Educational Reform: A Self Scrutinizing Memoir

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Teachers College Press, Jul 25, 2002 - Education - 293 pages

Professor Sarason candidly confronts his "errors of omission and commission, mistakes, and emphases" in his half-century involvement in educational reform. No other major figure in this arena has made public such a searching self-critique.

Sharing his thoughts about the future of education, Sarason discusses his thinking on: charter schools, productive learning, motivation, high-stakes testing, the need for teachers to relate differently to each other and to parents, the importance of working through change, and the mistaken idea that we can clone reforms. Although written before the September 11th World Trade Center tragedy, the last chapter of this book is extraordinarily relevant to the subsequent national importance of societal values and responsible citizenship.

Although this is a deliberately personally revealing book, Sarason's self-scrutiny will be stimulating and invaluable to anyone interested in reform as concept, action, and values.


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This work like many other reforms...
In the evolving tradition of Freakonomics, there sometimes are very simple and cheap solutions to very complex questions to which an industry becomes blind
. Educational reformers and especially Secretary of Education Arne Duncan could greatly advance educational practices in the USA as well as the rest of the world by taking one absolutely essential step prior to extending the school day or other such radical and expensive and dislocating proposals.
With may be asking the wrong questions or not realizing that the question has been raised but not answered but merely exploited.
The lack of an answer - or even a set of protocols - for determining which are our Best Methods leaves us without the most substantive seeds of content from which most all practical science proceeds. Logically it also leaves us without a core curriculum in basic pedagogy; in effect we have no grounds on which to claim that we are even capable of providing Teacher Education. Apart from a few very broad and somewhat ambiguous statements there can be, and is, a very great variation in what teachers are being taught about teaching from campus to campus and even classroom to classroom. I have been trying for many years to bring some greater level of awareness to the need for us to work collaboratively toward something of a dynamic algorithm that any and all can participate in for identifying Good, Better and Best Practices, and as importantly, the shaping of the means by which these determinations would be made generically and in specific situations. Progress in Professional Education should proceed at light speed from this point forward, for once all stakeholders - teachers, professors, school leadership, state and Federal Departments - will share some common referents. A new and real authority will exist, KNOWLEDGE.
Please consider my cobbled together, and admittedly relatively personalized, effort as a mere example of what is possible and necessary. It has provisions for empiricism, choice, situation and most importantly for putting the best methods now available in the hands of millions of teachers, K-16. It is not a one-size-fits-all equation but rather one that is a contract between project directors and teachers to better regulate a currently unregulated market, namely, identification and choice of teaching methodology.
Thank you,
Anthony V. Manzo, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus
Here is a URL and opening page...
14,073 Visits Since 01/01/2008
Best Methods of Instruction
Beta Site for the Teaching Optimization Rubric & Choice (TORC) System: a Reflective Model for Identifying and Classifying Good, Better, Best Practices in Classroom Based Instruction


Why Not Fold My Tent and Depart?
The Phenomenology of the Reformer
The Teachers Phenomenology of Change
Time Perspective The Disconnect Between Fantasy and Reality
Educational Reform and Foreign Aid Similar Problems Different Labels
Teacher Unions Part of the Problem Not of the Solution
Again Are Teachers Professionals?
Failure of Nerve Or Why Bang Your Head Against the Wall?
What Constitutes a Case History of a Reform Effort?
Math Music and Learning
What I Want for Students and Why Or We Have Met the Enemy and It Is Us
Ending with Starting Points
The Continuity Value
About the Author

Cloning a Reform Effort
Film Language and Context

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About the author (2002)

Seymour B. Sarason is Professor of Psychology Emeritus at Yale University.

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