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ERIC Number: EJ825486
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1467-9620
Teaching for Democracy in an Age of Corporatocracy
Sleeter, Christine E.
Teachers College Record, v110 n1 p139-159 2008
Background/Context: A challenge for teachers who support teaching for and about democracy is doing so while being pressed into directives rooted in corporatocracy, a political manifestation of neoliberalism. The accountability movement today, particularly No Child Left Behind, is rooted in much more firmly in corporatocracy than democracy. Democratically minded teachers face two tasks: negotiating increasingly undemocratic systems in order to find space for democratic teaching, and critically examining what democracy is, including gaps between its ideals and actual practice. Purpose: This article explores the extent to which teachers can enact democratic practice in their classrooms in the current accountability context, and limits that context places on them. Setting and Participants: Participants included two strong classroom teachers in California, both of whom were teaching English language learners from low-income backgrounds, in schools that did not meet Adequate Yearly Progress targets for 2003-2004. Research Design and Data Collection: A case-study design was used for this study. Data included six hours of observation in each teacher's classroom, an hour-long interview with each teacher, papers they had completed while they were students in my graduate courses, and their masters theses. Conclusions: While the teachers were able to use standards strategically to enact a limited form of democratic teaching, both, particularly the teacher who had more experience with democratic teaching, felt thwarted by accountability pressures. I argue that, while democratically minded teachers can navigate accountability pressures up to a point, No Child Left Behind, rooted in corporatocracy, limits teachers' ability to enact democratic teaching, particularly in schools not meeting test score targets.
Teachers College, Columbia University. P.O. Box 103, 525 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027. Tel: 212-678-3774; Fax: 212-678-6619; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A