Join us as we welcome Bill Ayers and Crystal Laura to celebrate the launch of their new book, You Can't Fire the Bad Ones: And 18 Other Myths about Teachers, Teachers Unions, and Public Education.
Teachers have always been devalued in the United States, but in recent years the pace and intensity of attacks by politicians, the media, and so-called education reformers have escalated sharply. Indeed, the "bad teacher" figure has come to dominate public discourse, obscuring the structural inequities that teachers and students face every day. This book flips the script on enduring and popular myths about teachers, teachers unions, and education that inform policy discussions and choices. Some of these myths, such as "student scores on standardized tests should be used to evaluate teachers," have ushered in an era of high-stakes exam-centric classrooms. Other myths, such as "unions are good for teachers but bad for kids," have led to reduced protection and rights for teachers in public schools, making it harder for educators to serve their students. By unpacking these myths, and underscoring the necessity of strong and vital public schools as a common good, Ayers and Laura challenge readers - whether parents, community members, or policymakers - to rethink their own assumptions about teaching and education.
William Ayers, was a distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (retired), member of the executive committee of the Faculty Senate and founder of both the Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Youth and Society. Ayers has written extensively about education. He is the author of To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher and Teaching Toward Freedom: Moral Commitment and Ethical Action in the Classroom.
Crystal Laura is an assistant professor of education at Chicago State University (CSU) and codirector of CSU's Center of Urban Research and Education, where she provides training to Chicago Public Schools teachers. She is the author of Being Bad: My Baby Brother and the School-to-Prison Pipeline.
Rick Ayers is an Associate Professor of Education at the University of San Francisco in the Urban Education and Social Justice cohort, and USF coordinator of the San Francisco Teacher Residency. He is the author of An Empty Seat in Class: Teaching and Learning After the Death of a Student; Great Books for High School Kids; and Teaching the Taboo: Courage and Imagination in the Classroom.