From our journals: Politics in the classroom


Meghan Krein

Review of “Bush-Obama School Reform: Lessons Learned”

By: David Garcia, Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College

Published in: Education Review, Dec. 4, 2019

Garcia notes that the editors, Fredrick M. Hess and Michael Q. McShane, “... set the stage for a thoughtful analysis” by broaching tough questions such as: Whether or not the Bush-Obama combined efforts were “slipshod” policymaking or a “gutsy commitment to putting students first.” The answers, the editors warn, may be complicated and unsatisfying. The chapters in this edited volume address major policy issues that spanned each presidential administration, such as testing and accountability, school turnaround and teacher quality, Garcia says. The editors conclude, “The No Child Left Behind era set the table for Obama’s efforts, and that the Obama years largely build on what Bush had done.” Garcia was left wondering, “Should we expect a follow-up book, titled, ‘Obama-Trump School Reform’?”

“Do it all but don’t kill us”: (Re) positioning teacher educators and preservice teachers amidst edTPA and the teacher strike in West Virginia

By: Melissa Sherfinski, Sharon Hayes, Jing Zhang and Mariam Jalalifard

Published in: Education Policy Analysis Archives, Dec. 2, 2019

The authors explore how two events representing different political, social, historical and economic influences converge to shape the narratives of preservice teachers and teacher educators in West Virginia. These events are the 2017–18 edTPA roll out (the Teacher Performance Assessment Portfolio, an assessment of teacher readiness developed by The Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education but nationally distributed and scored by Pearson Education, Inc.) and the teacher strike of February 2018. They use the framework of sensemaking to explore preservice teacher and teacher educator identity and agency, using a phenomenological analysis of narratives accessed through narrative portfolios, artifacts and interviews with preservice teachers, mentors and teacher educators. They found that the confluence of these political moments reinforced a neoliberal orientation for both preservice teachers and teacher educators, positioning preservice teachers to expect teacher educators to intensively support the edTPA and ensure their success while silencing the collective history and moral imperative of protest. 

A note of thanks: The editors and faculty advisors of Current Issues in Education thank all of the faculty, staff and students who volunteered to review manuscripts for the journal on Dec. 12. The review-a-thon was a tremendous success and will help to jumpstart a series of new issues for 2020. 

About our journals

MLFTC sponsors three innovative, open-access journals on education scholarship. EPAA is a peer-reviewed, international, multilingual and multidisciplinary journal designed for researchers, practitioners, policymakers and development analysts concerned with education policies. Education Review publishes reviews of books on education topics and Acquired Wisdom essays by esteemed educational researchers, and CIE is a peer-reviewed journal led by MLFTC graduate students. 

Contact Stephanie McBride-Schreiner to learn more about our journals.