New book explores teacher response to reforms in literacy education

December 26, 2011

Changes in education policy, most notably the  mandates of No Child Left Behind, have often forced teachers to reconcile outside expectations with the specific needs of their students and their own professional knowledge and values. Professor of teacher education Susan Florio-Ruane explores how teachers handle those unique situations in a new book, Standing for Literacy: Teaching in the Context of Change.

Published by Hampton Press in 2011, the book is a diverse collection of case studies illustrating how five teachers creatively preserved their own autonomy and standards while working within the context of reforms (including program initiatives such as Reading First).

Florio-Ruane co-edited Standing for Literacy with College of Education graduates Laura Pardo (MA ’90, Ph.D. ’05) and Kathy Highfield (BA ’98, MA ’94).

“When we walked into these teachers’ lives, we saw they were trying to find a place to stand, basically, in a situation where because of policy changes, they were experiencing being pushed to the margins,” said Florio-Ruane. “The ways they respond influence the whole organization and they actually help to define what the change will be in their school and community.”

Each case study is followed by a response from an experienced teacher educator, including MSU professor of teacher education Cheryl Rosaen and former MSU professor Taffy Raphael.

Many of the contributors also are MSU College of Education alumni, including Linda Williams (Ph.D. ’06), Jodene Morrell (Ph.D. ’05), Jennifer Berne (Ph.D. ’01) and Tony Donk (Ph.D. ’96).