This book examines the international hopes for equality in education over the past 60 years by looking at the current evidence and theory on social class and schooling. For more than half a century the relation between social class and education has been the subject of intense debate and political struggle, as well as the focus for the aspirations of millions of citizens and their children in Western democracies. This book will be relevant to teachers, advanced undergraduates and graduate students in the areas of the history, sociology and politics of education as well as policy analysis and applied social theory.
World wide the production of teachers has become a sharp political issue during the early years of the twenty first century. Current systems for ensuring a supply of capable and knowledgeable teachers have come sustained under attack from politicians, economists, parents’ organisations and social critics alike. There is less agreement now about teacher education than in any time over the pass fifty years. Much of the debate in the public and political arenas has been driven by narrow and expedient consideration and too much of it demonstrates a poor grasp of the deep and complex issues which teacher education in a democracy must confront. At the same time there has been a serious educational debate which has focused on what a well trained teacher ought to be able to do, and what methods of training and education can produce competent teachers. The chapters of this book address these issues in a critical way asking what should the objectives of teacher education be. The authors demonstrate the international reach of the debate over teacher education and they ground their discussions within the national contexts of their own experience. All the authors share the view that teacher education involves much more than acquiring a set of skills and techniques. Important as these are the well trained teacher needs, for example, to have an understanding of the contexts of teaching, of the reasons why we teach, of the role of schools as institutions within political environments, as well as a coherent perspective on curriculum and the relevant bodies of theory which give overall point to what is being done. What teacher education entails will probably never be beyond contestation, at least not so long as it takes place within capitalist democracies. These democracies, with their tensions running between liberal ideals and economic imperative, push and pull teacher education in contradictory directions. At present educational ideals seems too quickly and too dogmatically to be traded for immediate fiscal policy. The authors of these chapters articulate the reasons why such short-term thinking will be detrimental to any approach to teacher education which commits itself to producing well rounded and comprehensively professional teachers.
Education has always been part of the search for the ideal society and, therefore, an important part of the utopian tradition in Western culture, politics and literature. Education has often served to define the ideal society or to provide the principal means of creating it. This unique collection of essays by well known scholars from around the world examines the role of edutopias in the utopian tradition, examining its sources and sites as a means for understanding the aims and purposes of education, for realizing its societal value, and for criticizing its present economic, technological and organizational modes. These essays will stimulate new thinking in ways that impinge on both theoretical and practical questions, as well as offering the reader a series of reminders of the ethical and political dimensions of education and its place in helping to build good and just societies. The collection is aimed at an audience of teachers and graduate students, although it will also be of interest to administrators, policy-makers and the general public interested in utopian thinking and its relation to education.