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Who’s Teaching Your Children?: Why the Teacher Crisis Is Worse Than You Think and What Can Be Done About It

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The shortage of qualified teachers in our nation’s classrooms is critical, and it is getting worse. This thought-provoking book reveals the reasons for the crisis and offers concrete, affordable solutions. “A practical vision of how our children can get the high-quality teaching they deserve—a vision worth pondering and even implementing.”—Ted Fiske, former Education Editor The shortage of qualified teachers in our nation’s classrooms is critical, and it is getting worse. This thought-provoking book reveals the reasons for the crisis and offers concrete, affordable solutions. “A practical vision of how our children can get the high-quality teaching they deserve—a vision worth pondering and even implementing.”—Ted Fiske, former Education Editor of the New York Times and coauthor of When Schools Compete: A Cautionary Tale “This book should be read not just by teachers and teacher educators but also by parents, citizens, and policy makers—by all those who need to speak out for children.”—Deborah Meier, Educational Leadership “Why do so few people go into teaching, or once they have begun a career in public school teaching, abandon it? Kitty Boles and Vivian Troen, teachers both, investigate that question and then propose considerable and thoughtful changes that would bring great benefit to our beloved profession.”—Theodore Sizer and Nancy Faust Sizer, authors of The Students Are Watching: Schools and the Moral Contract


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The shortage of qualified teachers in our nation’s classrooms is critical, and it is getting worse. This thought-provoking book reveals the reasons for the crisis and offers concrete, affordable solutions. “A practical vision of how our children can get the high-quality teaching they deserve—a vision worth pondering and even implementing.”—Ted Fiske, former Education Editor The shortage of qualified teachers in our nation’s classrooms is critical, and it is getting worse. This thought-provoking book reveals the reasons for the crisis and offers concrete, affordable solutions. “A practical vision of how our children can get the high-quality teaching they deserve—a vision worth pondering and even implementing.”—Ted Fiske, former Education Editor of the New York Times and coauthor of When Schools Compete: A Cautionary Tale “This book should be read not just by teachers and teacher educators but also by parents, citizens, and policy makers—by all those who need to speak out for children.”—Deborah Meier, Educational Leadership “Why do so few people go into teaching, or once they have begun a career in public school teaching, abandon it? Kitty Boles and Vivian Troen, teachers both, investigate that question and then propose considerable and thoughtful changes that would bring great benefit to our beloved profession.”—Theodore Sizer and Nancy Faust Sizer, authors of The Students Are Watching: Schools and the Moral Contract

30 review for Who’s Teaching Your Children?: Why the Teacher Crisis Is Worse Than You Think and What Can Be Done About It

  1. 5 out of 5

    sydney

    Ooh, loved it! This book, written by two fourth-grade teachers who are also university professors, outlines the ways in which teaching has been devalued and degraded. According to popular wisdom, teachers are widely considered too stupid to get "real jobs," while in reality we work ourselves to burnout for way less pay than we deserve. As a result, say the authors, education is suffering from a "Trilemma Dysfunction"-- three cyclical problems continuously feeding into one another and making the Ooh, loved it! This book, written by two fourth-grade teachers who are also university professors, outlines the ways in which teaching has been devalued and degraded. According to popular wisdom, teachers are widely considered too stupid to get "real jobs," while in reality we work ourselves to burnout for way less pay than we deserve. As a result, say the authors, education is suffering from a "Trilemma Dysfunction"-- three cyclical problems continuously feeding into one another and making the situation worse. (1: "Not enough academically able students are being drawn into teaching," 2: "Teacher preparation programs need substantial improvement," and 3: "The professional life of teachers is on the whole unacceptable.") Troen and Bolen propose a "Millennium School" that will help solve the Trilemma Dysfunction by categorizing teachers into professional tiers, coordinating lots of ongoing professional development hinged on observations, peer feedback, and modeling, and making staff members' workloads more sane and manageable. I loved this book because it's written by teachers about teachers and is both highly critical and solution-oriented. It's not technical or jargony, either. Made me proud to be a teacher. A good book for anyone who is in any way connected to education-- teachers, wannabe teachers, parents, students, politicians.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kerri

    WARNING: do not read if you thing America's education system is perfect and doesn't need any changes. WARNING: do not read if you thing America's education system is perfect and doesn't need any changes.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mark Valentine

    The malaise of education seems pretty obvious to many people and the first half of their short book provides a summary of that common harangue in clear, solid, soundbite-proof language. The authors identify what they call a Trilemma Dysfuntion in schools that has a crippling effect on reform strategies. First, since there are "not enough academically academically able students...being drawn to teaching," the pool of talent and ambition has diminished. Second, "teacher preparation programs need s The malaise of education seems pretty obvious to many people and the first half of their short book provides a summary of that common harangue in clear, solid, soundbite-proof language. The authors identify what they call a Trilemma Dysfuntion in schools that has a crippling effect on reform strategies. First, since there are "not enough academically academically able students...being drawn to teaching," the pool of talent and ambition has diminished. Second, "teacher preparation programs need substantial improvement," since their certification and renewal procedures have historically been much less than rigorous. Third, "the professional life of teachers is on the whole unacceptable," that is, professional development and growth opportunities remain stagnant. These three dysfunctions feed into and maintain a malformed culture in schools. What is worse, teachers have operated for so long under this cultural dysfunction that they regulate themselves with their own myopic, bureaucratic chains (cf. Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon). What really made this book a wonderful reading and learning experience for me, though, remains in their providing hope, that is, a plan. Since teacher improvement lies at the heart of any educational reform strategy, the authors declare that empowering teachers to do their job well must be the premise and promise of the profession. Their blueprint for school reform contains the Millennium School, an attempt to revive the profession of teaching, re-organize the roles of educational personnel, and improve educational leadership. The bedrock principles that comprise the Millennium School consist of four tenets: first, "multi-tiered career paths for teachers," next, "teaching in teams instead of in isolation," then, "performance-based accountability," and finally, "ongoing professional development for all teachers and principals" (p. 185). I suppose that I am a little jealous of the authors. They have written the book that I have always wanted to write. This is my way of giving it very high praise because it resonated with me in a profound manner. If I were to criticize it, it would be that for all its fine writing, eloquent arguments, and scholarly support, the authors do not provide a Millennium School model at the High School level (my arena), only at the Elementary School level. (Wait. Maybe there is still time to consider writing that book after all. Better go now--)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Bingham

    The co-author is Katherine Boles. A provocative book about the teaching profession. It talks about what it is like to be a teacher nowadays, the educational system and what is wrong with it. The three main problems with teaching are: 1) Not enough academically able students are drawn to teaching, 2) Teacher preparation programs are less than adequate and 3) The professional life of teachers is unacceptable.Among the observations that I found interesting are: 1) Teaching is a very isolated profes The co-author is Katherine Boles. A provocative book about the teaching profession. It talks about what it is like to be a teacher nowadays, the educational system and what is wrong with it. The three main problems with teaching are: 1) Not enough academically able students are drawn to teaching, 2) Teacher preparation programs are less than adequate and 3) The professional life of teachers is unacceptable.Among the observations that I found interesting are: 1) Teaching is a very isolated profession. Teachers interact very rarely especially in the guise of improving their teaching. 2) The professional careers of teachers are very flat. There is little room for professional advancement, except to administration jobs and little reward for doing well. 3) There is very little useful ongoing professional training for teachers.The authors talk about some things that will not help improve schools. Among them are testing, smaller classes, vouchers, charter schools, for-profit schools, homework, home schooling, blaming unions, etc.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Joe Doctor

    a new angle on the ed challenge facing our country. this book uses the firsthand knowledge of two veteran teachers to throw down with a challenge: we must change teaching into a true profession, akin to medicine or law, to get to ed success for all kids. makes some good points, and an interesting take on what a true "Millennium School" would look like. but, what a big change that would be... a new angle on the ed challenge facing our country. this book uses the firsthand knowledge of two veteran teachers to throw down with a challenge: we must change teaching into a true profession, akin to medicine or law, to get to ed success for all kids. makes some good points, and an interesting take on what a true "Millennium School" would look like. but, what a big change that would be...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bryan457

    Education, a complex problem. The structure of the school and the culture of teaching are the problem. Well, I think they make a good case for this being part of the problem, but it is more complicated than that. This bored me a bit, but it was short.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alan Ni

  8. 4 out of 5

    Gary

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas

  10. 4 out of 5

    Wiseman

  11. 5 out of 5

    Elliot

  12. 5 out of 5

    Pat

  13. 4 out of 5

    Julie Vallejo

  14. 4 out of 5

    Julie

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ron

  16. 4 out of 5

    Julia

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michaela Raikes

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

  19. 4 out of 5

    Leeroy

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kate

  21. 5 out of 5

    Klagleder

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

  24. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ema Jones

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tyler

  27. 4 out of 5

    Josh

  28. 5 out of 5

    Scott

  29. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ola F.

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