Teaching in America : The Slow Revolution


Teaching in America : The Slow Revolution



By Gerald Grant and Christine E. Murray (College at Brockport faculty member).

Abstrract: If the essential acts of teaching are the same for schoolteachers and professors, why are they seen as members of quite separate professions? Would the nation's schools be better served if teachers shared more of the authority that professors have long enjoyed? Will a slow revolution be completed that enables schoolteachers to take charge of their practice -- to shoulder more responsibility for hiring, mentoring, promoting, and, if necessary, firing their peers? This book explores these questions by analyzing the essential acts of teaching in a way that will help all teachers become more thoughtful practitioners. It presents portraits of teachers (most of them women) struggling to take control of their practice in a system dominated by an administrative elite (mostly male). The educational system, Gerald Grant and Christine E. Murray argue, will be saved not by better managers but by better teachers. And the only way to secure them is by attracting talented recruits, developing their skills, and instituting better means of assessing teachers' performance.

Review: This unusual book began at the authors' dinner tables, when they noticed that their spouses -- one an elementary school teacher, one a university professor -- were treated quite differently even though their work was "essentially the same." This realization prompted months of research into the history of schoolteachers and university professors. Grant and Murray refer to the crusade of college professors in the late 19th century as the "first revolution" -- in which male professors fought a male administrative regime for higher pay and control over curriculum and tenure. A second revolution, they argue, is occurring now among schoolteachers, but slowly. It "pits mostly female workers, who have often been demeaned as high-paid baby-sitters, against entrenched male leaders." The book chronicles the significant progress of this slow revolution, focusing on three landmark case studies. Readers concerned with the condition of public schools and the status of schoolteachers will find that Grant and Murray not only provide them with solid ammunition for debate but also give them reason to keep up their spirits. FYI: Teaching in America won the publisher's annual prize awarded to an outstanding book about education and society.--Publishers weekly



Publication Date


Publication Information

Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1999.

288 p. ; 24 cm.


Education | Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration | Higher Education Administration


Education and Human Development


Located in Drake Library at: LB1775.2 .G73 1999

CONTENTS: Two professions -- Assessing America's teachers and schools -- The essential acts of teaching -- Three questions every teacher must answer -- The modern origins of the profession: Florence's story, 1890-1920 -- Reforming teaching in the midst of social crisis: Andrena's story, 1960-1990 -- Teachers' struggle to take charge of their practice: the Rochester story, 1987-1997 -- The progress of the slow revolution throughout the nation -- Teaching in 2020.

Teaching in America : The Slow Revolution