In a recent episode of NPR’s Fresh Air, Terry Gross interviewed Dana Goldstein author of the new book The Teacher Wars, a book which chronicle the American history of teachers, which the subtitle states is America’s Most Embattled Profession. The book discusses how education in America intersects with race and gender as well as the controversial issues in modern education, including the role of standardized testing.
Here is a description an introduction to the interview from the NPR website:
As students return to school, the national dialogue on controversies surrounding teacher tenure, salaries, the core curriculum, testing and teacher competence will get more fervent.
In her new book, The Teacher Wars, Dana Goldstein writes about how teaching became “the most controversial profession in America,” and how teachers have become both “resented and idealized.”
In the New York Times, critic Alexander Nazaryan described the book as “meticulously fair and disarmingly balanced.” Although it’s largely a history, it also draws on Goldstein’s reporting on recent controversies surrounding teaching.
“One of the things I noticed, especially after the recession hit in 2008 and coming into President Obama’s administration, was we were having a big national conversation about inequality,” Goldstein tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross. “And teaching was something that was discussed again and again as a potential fix — a fix for inequality, something that could help poor children achieve like middle-class children and close these socioeconomic gaps that we’re so concerned about as a nation.”
For the book, Goldstein researched 200 years of teaching in America.
“What surprised me … was that we’ve always had these high expectations,” she says. “This idea that teachers have a role to play in fighting poverty and inequality has been with us since the early 19th century.”