The American Public School Teacher

The American Public School Teacher Past, Present, and Future

Darrel Drury and Justin Baer, foreword by Judith Warren Little
paper, 344 Pages
Pub. Date: August 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-470-4
Price: $30.00

Add to Cart

Look Inside the Book

2011 Notable Education Book, American School Board Journal

At its heart are the National Education Association’s “Status of the American Public School Teacher” surveys, which are conducted every five years and offer unprecedented insights into the professional lives and experiences of teachers nationwide. This volume analyzes and summarizes the survey’s findings, while also offering commentaries on the findings from leading figures in the worlds of education, business, politics, and research.


This is a stunning achievement. The authors mined a trove of data about public school teachers dating back to 1955, then asked a diverse group of thoughtful men and women to analyze, interpret, and comment. Interspersed among the essays are anecdotes from teachers and former teachers, some of which will tug your heartstrings. You will have favorites among the essays—I did—but very few will disappoint. The American Public School Teacher is a modern-day book of revelations. — John Merrow, education correspondent, PBS NewsHour

The American Public School Teacher provides an unflinching look into the classrooms of our nation’s schools and offers an overview of the current environment that could serve as a survey course on public education. The authors have convened a stellar lineup of scholars, teachers, government leaders, and policy makers to dissect and prognosticate about the future of schools. The result is an honest, provocative assessment that underscores the complications of meeting our oft-stated national goal of helping all students achieve at high levels. — Anthony S. Bryk, president, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Improving schools requires improving teaching. But how can we do that? What does it even mean to be a good teacher in today’s world? With historical perspective, data analysis, and informed opinion, The American Public School Teacher provides a range of answers from top scholars and national education leaders. A must-read for anyone who cares about our most important school resource. — Douglas N. Harris, associate professor, Educational Policy and Public Affairs, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Drury and Baer’s examination of teaching, based on an intriguing compendium of survey data collected over the past half century, is sharp, heterodox, and even-handed. At a time when the teaching profession and the role of teachers’ unions are more hotly debated than ever, I enthusiastically recommend this thoughtful volume to educators, policy makers, and would-be reformers. — Frederick M. Hess, director, Education Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute

The American Public School Teacher: Past, Present & Future proved informative and would be a useful resource for teachers and school administrators. It also would be useful to college faculty who are teaching courses in teacher education and educational leadership. — Elaine Giugliano, School Administrator

A landmark work, The American Public School Teacher provides an indispensable vantage point from which to understand this crucially important profession, its recent history, and its potential future contributions. — Michael Keany, School Leadership 2.0

More Less

About the Authors

Darrel Drury oversees the National Education Association’s Surveys and Data Analysis Group, Higher Education Research Center, and Center for the Study of Education Support Professionals. He formerly served as a faculty member and research scientist at Yale University, where he conducted a broad range of studies focusing on the effective organization and management of public education systems. More recently he held positions as director of Policy and Evaluation Research at Metrica, Inc.; director of Policy Research at the National School Boards Association; and vice president for Research and Evaluation at New American Schools. Drury has published extensively, much of his work aimed at providing research-based guidance to policy makers seeking to improve America’s public schools. He is the author or coauthor of several major works, including School-Based Management: The Changing Locus of Control in American Public Education (1994), Learning to Hope (1995), Reinventing School-Based Management (1999), Exploring New Directions (2000), Charting a New Course: Fact and Fiction About Charter Schools (2000), Building Capacity: Professional Development for New and Experienced Teachers (2002), and Evaluating Success (2002). In addition, he is the author of numerous journal articles, book chapters, and policy briefs. Drury, a former Fulbright Scholar, received his BA with honors from Vanderbilt University and earned his MA and PhD in sociology from Brown University. He also attended Københavns Universitet (Copenhagen, Denmark) and La Ciudad Universitaria (Madrid, Spain) and completed postdoctoral training in psychosocial epidemiology and advanced epidemiological methods at Yale Medical School.

Justin Baer is a senior research analyst at the National Education Association (NEA). His work focuses on helping the NEA’s affiliates understand the conceptual and technical underpinnings of new models of teacher compensation and identifying and disentangling the range of factors associated with chronically underperforming schools. Prior to joining the NEA, Baer directed and collaborated on a variety of large-scale surveys, assessments, and program evaluations at the American Institutes for Research, including the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, the National Survey of America’s College Students, and the National Assessment of Adult Literacy. He earned his doctorate in sociology from the University of Washington.

The Professionalization of Teaching by Darrel Drury

Table of Contents

Other books in Teacher Quality

Learning from the Experts

Edited by Celine Coggins, Heather G. Peske, and Kate McGovern

Other books in Teacher Quality

New Teacher Mentoring

Ellen Moir, Dara Barlin, Janet Gless, and Jan Miles

Other books in Teacher Quality

Alternative Routes to Teaching

Edited by Pam Grossman and Susanna Loeb

Books From This Author