Blaming Teachers: How America Simultaneously Professionalized and Patronized Education



Dr. Diana D’Amico Pawlewicz explains how the push to professionalize and standardize educators beginning in the mid-1800s, without granting them decision-making power, has made them the public face of foundering school policies developed and implemented by local school administrators and state and national policymakers. Widespread policy narratives that schools and teachers acting as mother figures can solve communities’ problems have inherently placed the public’s blame on teachers when those problems don’t disappear, as seen most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. D’Amico Pawlewicz is an assistant professor in the Educational Foundations and Research Program at the University of North Dakota, where she focuses on the history of education and social policy. She received the 2021 Society of Professors of Education Outstanding Book Award for her recent publication, Blaming Teachers: Professionalization Policies and the Failure of Reform in American History.

Related Collections:
Albert Shanker Papers
AFT Educational Issues Department Records
AFT Inventory Part I Records
AFT Inventory Part II Records
AFT Office of the President Records
American Federation of Teachers Publications

Related Resources:
Blaming Teachers: Professionalization Policies and the Failure of Reform in American History

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Interviewer: Dan Golodner
Interviewee: Diana D’Amico Pawlewicz
Music: Bart Bealmear


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