This is not to say that there aren’t troubled schools or that public schools do not need to be improved, but most students have higher levels of academic achievement now than in the past.

False Assumption #3: Measuring Academic Achievement is All that Counts

“If we want students to develop as well-rounded human beings who are empathetic, thoughtful, and creative, we will have to include these characteristics among our goals for schools and seek ways to gauge our success. A system that rewards schools, students, and teachers only for test scores will get mostly test scores. This is not what most of us want for our children.”

And What About the Research on Incentive Pay?

The National Center for Fair and Open Testing has compiled information surveying the research on paying teaching for test scores and concludes that it is a practice that damages schools and undermines learning.

Paying for higher test scores creates score inflation, not genuine learning. Paying for test scores encourages teaching to the test, which creates inflated results without improving learning. (Koretz, 2009; Madaus, Ressell & Higgins, 2009; Nichols & Berliner, 2007)

Payment for performance narrows the curriculum to what is tested and leads to reduced focus on or elimination of important subjects, such as social studies, science, art, music, and physical education. (McMurrer, 2007; Morton & Dalton, 2007)

It is unfair and ineffective to pay teachers for test results that are often marred by scoring and other errors. (Rhoades & Madaus, 2003).

Payment for gains in student scores does not solve the problem of test-induced educational damage. There are too many flaws in “value-added” measurement approaches to trust the results. (McCaffrey, et al., 2005; Bracey, 2007; National Research Council, 2009)

Most teachers’ primary motivation is not high pay. If it were, they would have chosen another profession. Teachers know test scores are a poor barometer of their abilities, so pay for performance damages rather than enhances their sense of professionalism and morale (Whitford & Jones, 2000; Nichols & Berliner, 2007). It can decrease motivation (Ryan & LaGuardia, 1999). Payment for “performance” also has been shown to increase cheating (Pfeffer, 2007).

Payment for test scores may not even to raise student scores and has been shown in one country to reduce scores. This is despite the extensive evidence of score inflation from teaching the test (Martins, 2009; Springer, Podgursky, & Lewis, 2009).

Paying individual teachers for student scores encourages unhealthy competition. Incentive pay may reduce cooperation among teachers and can cause divisions among staff and parents (MacInnis, 2009; Pfeffer, 2007). In addition the OECD has recently released a report that says competition in education is a failed policy. The bottom-line:

Research on pay for performance finds that it rests on dubious assumptions and lacks evidence it succeeds, and there is good evidence that it often fails.

References

Berliner, D. C., & Biddle, B. J. (1995). The manufactured crisis: Myths, fraud, and the attack on America’s public schools. New York: Basic Books.

Bracey, J. 2007. Evaluating value added. FairTest Examiner, July. http://www.fairtest.org/whats-value-growth- measures

Bradshaw, W. J., & Gallup, A. M. (2008, September). Americans speak out: Are educators and policy makers listening? Phi Delta Kappan, 90(10), 7–31.

Gratz, D. B. (2009). Perils and promise of performance pay. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

Koretz, D. (2009, April 29). What’s Missing in Obama’s Education Plan? Education Week. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2009/04/29/30koretz_ep.h28.html?tkn=QTLFEqyaUfgkzI4vRyp6Q0c2kzhDTpngNM 9B&print=1

MacInnes, G. (2009). Eight reasons not to tie teacher pay to standardized test results. Century Foundation Issue Brief. http://www.tcf.org/publications/education/gordon%20brief.pdf

Madaus, G., Russell, M., & Higgins, J. (2009). The Paradoxes of high stakes testing. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Press.

Martins, P. (2009, March). Individual teacher incentives, student achievement and grade inflation. Queen Mary, University of London, CEG-IST and IZA, Discussion Paper No. 4051.

McCaffrey, D., Koretz, D., Lockwood, J.R., & Hamilton, L. (2005). Evaluating value-added models for teacher accountability. Santa Monica: RAND Corporation.

McMurrer, J. (2007). Choices, changes, and challenges: Curriculum and instruction in the NCLB Era. Center on Education Policy. http://www.cep-dc.org/

Morton, B. & Dalton, B. (2007). Changes in instructional hours in four subjects by public school teachers of grades 1 through 4 (Issue Brief). National Center for Education Statistics. http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2007305

National Research Council, Board on Testing and Assessment. (2009). Letter Report to the U.S. Department of Education on the Race to the Top Fund. National Academy of Sciences, available at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12780

Nichols, S.L, & Berliner, D.C. (2007). Collateral damage: How high-stakes testing corrupts America’s schools. Cambridge: Harvard Education Press.

OECD. (2014). When is competition between schools beneficial? PISA in focus, 42. http://www.oecd.org/pisa/pisaproducts/pisainfocus/PISA%20in%20Focus%20N42%20(eng)–Final.pdf

Pfeffer, J. (2007). Testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives. http://federalworkforce.oversight.house.gov/documents/20070313111150-45256.pdf

Rhoades, K. & Madaus, G., (2003). Errors in standardized tests: A systemic problem. Boston College. http://www.bc.edu/nbetpp

Ryan, R. M., & La Guardia, J. G. (1999). Achievement motivation within a pressured society: Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations to learn and the politics of school reform. In T. Urdan (Ed.) Advances in motivation and achievement (Vol 11). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Springer, M., Podgursky, M., & Lewis, J. (2009). Texas Educator Excellence Grant (TEEG) program: Year two evaluation report. http://www.performanceincentives.org/ncpi_publications/policybriefs.asp

Whitford, B. L., & Jones, K. (2000). Accountability, assessment, and teacher commitment. Albany: SUNY Press.

Wilms, W. W., & Chapleau, R. R. (1999, November 3). The illusion of paying teachers for student performance. Education Week, 19(10), 34, 48.

Cultural Logic Releases Three Volumes of Critical Scholarship In One Day

Cultural Logic has just announced an epic launch of three volumes of critical scholarship addressing a wide range of issues.

Cultural Logic, which has been on-line since 1997, is a open access, non-profit, peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal that publishes essays, interviews, poetry, reviews (books, films, other media), etc. by writers working within the Marxist tradition.

Volumes 2011 and 2012 were edited by David Siar.

Volume 2013 is the open access version the Education for Revolution issue that was published by Works & Days in December 2013, which I co-edited with Rich Gibson. Thanks to everyone for your contributions, to David Downing and his team for publishing the issue in Works & Days, to David Siar for his editorial and site management, and to Joe Ramsey for suggesting the WD/CL collaboration for the Education for Revolution issue.

Below are the Contents for Volumes 2011, 2012, and 2013

Cultural Logic, Volume 2011
Articles
Mathias Dapprich
“A Contribution Towards a Critical Theory of School Shootings”

Jerry Leonard
“Reading Notes on Sangeeta Ray’s Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak: Polemic with Digressions on a Theory of Irreducibility”

Ronald Paul
“The Politics of the Personal in Edward Upward’s The Spiral Ascent”

Spyros Sakellaropoulos
“On the Causes of the Civil War in Nepal and the Role of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)”

Larry Schwartz
“Apocalypse Then: Philip Roth’s Indignation”

Daniel Silvermintz
“Enlightenment in the Shopping Mall”

Response and Counter-Response
Mike Jones
“Some Comments on Sven-Eric Holmström’s ‘New Evidence’ Concerning the Hotel Bristol in the First Moscow Trial of 1936″

Sven-Eric Holmström
“Reply to Mike Jones”

Poetry
Christopher Barnes
(From) The Electric Chair Poems

Cultural Logic, Volume 2012
Articles
Julianne Buchsbaum
“Alienation, Reification, and Narrativity in Russell Banks’ Affliction”

Alzo David-West
“North Korea and the Theory of the Deformed Workers’ State: Definitions and First Principles of a Fourth International Theory”

Haidar Eid
“White Noise: Representations of (Post)modern Intelligentsia”

Doug Enaa Greene
“Leninism and Blanquism”

Desmond Peeples
“Toward an Anarcho-Empiricism: Integrating Precedent, Theory, and Impetus in the Anarchist Project”

E. San Juan, Jr.
“In Lieu of Saussure: A Prologue to Charles Sanders Peirce’s Theory of Signs”

Huei-ju Wang
“Becoming ‘Migrant John’: John Steinbeck and His Migrants and His (Un)conscious turn to Marx”

Poetry
George Snedeker
Selected Poems

Cultural Logic, Education for Revolution, Volume 2013
Preface
E. Wayne Ross & Rich Gibson
“Education for Revolution”

Foreword
David B. Downing, Nicholas P. Katsiadas, Tracy J. Lassiter & Reza Parchizadeh
“Forward to the Revolution” (Forward to the Works & Days Edition)

Articles
Rich Gibson
“Barbarism Rising: Detroit, Michigan and the International War of the Rich on the Poor”

E. Wayne Ross & Kevin D. Vinson
“Resisting Neoliberal Education Reform: Insurrectionist Pedagogies and the Pursuit of Dangerous Citizenry”

Julie A. Gorlewski & Brad J. Porfilio
“Reimaging Solidarity: Hip-Hop as Revolutionary Pedagogy”

Timothy Patrick Shannon & Patrick Shannon
“Learning to Be Fast Capitalists on a Flat World”

Brian D. Lozenski, Zachary A. Casey & Shannon K. McManimon
“Contesting Production: Youth Participatory Action Research in the Struggle to Produce Knowledge”

Mike Cole
“Schooling for Capitalism or Education for Twenty-First Century Socialism?”

Curry Stephenson Malott
“Class Consciousness and Teacher Education: The Socialist Challenge and the Historical Context”

Deborah P. Kelsh
“The Pedagogy of Excess”

John Maerhofer
“Undermining Capitalist Pedagogy: Takiji Kobayashi’s Toseikatsusha and the Ideology of the World Literature Paradigm”

Grant Banfield
“Marxist Sociology of Education and the Problem of Naturalism: An Historical Sketch”

David J. Blacker
“The Illegitimacy of Student Debt”

Alan J. Singer
“Hacking Away at the Corporate Octopus”

Richard A. Brosio
“A Tale of Two Cities —— and States”

Alan Spector
“SDS, the 1960s, and Education for Revolution”

Class Size and Teachers’ Work: What The Province Editors Get Wrong About the Biggest Issue in B.C. Education

In today’s editorial, “Fix Your Problems and Reopen Schools,” editors of The Province declared that the labour dispute between government and teachers in British Columbia is “pretty simple,”

the B.C. Teachers’ Federation wants more and the government says it can’t afford what the union wants. If neither side blinks, and with the government ruling out back-to-work legislation, schools could be closed for a very long time. What gets lost in the rhetoric are facts …

But, in the name of getting to the facts, The Province ignores government rhetoric and attacks teachers’ concerns about class size based on a letter from a reader.

Class size and composition are the key issues in the current dispute. The public would be served by fair and unbiased journalistic analysis of the claims on both sides of the bargaining table, instead the editors chose to offer “facts” that distort, misinform, and mislead readers about issues of class size and teachers’ work.

The Province offers up some facts on class size and in the process illustrates a lack of understanding of the complexity of the concept, conflating class size with student-teacher ratio. For example,

There were 558,985 students enrolled in public schools last year served by 32,658 full-time-equivalent teachers and administrators. If you divide the number of kids by the number of educators, you get 17.1 kids per educator, which might make you wonder about the constant clamour about class sizes.

If you remove administrators, the students were taught by 30,064 FTE teachers, 18.6 students per teacher…

Does this mean that average class size in B.C. schools in 18.6? No, it doesn’t. But, the editors know this because in the next paragraph they state that

The average kindergarten class in B.C. last year had 19.3 kids, an average of 21.5 students were in Grade 1-3 classrooms, and the average was 25.7 and 23 kids in Grades 4-7 and 8-12.

If the editors were not in such a hurry to smear the BCTF as merely a bunch of lazy, greedy teachers, with the singular goal of sucking taxpayers dry, they might have considered what all the “clamour about class size” really is about. Or why so many parents in B.C. are concerned about issues of class size and composition. Or they might have even paused to considered why the first set of facts they offer up is so different from the second set of facts.

Student-Teacher Ratio Stats Intended for Economic Analyses

Student-teacher ratio is not an appropriate tool for understanding class size and its impact on instruction. Instead student-teacher ratio is a tool intended for economic analysis. Student-teacher ratio addresses expenditures on staffing for classroom and specialist teachers. Student-teacher ratios do not represent the actual number of students per teacher in every student’s classroom and, as a result, say very little about what actually happens in the classroom or how human resources are allocated at district, school, or class levels.

Teaching and Group Size

Class size reduction efforts are based on a logical chain of effects: smaller numbers of students in a class produce more intimate learning relationships, which in turn provide opportunities for more in-depth student learning. With smaller classes, teachers are able to be more responsive to individual student needs, which produces more personally satisfying learning for students and higher levels of student achievement. This logic is supported by empirical evidence that illustrates the positive effects of CSR programs worldwide (see this, this, thisthis, this, and this).

Some Math to Help Explain the Class Size “Clamour”

If a teacher has five classes with 20 students in each class, the teacher is responsible for 100 students.

If 10 students are added to each of the teacher’s classes, the teacher is then responsible for 150 students—that is a 50% increase in teaching load.

If a teacher with 20 students in each class spends 15 minutes reading, analyzing, and responding to a student’s assignment, that is 300 minutes or about 5 hours of assessment for each class or 25 hours of work to assess a single assignment for students in each of the teacher’s classes.

For a teacher responsible for 150 students (30 students in 5 classes), the time required for marking that single assignment would be nearly 40 hours and we have not factored in preparation or instructional time!

Those lazy, greedy teachers! They want smaller class sizes and more prep time just so they can avoid 65-80 hour workweeks! Who do they think they are?

Class Size Has a Direct Impact on Educational Quality

Class size has a huge impact on the quality of education schools can offer. This is why in the marketplace of private education small class size is so closely linked to arguments about quality of education.

As class size in public schools increase the instructional options for teachers shrink. There is only so much time in the day, the week, the school year and teachers face daily demands preparing lessons (often for multiple subjects), instructional time in the classroom, and marking assignments, not to mention communicating with parents, extracurricular supervision, etc.

The more students teachers have in class, the more likely it is they will be forced to choose teaching methods and assignments that take less time to complete or mark; the more reliant they become on worksheets and multiple-choice tests to assess student learning; and the more likely their class time will be taken by administrative tasks and classroom management issues.

It’s pretty simple indeed, class size matters when it comes providing quality education.

Call for chapters: Teaching for Democracy in an Age of Economic Disparity

Call for Book Chapters

Teaching for Democracy in an Age of Economic Disparity
Editor: Cory Wright-Maley, Ph.D.

The book is intended to provide a space for scholars and practitioners to reconsider how we prepare students to engage in a democratic society as well as the state and nature of democratic education as a whole. In doing so, this text will seek to draw from thoughtful scholars in the social studies as well as from related fields who can shed new light on the challenges of democratic education in the twenty-first century. In doing so, this volume is intended to help practitioners reconsider their practices in attending to education for democracy. We welcome scholars and practitioners who approach this issue from a variety of directions and theoretical or philosophical perspectives (see the attached document for details).

Scholars and practitioners are invited to submit on or before September 30, 2014, a 400-600 word proposal clearly explaining the central argument and outlining the content of the proposed chapter, including implications for teacher practice, and providing a rationale that connects the proposal to the theme and purposes of the book. Please indicate the section (or sections, if multiple proposals are submitted) for which you are proposing your chapter. Authors of accepted proposals will be notified by November 14, 2014 about the status of their proposals and sent chapter guidelines. Full chapters are expected to be submitted by April 3, 2015. All submitted chapters will be reviewed on a double-blind review basis. Contributors may also be requested to serve as reviewers for this project. Feel free to send a quick email noting your interest in advance of your submission.

Please send proposals and inquiries to Cory Wright-Maley (Cory.WrightMaley@stmu.ca). Here is a detailed description of the book: Teaching for Democracy in an Age of Economic Disparity – A Call for Chapters

Does size matter when it comes to public school classes?

[Cross posted from Institute for Critical Education Studies blog]

Does size matter when it comes to public school classes?

This question was debated on CBC Radio’s The Current this morning. Burnaby, BC grade 4/5 teacher Jennifer Heighton, Russ Whitehurst of the Brookings Institution, and I weighed in on the question.

Important context is the ongoing BC teachers strike, where class size and composition are key elements of contract negotiations. The ruling BC Liberals stripped class size and composition rules from the BC teachers contract in 2002, a move that has twice been judged as illegal by BC courts.

I’ve written a brief summary of class size research, with key references, which you can find here.

You can read a very recent review of the research on class size here.

Last month, Global TV BC broadcast a “town hall” discussion on a wide variety of education issues related to education in BC and the ongoing dispute between teachers and government, including class size. You can watch that segment here.

Here’s a good background piece from The Tyee: Everything You Need to Know about BC Teacher Bargaining

Listen to The Current segment (21 minutes) on class size here.

Wrapped Up in the Flag: Immigration, Ethnic Studies, and Gun Legislation in Arizona

Critical Education has just published its latest issue at http://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/criticaled. We invite you to review the
Table of Contents here and then visit our web site to read articles and other items of interest.

Thanks for the continuing interest in our work,

Stephen Petrina
Sandra Mathison
E. Wayne Ross
Co-Editors, Critical Education
Institute for Critical Education Studies
University of British Columbia

Critical Education
Vol 5, No 8 (2014)
Table of Contents
http://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/criticaled/issue/view/182496

Liberalism in Educational Policy, Practice, and Discourse
——–

Wrapped Up in the Flag: Immigration, Ethnic Studies, and Gun Legislation in Arizona
Frances Julia Riemer

Abstract

In this article, I direct an anthropological lens to the state’s university campuses and to the discursive construction and marketing, as well as the accommodation, negotiation, and contestation of the state’s controversial legislation around diversity education and guns. Focusing on tertiary education, I examine both the ways that the rhetoric of liberalism, that of constitutional rights, the nation state, and individualism in particular, has been employed to package and sell the state’s anti-Ethnic Studies and pro-gun initiatives, and the discursive struggles in which university communities have been engaged in the attempt to rebut these political incursions. I argue that a liberal discourse has been employed to defend what otherwise might be perceived as discriminatory positions enacted on the state level in Arizona. In this border state, demarcated by ever growing racial and class-based difference, legislation promoting assimilationist pedagogy, and wider gun distribution may be desired, but it is most easily defended when wrapped up in the stars and stripes of liberalism.

CFP Transformative Researchers & Educators for Democracy: “How public is public education?”

TRED Conference 2014
How Public is Public Education?
Call for Proposals

The Transformative Researchers and Educators for Democracy (TRED) will be holding its third Annual Conference, “How Public is Public Education?”, November 14 and 15, 2014, at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Founded in 2011, UMass Dartmouth’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies has grown to four cohorts of future transformative leaders. Ph.D. and Ed.D. candidates in the program have sought to provide a public space for educational researchers and practitioners to engage in critical and transformative dialogues. Through forums, presentation sessions, panel discussions, and informal gatherings, TRED continues its ambition to place the discussion of educational leadership and policy within the dynamics of ideological production that reflect existing power imbalances that perpetuate inequalities within society.

The theme of the 2014 conference, How Public is Public Education?, reflects the critical elements within and beyond the field of education that need to be discussed, heard, and analyzed as we search for solutions. Professors, students, educational leaders, and the public are all welcome to submit proposals and to attend the conference.

Submitting Proposals
Proposals can be submitted to TREDconf@umassd.edu
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ALL PROPOSALS MUST BE RECEIVED BY: Tuesday September 30th 2014.

Guidelines
TRED will be accepting presentation proposals for papers, symposiums, and research-in-progress roundtables. Upon submission of your proposal, please identify it to one of the following strands:

A. K-12; charter schools, innovation schools
B. Higher Education; adjunct faculty, campus based women’s, gender and cultural centers
C. Public Policy; Race to the Top, high-stakes standardized testing

PAPERS
Paper sessions provide individuals an opportunity to present a condensed version of their study. The research may focus on, but is not limited to, a question from an empirical or theoretical perspective. After all papers within a session have been presented, those in attendance will have the opportunity to dialogue with panelists.

RESEARCH IN PROGRESS ROUNDTABLE
Roundtable sessions are to open critical and insightful dialogue from colleagues familiar with a subject matter to support a developing study. Roundtables will be organized and led by a facilitator.

SYMPOSIUM
Symposiums consist of an integrated set of presentations with a similar topic as the focal point. This format of presenting will be limited to at least three, but no more than five, presentations. The proposal should identify who will be lead discussant or organizer, and, upon review, a TRED committee member may be named as the chair.

Proposal Requirements (For all submissions)
1. Cover Page

  • Title
  • Researcher(s)
  • Contact Information
  • Organization/University
  • Panel Category

2. Abstract(300 word limit, not included in 1,000 word limit for proposal)
3. Individual Proposal (1,000 word limit)

  • Presenters (Identify who is the main contact person)
  • Theoretical Framework and Connections to Conference Theme;
  • Purpose;
  • Research Design/Methods;
  • Conclusion/Findings;
  • References

4. Symposium Group Proposal (1,500 word limit)

  • A common objective or theme should be outlined, providing perspectives on the particular topic.
  • 1-2 paragraphs in which the purpose of the symposium and connections among presenter paper’s is defined;
  • Overview of each paper being presented including: methods, theoretical framework, research topic, and findings;
  • Briefly describe the format and structure of the symposium

*If your symposium proposal is accepted, only the first author will be notified, and the first author is responsible for notifying all other co-authors*

For questions or comments, please contact: TREDconf@umassd.edu