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She uncovers the surprising roots of hot button issues, from teacher tenure to charter schools, and finds that recent popular ideas to improve schools--instituting merit pay, evaluating teachers by student test scores, ranking and firing veteran teachers, and recruiting "elite" graduates to teach--are all approaches that have been tried in the past without producing widespread change. And she also discovers an emerging effort that stands a real chance of transforming our schools for the better: drawing on the best practices of the three million public school teachers we already have in order to improve learning throughout our nation's classrooms.
The Teacher Wars upends the conversation about American education by bringing the lessons of history to bear on the dilemmas we confront today. By asking "How did we get here?" Dana Goldstein brilliantly illuminates the path forward.