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Between Caring & Counting

Between Caring & Counting: Teachers Take on Education Reform

Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Between Caring & Counting
    Book Description:

    Counteracting despair with hope, Kerr explores self-reflexive suggestions for teacher-educators to exercise agency in their lives and to continue to work toward a just and equitable public education system.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2773-4
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Tables and Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Acronyms
    (pp. xi-2)
  6. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-15)

    Arriving at school the morning after the resounding defeat of the Ontario Progressive Conservative (PC) Party in October 2003, it was as if a dark cloud had lifted. The mood was one, not of jubilation, but of cautious optimism; eight years of blatant teacher-bashing had ended at the ballot box. As the bell rang and students scurried to their classrooms as usual, I recalled the words of one of the teacher-participants in this study, expressed during the focus group more than a year and a half earlier, at a time when the PCs seemed unassailable. Helena’s prophesy was: ‘Politicians come...

  7. 2 The Socio-political Context of Ontario
    (pp. 16-31)

    Few would doubt that education is instrumental in shaping society, from which it follows that education is politically charged. Who has access, what is taught and by whom, says a great deal about the values and structure of society. Education policy tends to reflect national priorities, although distinctions between national systems seem to be converging in the age of globalization. Central to inculcating the dominant values and mindset in the populace is controlling teachers; in Ancient Greece, Socrates was sentenced to death by poison for corrupting youth by encouraging them to question the prevailing ethos and to develop independent thought....

  8. 3 Research Methodology
    (pp. 32-49)

    As pointed out by Audre Lorde (1984) in her oft-quoted essay entitled ‘The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House,’ critical/feminist analysis requires alternative tools to break through dominant paradigms. The research methodology of institutional ethnography offers an alternative that is particularly suitable for qualitative research from a critical/feminist perspective. Moreover, institutional ethnography is conducive to direct action since it provides a coherent framework of analysis to inform socio-political activism. Thus the purpose of explaining the research methodology here is not only to recount how this study was conducted, but also to elucidate how it can be taken up...

  9. 4 Ruling Structures and Relations
    (pp. 50-96)

    Analysis of ruling relations is facilitated by identifying the ruling structures, or power brokers, of the institution of public education as a whole. The ‘analysis of descent’ begins with discerning contradictions between what the ruling structures say they do and how teacher-participants perceive them. Public relations pronouncements by the various structures in print or in electronic form at their websites provide access to the ruling relations that pertain within and between the ruling structures. Websites proved to be a prolific source for collecting data about ruling structures in claims they make about their operations and histories, intentions declared in mission...

  10. 5 Teachers in Texts and Text-Mediated Relations
    (pp. 97-135)

    Beginning with teacher-participants’ experiences as expressed in the focus group, three specific texts emerged as problematic to them. Teacher-participants’ reactions constitute markers of ruling relations and a starting point for mapping text-mediated relations across the institution of public education. The three texts are a letter from the OCT (appendix I-A) announcing the commencement of the Professional Learning Program that two teacher-participants ‘threw in the garbage’; a letter from the TDSB (appendix I-B), deducting a day’s pay for an alleged breach of legal duties that precipitated a group grievance; and the Remedial Support Program–Teacher Log (appendix I-C) recording extra help...

  11. 6 Counteracting Despair with Hope
    (pp. 136-159)

    Through analysis of texts of the institution of public education and mapping relations across ruling structures, it becomes apparent how teachers’ lives and work are governed extralocally. What emerges is evidence of an ideological code of patriarchal corporate-capitalist neo-colonialist norms and values as constitutive of the institution of public education under reform in Ontario. Acceptance of and adherence to the code extends across the particular gender, class, or race/ethinicity of individuals or groups; it becomes internalized as a mindset and entrenched as the dominant worldview that is assumed to be ‘normal’ and ‘natural.’ The beneficiaries of (or aspirants to) privilege...

  12. Afterword
    (pp. 160-169)

    Teaching does not end when the last bell rings; it is indeed an occupation that follows us like a silent shadow in the berry patch, on the bay, or into the middle of the night (Roland S. Barth, 1990, p. 4). At Big Bay one summer evening at sunset, I had occasion to meet a couple of teachers from London, Ontario, who had taken early retirement in the midst of education reform. Both felt that they had left teaching at the right time, as they could not participate in the reform agenda. Their personal reasons for making the decision were...

  13. Appendix I-A OCT Letter
    (pp. 170-177)
  14. Appendix I-B TDSB Letter
    (pp. 178-179)
  15. Appendix I-C Remedial Support Program – Teacher Log
    (pp. 180-181)
  16. Appendix I-D Letter from OISE/UT
    (pp. 182-186)
  17. Notes
    (pp. 187-196)
  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 197-204)
  19. Index
    (pp. 205-211)