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Tep Vol 31-N2

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Editorial: Democratic Accountability in/for/through Teacher Education

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Editorial

Democratic Accountability in/for/through Teacher Education

Patrick M. Jenlink

Few in education today, in particular teacher education, as well as those in society that believe, as did Dewey (1916), that education serves a critical function in a democratic society1 would argue against the belief that the current culture of standards and accountability2 enacted in our society and its educational systems is ill-suited to the function of education in our democratic society, and “democracy’s longer-term goals of transforming the United States into an egalitarian society in which today’s often disempowered youth become tomorrow’s critically engaged, efficacious, and empowered adult citizens” (Levinson, 2011, p. 136).

The past several decades have witnessed the advancement of neoliberalism3 and with it a “New Public Managerialism” leading to the subordination of education as a social institution (Hill, 2006). Hill explained “New Public Managerialism” as the “importation into the old public services of the language and management style of private capital,” which he rightly argues “has replaced the ethic, language and style of public service and duty” (2006, p. 119). We have become “the performative society” (Ball, 2001); our schools are overshadowed by this new managerialism4 and enforced by a regimen of standards and accountability.

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Democratic Accountability in Teacher Education: Now More Than Ever

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Democratic Accountability in Teacher Education

Now More Than Ever

Marilyn Cochran-Smith

Molly Cummings Carney

Elizabeth Stringer Keefe

Stephani Burton

Wen-Chia Chang

M. Beatriz Fernández

Andrew F. Miller

Juan Gabriel Sánchez

Megina Baker

ABSTRACT: During the two decades from 1998 to 2017, “holding teacher education accountable” emerged as the major approach to reforming teacher education in the United States (Cochran-Smith et al., 2016; Lewis & Young, 2013; Taubman, 2009). The logic was that greater accountability would boost teacher education quality, which would boost teacher quality (defined primarily in terms of students’ achievement), which would in turn ensure individual prosperity as well as the long-term economic health of the nation (Cochran-Smith et al., 2017). The key accountability assumption here is that enhanced teacher education quality depends on systematic and vigilant public evaluation and monitoring of outcomes related to teacher education institutions, programs, and teacher candidates. Across teacher education and other public domains, the rise in accountability regimes reflected the broad shift to a global and competitive knowledge society shaped by principles and policies derived from neoliberal economics and from the business world (Ambrosio, 2013; Furlong, Cochran-Smith & Brennan, 2009; O’Neill, 2002; Taubman, 2009).

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Accountable to Many: A Call to Action for Teacher Educators

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Accountable to Many

A Call to Action for Teacher Educators

Julia T. Atiles

Connor K. Warner

ABSTRACT: We are accountable to our teacher candidates to provide quality learning experiences and to the administration and schools to provide teacher candidates who will be able to perform competently. As teacher educators, we are also accountable to the PK-12 students themselves. At times we have witnessed or have read teacher candidates’ accounts of unethical incidents within classrooms. These incidents range from teacher bullying to emotional abuse. Our response to these accounts has a tremendous impact on our teacher candidates’ experiences and development. Using a series of narratives derived from teacher educator and teacher candidate experiences, we attempt to illuminate the tensions we have felt in confronting troubling situations in field experience contexts. We hope by sharing these narratives our readers understand our weighty responsibility and accountability to teacher candidates and most importantly, to PK-12 students. Our call to action is for our readers to accept their own accountability as well.

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Teacher Education and Democratic Accountability in Norway

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Teacher Education and Democratic Accountability in Norway

Tobias Werler

A Democratic Mind-set

According to recent survey studies, Norway is one of the most ­democratic countries in the world (EIU 2017, Global democracy ranking 2016). Those results are partially reflecting the results from International Civic and Citizenship Education Studies (1999 & 2009) investigating pupils’ knowledge and understanding of civic values (Mikkelsen et al., 2001; Schulz et al., 2010; Mikkelsen, Fjeldstad, & Lauglo, 2011). Norwegian pupils achieved high results.

Here, democracy is seen as aspiration or as “a mode of associated living, a conjoint communicated experience” (Dewey, 1966, 1987). As such, it is mirrored in Norwegian teacher education. In accordance with the education act (KUD 2017, § 1–1), Norway’s previous and current teacher education regulations do explicitly demand from teacher educators to establish democratic attitudes and values among future teachers (KUD, 2016a, b). However, such official expectations or curricula of intentions (Goodlad, 1984) of appropriate teacher competence represent state-mandated ideals. They may or may not square with what teacher educators do and what student teachers will be able to do in schools. On this background the question in what ways does current teacher education practice in Norway, determined by a neoliberal education reform ideology (Trippestad, Swennen, & Werler, 2017) open up for teachers’ democratic accountability.

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Schooling and the Manners of Democracy

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Schooling and the Manners of Democracy

Robert V. Bullough Jr.

Contending Views

Digging down into definitions, a kind of conceptual warfare rages beneath the word democracy. As political scientist Robert Hoffert reminded us,

[It] is simply not the case that modern democracy, in the United States or anywhere else in the world, has a singular, coherent, and self-evident structure of meanings and implications. In fact, democracy has simultaneously given coherence to contemporary life and generated many of its greatest conflicts. (2001, p. 39)

In making the case for support of the Constitution in The Federalist Papers, James Madison distinguished between democracies and republics. His distinction was relatively straightforward: “In a democracy the people meet and exercise the government in person; in a republic they assemble and administer it by their representatives and agents” (Madison, Hamilton, & Jay, 1788/1987, p. 144). These two forms of government were understood to be “two species” of what Madison called “popular government,” what might be thought of “in our contemporary terminology as . . . two kinds of democracy: direct and representative” (Tarcov, 1996, p. 26).

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DIALOGUES OF TEACHER EDUCATION

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DIALOGUES OF TEACHER EDUCATION

 

 

DIALOGUES OF TEACHER EDUCATION SECTION

Whither Democratic Accountability in Teacher Education?

Patrick M. Jenlink

Editor’s Note: With the Dialogues of Teacher Education section in Teacher Education & Practice, we invite our readers to join us in a venture to create a venue for giving voice to difficult problems of the day. Specifically, our purpose is to bring individuals together and engage in a meaningful, critical examination of selected topics that concern teacher educators and practitioners. We hope the readership enjoys the dialogue, on “Whither Democratic Accountability in Teacher Education?” in this issue, and that our contributing authors stimulate important and needed conversations among teacher educators, practitioners, policy makers, and other cultural workers concerned with improving teacher education and practice.

The theme of this dialogue, “Whither Democratic Accountability in Teacher Education?” draws into specific relief current perspectives of how teacher education and the work of preparing teachers for their role in a democratic society is being influenced by a neoliberal agenda for accountability that works to commodify teacher education. More specifically, neoliberal ideology has infected our education systems, distracting the public from its right to a public education and focusing the public’s attention on distrust in education and teachers.

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