With the current emphasis on standards in the schools, one may think that this is a new phenomenon. However, as this pamphlet clearly demonstrates, while standards in American schools have a long history dating back to Reconstruction, the recommendations for what is needed to improve teacher education are remarkably similar—brighter students, more realistic classes, rigorous general education, serious evaluation, and so on. The reports and guidelines share a zeal for the standards they are promulgating, but are thin on research to support their recommendations. The irony is that the 'profession's power is so fragmented, and its prestige so ailing,' that adequate support for teacher education and professional practice remain elusive. The report concludes that only a concerted effort by a coalition of organizations could generate the support needed to achieve a major breakthrough in the quality of schooling and teacher education.
The field of education generally, and teacher education particularly, is experiencing some general disquiet with traditional approaches to the identification and classification of knowledge. Formal research studies, long the source of the knowledge base of teaching, is discredited by new ideologies that are based in the women's movement, the multiculturalists, and persons taken up with newer research strategies called naturalistic, ethnographic, or case study approaches. The book is a collection of essays that rehearses the issues facing the field, and addresses them in forthright fashion.