Bringing Teacher Education Forward Conference, University of Oslo

Keynote Marilyn Cochran-Smith is Professor of Teacher Education for Urban Schools and Director of the Ph.D. Program in Curriculum and Instruction at the Lynch School of Education, Boston College, Massachusetts. A teacher, education scholar and practitioner for 30 years, Dr. Cochran-Smith is widely known for her scholarship regarding teacher education research, practice and policy and for her sustained commitment to teaching and teacher education for diversity and social justice.

‘Ed Reform’ and Teacher Education: The Policy Paradigm that Is Reforming (Deforming?) Teacher Preparation in the U.S.

In the United States, “ed reform” refers to a set of policies and practices intended to “fix” the “broken” education system consistent with a neoliberal, market-based approach. A major assumption of this approach is that standardized accountability practices–most with a heavy focus on outcomes–are the best way to improve the uneven quality of teacher education programs and thus both improve teacher quality in U.S. schools and ultimately boost the health of the nation’s economy. This lecture will identify and critique several of the most highly publicized and politicized components of teacher education’s “ed reform” package. The lecture will suggest that many of these initiatives are not distinct, but are linked together through a loosely federated coalition of organizations, which has emerged since NCLB, and which shares funding sources, neoliberal reform ideologies and operational tactics. The lecture will argue that collectively these initiatives may well be deforming rather than reforming teacher education by redefining it in dramatic—and disturbing—ways that emphasize efficiency and test score accountability while undermining its democratic and social justice goals.
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