Category: A Gendered Foundation

A Successful Model

Now that the decimation of public education is official policy in Washington, teachers can resist or use this as an unprecedented oppportunity to return to the solution that was abandoned in the early 20th century: the proven success record of schools developed and administered by women educators.Kalsu Book

In spite of the profit motive that sparked the charter school movement by private corporations using public monies and posing as non-profits, a few women educators have been able to seize the opportunity to find funding for their vision of school today.

We will begin featuring such women educators and their schools so others can see how to finance and approach organizing professional autonomy once again in our field.

The first one we will examine Continue reading “A Successful Model”

Our Voice Dims

One of the persistent battles that women have in their work is making their voices heard or counted. Teachers are perhaps the most obvious and prominent example of this effect of a gendered profession.

As early as the 1920s, others were writing about how teachers should be trained and how education should be measured. Again, as this blog asserts, women who opened their own schools were in a stronger autonomous position to manage the education they provided. Feminist activists founded the Brookwood Labor College in 1921, the same year Bryn Mawr was organized for women workers.   fam

The very next year, the push to structure education from outside the profession began. William A. McDall proposed 14 theses on measuring student achievement and William Kilpatrick published Foundations of Method three years later on teacher education. The American Historical Association in 1927 charged Continue reading “Our Voice Dims”

Did I Miss Anything?

Thanks to Tom Wayman for this succinct expression of teacher disenfranchisement when being asked this question.

I wanted to include it here because there are people who actually ask the question of what this means, which is cause for further despair.

Tom is a Canadian teacher. I also wanted to include it because these sentiments are occurring all over the world.

The third reason is his gender. As a man he still experiences the total disregard that women have been experiencing during their careers as teachers. When a man expresses what women have been expressing, people tend to forego attributing it to our gender’s disadvantages. It is less likely to be seen as “just something she doesn’t like” or other whim.

When I want a student to consider another topic, for example, for a speech or essay, trying to get them to think I little more deeply, I am met with “Well, she didn’t like it so I changed it.”

Karen Armstrong, an Oxford graduate, noted thinker, and author of numerous lauded books on God and religion, discovered this same disregard while a teacher in England, described in her memoir The Spiral Staircase.

And lastly, he is my age, but I imagine we both came to feel like this some years ago.

Here are Tom’s words:

“Nothing. When we realized you weren’t here

we sat with our hands folded on our desks

in silence, for the full two hours.tom-wayman

Everything. I gave an exam worth

40 percent of the grade for this term Continue reading “Did I Miss Anything?”

Our Miss Brooks

After the War, teacher self advocacy remained muted but other sectors of the culture ramped up to alter public education as the primary tool for building a modern society, and with it, the public’s perception of what it meant to be a teacher.

 

high-school

The movie movement began in earnest to influence the perception of public education. In 1955 Hollywood chose to highlight violence in “The Blackboard Jungle”. Rather than providing an impetus to problem solving, it became a rationale for criticism and downgrading of public education’s image. On Broadway Continue reading “Our Miss Brooks”

War, Activism, and A Field of Study

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Vincent VanGogh “Trees and Undergrowth” 1887

As World War II began, activism again took the energies of teachers away from professional advocacy.

As is commonly the practice, teachers put aside their own self interests to speak out and help those who were being victimized or were candidates for oppression and inequality.

In stark contrast to the minimizing view of rural teachers as housekeepers in a 1941 article , a student Sophie Scholl distributed leaflets against the Nazis at the University of Munich because “somebody, after all, had to make a start.” Librarian Clara Breed helped Japanese-American children sent to prison camps. Continue reading “War, Activism, and A Field of Study”

The 1930s

We see today the same resistance to women teachers’ authority and autonomy. This is the history of education in America. One surprise in the 1930s  was Hitler’s view of homeschooling.

50s school

Like today, those who went into the “profession” rapidly discovered the contradiction Continue reading “The 1930s”

Women Teachers Get It Done

By now you must realize that I maintain the way for women teachers to reclaim academic freedom and professional autonomy is to operate their own schools. This is not a new idea, but it is an idea that was lost after the diversion of women teachers’ efforts into the suffrage movement. In many ways we never returned as advocates for ourselves. Whether publishing, college teaching, organizational leadership, or governmental Boards, the woman teacher continues to lag in power and leverage.

Too many women who gained Continue reading “Women Teachers Get It Done”

The Only Way to Win: Pt.2

1900 school  The first fifteen years of the 1900s revealed the early controversy about what public education should accomplish, who called the shots, and the role of women. There are not many records of women establishing and administering their own schools, but Margaret Haley Continue reading “The Only Way to Win: Pt.2”

The Only Way to Win

school

Lauren Schiller quoted a development specialist in a May 30, 2016 article for Fortune on how office politics can hold women back:

“I don’t know that they need something special, (special professional development programs) but I do think they need something that’s different than their male counterparts, especially if they’re seeking to advance their careers. Women have a different experience in the organization than their male counterparts, mostly because the organizations’ dynamics were designed by the people who founded them—basically white men. (my emphasis) And since we have different expectations than our male counterparts, we need help decoding the organizational landscape that we’re a part of. So that’s what development programs can help women understand.” Continue reading “The Only Way to Win”