Around the world, countries undertake teacher education reforms in response to international norms and assessments. Russia has been no exception. Elena Aydarova develops a unique theatrical framework to tell the story of a small group of reformers who enacted a major reform to modernize teacher education in Russia. Based on scripts circulated in global policy networks and ideologies of national development, this reform was implemented despite great opposition—but how? Drawing on extensive ethnographic material, Aydarova teases out the contradictions in this process. Teacher Education Reform as Political Theater reveals how the official story of improving education obscured dramatic and, ultimately, socially conservative changes in the purposes of schooling, the nature and perception of teachers’ work, and the design of teacher education. Despite the official rhetoric, Aydarova argues, modernization reforms such as we see in the Russian context normalize social inequality and put educational systems at the service of global corporations. As similar dramas unfold around the world, this book considers how members of scholarly communities and the broader public can respond to reformers’ stories of crises and urgent calls for reform on other national stages.
“This book provides an unprecedented ethnographic look into the making of national education policy. The setting, amazingly, is Russia, but the volume raises questions about how ideas become policy in other nations as well. It is thus a highly provocative and fascinating case study that should get the attention of anyone interested in national and global education policymaking.” — Kathryn Anderson-Levitt, coeditor of Comparing Ethnographies: Local Studies of Education Across the Americas
Elena Aydarova is Assistant Professor of Social Foundations at Auburn University.
Darling-Hammond is the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University, a chief education advisor to President Obama, Co-Director of the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, and Founding Director of the School Redesign Network at Stanford.