Educational Courage: Stop Undermining Our Public Education

Uncover a collection of essays about what market-driven education policies have done to undermine public education for students, teachers, and the educational system.

| April 2013

  • Educational Courage book cover
    “Educational Courage” is a collection of essays that illustrates while there is much to bemoan about the current state of public education, there is also much that can be done.
    Cover Courtesy Beacon Press
  • school supplies
    By sharing accounts of the promise and pitfalls of public education and by sharing experiences of resistance to market-driven education, we hope to encourage you to similarly reflect on your experiences. Our stories can shed light on what is valuable and what is hurtful to public education.
    Photo By Fotolia/Stauke

  • Educational Courage book cover
  • school supplies

This earnest compilation of essays and exposés, Educational Courage (Beacon Press, 2012) by Nancy Schniedewind and Mara Sapon-Shevin aims statistic-tipped arrows at the political and corporate forces responsible for undermining our public education. This collection sheds new light on the “ambush of public education” as well as the brave, dynamic stories of resistance made by students and educators around the United States. The following excerpt highlighting some of their courage and the consequences is taken from the Preface. 

Educational Courage

High standards? Accountability? Success for all? What could be wrong with these goals for education? Who could be against wanting all children to learn and succeed in school?

But wait! What if the ways these ideas are being articulated and enacted don’t actually take us where we want to go? What if the standards that are set aren’t reasonable? What if the people setting the standards don’t really understand the students they’re imposing the standards on? What if the teachers are being held accountable for things that keep them from reaching many other meaningful educational goals for their students? And what if the rhetoric of success for all has actually resulted in the systematic failure of large numbers of students and schools that don’t have the resources that more privileged students have?

This book is about the real lives of teachers and students who have been caught in a firestorm of educational rhetoric and putative educational policies that are undermining public education and their courageous reactions to it. You will read narratives of those who have resisted what is hurtful to children and families.



This book is full of personal stories because we believe that the truth of what is happening in the schools is best represented by the words of those who are there. And, because we have asked others to share their personal stories, we begin with our own stories.

Who are we? How did we come to write this book? What educational experiences shaped our own educational philosophies and understanding of best practice?

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