Policy Implementers

This picture is one from "the opposite of what America does" meme.

Teaching conditions have been an enduring concern for North American teachers for over a century.
In What’s so important about teachers’ working conditions? The fatal flaw in North American educational reform, Nina Basciaa and Cindy Rottmann trace how teaching conditions have been understood by decision makers and in educational research over time.

Their paper draws on historical research on the formation of mass public education systems to consider why the conditions teachers identify as critical to their work have been so persistently ignored by policy makers and researchers.

Basciaa and Rottmann review the major ways that teaching conditions have been understood to matter in educational research, focusing first on psychological understandings about the relationship between working conditions and teacher motivation and then on the organizational factors teachers identify as critical to their sense of efficacy and job satisfaction. These two conceptualizations, however, are limited in their explanatory power because they are embedded in a bureaucratic framework where teachers are understood primarily as implementers of policy decisions made by their organizational superiors. Attempting to understand the full power of teaching conditions requires a more comprehensive understanding of teaching and learning processes closer to the ground. The authors provide descriptions of teachers’ work emerging from a recent study in order to demonstrate the close and reciprocal relationships between teaching conditions and students’ opportunities to learn. 
paraphrased from paper's abstract
Journal of Education Policy, Volume 26, Issue 6, 2011

Here are what Canadian literacy workers have to say about working conditions in Literacies Fall 2007: Working in literacy

More on the bureaucratic framework where teachers are understood primarily as implementers of policy decisions made by their organizational superiors:

In this article, Kozol writes about class and race inequity in the US education system. He also discusses the effect a curriculum designed to produce 'productive citizens'  has on students and teachers.
"Forcing an absurdity on teachers does teach something," said an African-American professor. "It teaches acquiescence. It breaks down the will to thumb your nose at pointless protocols to call absurdity 'absurd'."
See the "Rubric for Filing" and the "Multi-Modal Pumpkin Unit." 

Plus ├ža change...
Contested Ground: Performance Accountability by Juliet Merrifield at the Center for Literacy Studies, University of Tennessee NCSALL REPORT #1 July 1998
Click here to download the full PDF: http://www.greedymouse.ca/PDF/contestedground.pdf
The customers of adult education began to be defined as employers, interested in the “product” of skilled employees. The Business Council for Effective Literacy was started in 1983 “to encourage business and industry to join in the fight against adult illiteracy” (Harman, 1985, p. i), with a particular focus on providing information and resources for businesses wishing to upgrade their workforce skills. Japanese management practices gained adherents in the U.S., and firms began to demand that education pay similar attention to quality control, results, and customer demands. (p. 6)
In Canada, ABC Canada, now ABC Life Literacy, 
...was launched in 1990 – International Literacy Year – by a group of business, labour and education leaders concerned about the social and economic effects of wide-spread literacy challenges among Canadian adults. (from here)

Becoming Policy Literate by Joseph Lo Bianco (PDF) at the Centre of Literacy for Quebec, June 2004
It is sometimes alienating for insiders in a field of practice to encounter reconstruction of their lived encounters and professional practices for purposes that will ultimately impact on their field of activity. (p. 6)
Race, Class, Gender, and Sexual Orientation in ABE by Deborah D'Amico
Click here to download the PDF (Chapter 2) : http://www.ncsall.net/index.php@id=497.html
It can be said that the marginalization of the field has its source not only in the low status of learners (as seen by mainstream society) but also in the low status of most practitioners. As noted in [Jenny] Horsman (2001a)*, practitioners often take on the struggle of dealing with funding limitations, poor working conditions, and long hours because they are aware of how well off they are in comparison with learners. (p. 41)
*Creating Change in Literacy Programs by Jenny Horsman
When literacy workers imagined the possibilities of shifting discourses and creating spaces for new practices in adult literacy, they often spoke of constraints within their own institutions and within government discourses. They struggled with the limitations that could not be moved unless they could shift the frames of their work at the highest levels. Teachers might feel the constraints from the administration, but administrators were clear that they were limited by provincial or state constraints and policy change was needed at that level. (p. 34)

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