Harvard Educational Review
  1. Winter 2006 Issue »

    Troubling Images of Teaching in No Child Left Behind

    Marilyn Cochran-Smith and Susan Lytle
    In this article Marilyn Cochran-Smith and Susan Lytle offer a critique of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) related to the implications for teachers in educational improvement. Through an analysis of the NCLB legislation and accompanying policy tools that support it, the authors explore three images or central common conceptions symbolic of basic attitudes and orientations about teachers and teaching that are explicit or implicit in NCLB: images of knowledge, images of teachers and teaching, and images of teacher learning. The authors argue that NCLB leaves teachers void of agency and oversimplifies the process of teacher learning and practice. Furthermore, NCLB undermines the broader democratic mission of education, narrows curriculum, and exercises both technical and moralistic control over teachers and teaching. They conclude by sketching a richer framework for teaching that embraces its myriad complexities and acknowledges teachers’ agency, activism, and leadership in generating local knowledge.

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    Marilyn Cochran-Smith is the John E. Cawthorne Professor of Education and director of the doctoral program in curriculum and instruction at the Lynch School of Education, Boston College. Cochran-Smith has written numerous articles and books on diversity in teaching and teacher education, teacher research, teacher learning, and competing agendas for education reform. Her recent published works include Policy, Practice and Politics in Teacher Education: Editorials for the Journal of Teacher Education (2005), and Walking the Road: Race, Diversity and Social Justice in Teacher Education (2004).

    Susan L. Lytle is an associate professor and chair of language and literacy in education at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. She recently authored a chapter in Reconceptualizing the Literacies in Adolescents’ Lives, 2nd edition (edited by D. Alverman et al., 2006); and coauthored a chapter in the International Handbook of Self-Study of Teaching and Teacher Education Practices, Part I (with M. Cochran-Smith; edited by J. J. Loughran et al., 2005).
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    Winter 2006 Issue


    Foreword (full text)
    Senator Edward M. Kennedy
    Introduction to Assessing NCLB (full text)
    The Editors
    No Child Left Behind
    The Ongoing Movement for Public Education Reform
    Rod Paige
    From New Deal to No Deal
    No Child Left Behind and the Devolution of Responsibility for Equal Opportunity
    Harvey Kantor and Robert Lowe
    Will NCLB Improve or Harm Public Education?
    John W. Borkowski and Maree Sneed
    Domesticating a Revolution
    No Child Left Behind Reforms and State Administrative Response
    Gail L. Sunderman and Gary Orfield
    Real Improvement for Real Students
    Test Smarter, Serve Better
    Betty J. Sternberg
    Why Connecticut Sued the Federal Government over No Child Left Behind
    Richard Blumenthal
    Getting Ruby a Quality Public Education
    Forty-Two Years of Building the Demand for Quality Public Schools through Parental and Public Involvement
    Arnold F. Fege
    Accountability without Angst?
    Public Opinion and No Child Left Behind
    Frederick M. Hess
    Forces of Accountability?
    The Power of Poor Parents in NCLB
    John Rogers
    No Child Left Behind and High School Reform
    Linda Darling-Hammond
    Troubling Images of Teaching in No Child Left Behind
    Marilyn Cochran-Smith and Susan Lytle
    High School Students’ Perspectives on the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act’s Definition of a Highly Qualified Teacher
    Veronica Garcia, with Wilhemina Agbemakplido, Hanan Abdella, Oscar Lopez Jr., and Rashida T. Registe
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