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Paul Thomas

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An Associate Professor of Education at Furman University since 2002, Dr. P. L. Thomas taught high school English for 18 years at Woodruff High along with teaching as an adjunct at a number of Upstate colleges. He holds an undergraduate degree in Secondary Education (1983) along with an M. Ed. in Secondary Education (1985) and Ed. D. in Curriculum and Instruction (1998), all from the University of South Carolina. Dr. Thomas has focused throughout his career on writing and the teaching of writing. He has published fiction, poetry, and numerous scholarly works since the early 1980s. Currently, he works closely with the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) as a column editor for English Journal, Challenging Text, and the SC Council of Teachers of English (SCCTE) as co-editor of South Carolina English Teacher. His major publications include a critique of American education, Numbers Games (2004, Peter Lang); a text on the teaching of writing, Teaching Writing Primer (2005, Peter Lang); and books in a series edited by Thomas, Confronting the Text, Confronting the World--his most recent volume being Reading, Learning, Teaching Ralph Ellison (2008, Peter Lang). He has also co-authored a work with Joe Kincheloe (McGill University), Reading, Writing, and Thinking: The Postformal Basics (2006, Sense Publishers), and Renita Schmidt, 21st Century Literacy: If We Are Scripted Are We Literate? (Springer, 2009). His next books include Parental Choice? (2010, Information Age Publishing) and the first volume in a new series he edits, Challenging Genres: Comics and Graphic Novels (Sense Publishers). His scholarship and teaching deal primarily with critical literacy and social justice. See his work at:

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21 Articles, 18 Quick Links, 7 Comments, 2 Diaries, 0 Polls

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SHARE More Sharing        Monday, April 11, 2011
Accountability? Start at the Top The new reformers in education have called for greater accountability as key to reform, but the reformers themselves lack expertise or success themselves in education.
Malcolm  Gladwell, From ImagesAttr
(3 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Sunday, March 27, 2011
Journalists, Media Fail Education Reform Debate The media is failing in its reporting on public education and the education reform debate. More care must be taken when reporting research and studies, especially when coming from think tanks.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Saturday, March 12, 2011
"A Question of Power": Of Accountability and Teaching by Numbers The current education reform debate offers solutions without addressing causes for education failures, exposing the reform movement as "a question of power."
(8 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Ironic Lessons in Education Reform from Bill Gates Bill Gates offering commentary on education reform reveals ironic lessons that Gates never intended to give--specifically that no one should listen to his claims.
SHARE More Sharing        Sunday, February 20, 2011
Investing in Deform (vs reform) and (Corporate) Results It may be that my childhood fascination with The Twilight Zone, comic books, and science fiction has clouded my rational self, but I have to wonder if there exists some sort of Bizarro world, some sort of alternate universe where--while Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was delivering his speech at the Ed Stakeholders Meeting on Valentine's Day 2011--this was taking placing simultaneously.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, January 20, 2011
Speaking Expert to Celebrity in 2011--The Education Reform Debate The education reform debate throughout 2010 was driven primarily by celebrity. This piece offers a call for educators to dedicate themselves to speaking expert to celebrity in 2011 to re-frame the education reform debate.
(2 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Friday, January 14, 2011
21st Century Segregation: Inverting King's Dream What would Martin Luther King Jr. say today about the education policies being pursued as we move into the second decade of the twenty-first century? New evidence suggests that our rising commitment is inverting King's dream of educational and social integration.
(3 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Saturday, January 8, 2011
Defending the Status Quo?--False Dichotomies and the Education Reform Debate Over the course of a year, the media-driven education reform debate has evolved into an often repeated narrative expressed by the new reformers--Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Bill Gates, Michelle Rhee, and a growing chorus of celebrities--that has risen to the level of truth with few highlighting that the story just doesn't hold up against evidence.
(4 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Monday, January 3, 2011
Calculating the Corporate States of America: Revisiting Vonnegut's Player Piano Kurt Vonnegut's Player Piano from 1952 offers us a vision of the US we may already have before us--the merging of corporate America with our government. The corporate reform of public education is the logical next step.
From Images
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, December 16, 2010
Finnish Envy Are the new reformers in education incompetent, dishonest--or suffering psychoses? The truth may be more complex than most people believe. Here, the truth behind calls for U.S. schools needing to be like Finland is exposed.
(6 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Saturday, October 23, 2010
The (Shifting) Truth about Charter Schools A study from Whitehurst for the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings rejects the community approach of Geoffrey Canada's Harlem Children's Zone, once heralded as the "Harlem Miracle." This new report shows less about charter schools than it does about political agendas.
(2 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Saturday, October 16, 2010
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell": There's a Reason Captain America Wears a Mask The continuing stories around Pat Tillman's life and death, including the release of a new documentary, reveal that political leaders are willing to mislead in order to protect cultural myths central to their status as leaders. The current charges against bad teachers allow our political corporate elite to ignore poverty as part of a larger "don't ask, don't tell" strategy.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Sunday, October 10, 2010
A Tale of Two Films Waiting for Superman is not the documentary we should be debating and viewing. Everyone interested in education should watch Hard Times at Douglass High instead.
(2 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Tuesday, September 28, 2010
The Great Charter Compromise: Masking Corporate Commitments in Educational Reform The left and the right have found common ground in educational reform--charter schools. But this common ground is cause for concern, not celebration, as it exposes the essential corporate commitment found all across the political spectrum.
(3 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Tuesday, September 21, 2010
2020 Vision for No Child Left in Poverty If we are really interested in school reform, let's commit to No Child Left in Poverty.
(4 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Friday, September 10, 2010
"The Truth Is Always Hard to Swallow"--and Other Ironies Secretary of Education Arne Duncan makes challenges of swallowing the truth, cloaked in civil rights discourse, while ironically ignoring the truth of poverty's impact of education.
(3 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Monday, September 6, 2010
Political Reform Must Precede Educational Reform--Words Matter As George Orwell warns, political leadership that depends on foolish language leads to foolish thoughts and policies. Education and society suffer under that foolishness as demonstrated in the Obama administration led by Secretary Duncan..
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Friday, August 27, 2010
Bitter Lessons from Chasing Better Tests Repeated calls for better tests in educational reform teaches children a bitter lesson about what we value as a people, and that isn't the condition of their lives.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Saturday, August 21, 2010
Brave Words?: No, But Startling Occasion(s) The Obama administration is failing our need to address childhood poverty by maintaining policy and discourse holding schools accountable for social failures.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Reconsidering Education "Miracles" The newest political education agenda includes a narrow and misleading commitment to charter schools, but the evidence is much different than the political message.

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