“They’re So Little and Yet They’re Being Expected to Know So Much”
A Kindergarten Teacher’s Narrative of Teaching in an Accountability Era
Accountability policies (i.e., No Child Left Behindand Race to the Top) in education over the last two decades have produced a culture of fear and anxiety, undermined teacher autonomy over curriculum and instruction, and pressured teachers to focus on raising student test scores, resulting in a narrowing of the curriculum. The purpose of this study was to seek a clearer understanding a veteran teacher narrates what it means to her to be a kindergarten teacher in the midst of various accountability reforms. Situated within an interpretivist discourse of research in general and Deweyan pragmatism in particular, this qualitative study employed an adaptation of Pinar’s (1976) theory and method of currere to make sense of the participant’s narrative. Data collection involved interviews and classroom observations. Findings suggest an increase in external forms of control, an increase in academic rigor, a change in teacher-student relationships, and a decrease in teacher morale.
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