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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/
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.
Saturday, January 8, 2011(3 comments)
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.
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.
Sunday, October 10, 2010(1 comments)
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.
Saturday, October 16, 2010(2 comments)
"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.
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.
Sunday, March 27, 2011(3 comments)
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.
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.
Friday, January 14, 2011(2 comments)
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.
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.
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.