Drawing on his widely read Huffington Post columns—rated one of the top educational blogs in the United States—Alan Singer introduces readers to contemporary issues in education in the United States. The issues are presented with a point of view and an edge intended to promote widespread classroom debate and discussion. Each section opens with a new topical summary essay followed by a series of brief essays updated and adapted from Huffington Post columns. The book includes guest contributions, guiding questions, and responses to essays by teacher education students and teachers to further classroom discussion. Education Flashpoints is written in a conversational style that draws readers into a series of debates by presenting issues in a clear and concise manner, but also with a touch of irony and a bit of rhetorical bite. The topics examined in these essays read like the latest newspaper headlines in the battle to define public education in the United States.
Table of Contents
Preface: Resistance without Jargon
About the Author
Introduction: Reclaiming the Conversation on Education
Chapter 1. What Shall We Do With The Children?
A. What’s Good for the Mayor’s Kids Is Good Enough for Ours
B. These Kids Don’t Have a Shot
C. Being Gifted Means You Get All the Gifts
D. Why Have “Specialized” High Schools?
E. Hempstead Freedom Walkers Challenge Long Island Segregation
F. Pablo’s Kids March on Washington
G. People With Guns Kill People and Children
H. The School-to-Prison Pipeline
Chapter 2. Defending Teachers
A. Why Tenure for Teachers Is Important
B. Tomahawks and Teachers
C. Teach for America -- It’s All About “Me”!
D. Measure for Mis-Measure with Teacher Assessments
E. Testing Teachers by Testing Kids Is an Awful Idea
F. Fire Half of the Teachers!
G. Who is Charlotte Danielson and Why Does She Decide How Teachers are Evaluated?
Chapter 3. Teacher Education
A. Are Schools of Education Why Children Don’t Learn?
B. We Need to Make Eye Contact
C. Arizonafication of Teacher Education
D. Anger in the Heartland over Unfair Teacher Tests
E. Problems with Pearson’s Student Teacher Evaluation System
Chapter 4. Teacher Unions
A. Redefining and Rebuilding the Teachers’ Unions
B. Why I Am Pro-Union and Pro-Teacher
C. Chicago Teachers Strike for Us All
D. The “People’s Budget” Movement
Chapter 5. Business, Politics and School Deform
A. Matt Damon Can’t Save the Schools
B. Opposition Grows to School Deform
C. Higher Education for the 21st Century
D. Hacking Away at the Pearson Octopus
E. Pearson ‘Education’ -- Who Are These People?
F. Los Angeles Students Out-Fox Apple, Pearson and School Board
Chapter 6. Who Makes Education Policy?
A. Pretending to Confront the Global Achievement Gap
B. Obama, Duncan and the Public Schools
C. Thank You, Arne Duncan
D. Race to the Top Mandates Impossible to Implement
E. Empty Promises in the Obama Mis-Education Agenda
F. What Is a 21st Century Job?
G. Guest Essay: Governor Christie’s War Against New Jersey Public Employees by Norman Markowitz
Chapter 7. Where is the Chart for Charter Schools?
A. Charter Schools are the Wrong Answer
B. What Happens if the Charter School Companies Win?
C. Charter Schools Don't Do Miracles
D. Schools Enter Chartered Waters
Chapter 8. Common Core – What Is It Good For?
A. Common Core, What Is It Good For?
B. Can Common Core Turn on the Math and Science?
C. The 3rd Grade Science Fair: A Common Core Conundrum
D. Common Core: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
E. What’s Missing from Common Core is Education for Democracy
Chapter 9. High-Stakes Testing
A. What do the tests test?
B. Do These Tests Have Educational Value?
C. Cheating Students Who “Pass” the Test
D. The “Wisdom” of Pearson’s Pineapple Passage
E. Pearson and the Atlanta School Mess
F. Did the ‘Melk Man’ Learn to Cheat at Stuyvesant High School?
G. Cheating on the Test -- I May Be Guilty Also!
Chapter 10. Curriculum and Instruction
A. Don’t Know Much About – History, Geography, or Civics
B. “Texas Conservatives Seek Deeper Stamp on Texts”
C. If Massachusetts was a Country
D. Math in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts (and in the Country of California)
E. Gideon’s Math Homework
Chapter 11. Reform or Deform?
A. What If Our Schools Are Working?
B. Do You Want to Buy the Brooklyn Bridge?
C. Does the Ghost of George Steinbrenner Run the Schools?
D. Bloomberg and Klein Fail
E. Guest Essay: Following Finland’s Example . . . Backwards by Joel Shatzky
Chapter 12. Resistance!
A. To Students Who Are Fighting Back
B. The Cupcake Resistance Movement
C. In Seattle Opposition Grows to School Deform
D. The Mayor’s Powerful New Enemies
E. In New Jersey the Children Shall Lead
F. Teachers as Crap-Detectors
Alan J. Singer is Professor of Secondary Education and coordinator of Social Studies Education in the Department of Teaching, Literacy and Leadership, Hofstra University, USA.
Featured Author Profiles
"Education Flashpoints provides important insight into contemporary issues in education. The critical edge to the articles will stimulate classroom discussions."
Joel Spring, Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, USA
"This is a book of the moment that is both timely and (sadly) timeless—pointed, focused, engaging. Dr. Singer knows where he stands and makes no bones about it. He always contributes to the field of education and political discussion."
Dennis Banks, SUNY College at Oneonta, USA