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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: http://wrestlingwithwriting.blogspot.com/
SHARE 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.
(3 comments) SHARE 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.
SHARE 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.
(2 comments) SHARE 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 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.
(1 comments) SHARE 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 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 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 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.
(3 comments) SHARE 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 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 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 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.