Who’s Teaching Your Children?

Why the Teacher Crisis Is Worse Than You Think and What Can Be Done About It

Vivian Troen and Katherine C. Boles

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Many of the problems afflicting American education are the result of a critical shortage of qualified teachers in the classrooms. The teacher crisis is surprisingly resistant to current reforms and is getting worse. This important book reveals the causes underlying the crisis and offers concrete, affordable proposals for effective reform.

Vivian Troen and Katherine Boles, two experienced classroom teachers and education consultants, argue that because teachers are recruited from a pool of underqualified candidates, given inadequate preparation, and dropped into a culture of isolation without mentoring, support, or incentives for excellence, they are programmed to fail. Half quit within their first five years. Troen and Boles offer an alternative, a model of reform they call the Millennium School, which changes the way teachers work and improves the quality of their teaching. When teaching becomes a real profession, they contend, more academically able people will be drawn into it, colleges will be forced to improve the quality of their education, and better-prepared teachers will enter the classroom and improve the profession.

Vivian Troen and Katherine C. Boles co-founded the Learning/Teaching Collaborative, one of the country’s first professional development schools, and Trilemma Solutions, an educational consultancy. Boles is currently a lecturer on education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Troen is implementing professional development school initiatives at Brandeis University.

For more information, visit the website at www.trilemmasolutions.com

"I wish somebody had given me this book a couple of years ago, to read during my sophomore or junior year at Harvard. I don’t know anyone here who wants to be a teacher. If I had read this book then, and if I had understood that teaching can provide the opportunity to be part of a changing profession, I may have considered a career in teaching. Truthfully, I’ve always thought of teaching as a career with limited possibility for progression. Would I really want to teach for more than a couple of years? I never considered teaching to be an opportunity for making a significant difference at a universal level. People who think about teaching and then discard the thought should be given the chance to read this book. It will change the way they perceive the profession."—Abby Bucuvalas, Harvard College Senior 

"This book is a godsend to teachers—written by teachers conversant with classroom life who are trying to create reforms that enable fellow teachers to get the help they need."—Deborah Meier, winner of the MacArthur Award, founder of Central Park East School, author of In Schools We Trust

"Any theory of change regarding public education must focus on the classroom as the unit of change. Through their thoughtful consideration of the 21st century classroom teacher, Troen and Boles urge us to revisit and reinvent the job definition of this critical agent of change."—Diana Lam, Deputy Chancellor for Teaching and Learning, New York City Department of Education

“This is a valuable critical analysis of the challenges facing the teaching profession, sure to cause controversy but also realistic of the profession. It takes a hard, critical look at issues central to the current educational scene. This recommends it over texts that avoid the difficult questions or sugar-coat the field’s problems.”—John Rury, University of Kansas, Dept. of Teaching & Leadership

“For well over a century, teachers have remained second-class citizens in the world of professionals—low pay, poor working conditions, and no path to career advancement. But why and at what cost? In their compelling analysis, Boles and Troen explore both the problem and the price that students and society pay. Their wise diagnosis and imaginative plan of action make this engaging book essential reading for all who would take school reform seriously.”—Susan Moore Johnson, Harvard Graduate School of Education

"It’s easy to be depressed about the condition of teaching in America’s public schools, and learning how it all came about does little to ease the pain. But Vivian Troen and Katherine Boles go one step further and offer a practical vision of how our children can get the high-quality teaching they deserve. Their vision is worth pondering—and even implementing."—Ted Fiske, Former Education Editor of the New York Times and author, with Helen F. Ladd, of When Schools Compete: A Cautionary Tale

“A practical vision of how our children can get the high-quality teaching they deserve—a vision worth pondering and even implementing.”—Ted Fiske, former Education Editor of the New York Times and coauthor of When Schools Compete: A Cautionary Tale

"Teaching is a great job, requiring knowledge, discrimination, perspective, compassion, and an ever-inquiring mind. Why do so few such people go into teaching, or once they have begun a career in public school teaching, abandon it? Kitty Boles and Vivian Troen, teachers both, investigate that question and then propose considerable and thoughtful changes which would bring great benefit to our beloved profession."—Theodore Sizer & Nancy Faust Sizer, authors of The Students Are Watching: Schools and the Moral Contract

"Who’s Teaching Your Children? is thoughtful, provocative, and well researched. It should provide interesting responses and debates. We need books like this one to give us the agenda for the dialogue which too often lacks substance and form."—Vivian Gussin Paley, a leading voice in the education of young children and author of White Teacher and You Can’t Say You Can’t Play

"An educational manifesto, diagnosis, and prescription written by two experienced teachers."—Steven L. Turner, American School Board Journal

“The authors of this important book, two experienced classroom teachers and teacher educators, join scholarship with classroom experience to examine how we can improve the odds that all students will have good teachers.”—Deborah Meier, Educational Leadership

“Educators and legislators alike can benefit from Who’s Teaching Your Children, and the book’s ideas certainly have a place in the education debate.”—Anne Wagner, NationalJournal.com

"[A] well-researched, thoughtful proposal for an overhaul of America’s public education system."—Publishers Weekly

“A compelling dissection of the boondoggles that hinder teachers and keep schools from getting better.”—Patti Ghezzi, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Troen and Boles are marching through well-researched ground in this book. They deserve credit for making the research accessible to a broad swath of public."—Karin Chenoweth, Washington Post

ISBN: 9780300097412
Publication Date: February 8, 2003
240 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4