Scholarly and Professional Publications

For complete bibliography, see Vita page.

The Politics of Arrested Development: Deepening the Purposes of Education, The Journal of Educational Controversy, Vol. 6 No. 1, Fall 2011/Winter 2012 LINK

New review of Reclaiming Education for Democracy at PBK Reporter

A new video review of Reclaiming Education for Democracy, appearing in The Journal of Educational Controversy LINK

Now available:

Reclaiming Education for Democracy: Thinking Beyond No Child Left Behind

by Paul Shaker and Elizabeth E. Heilman.

Winner: 2009 AERA Division K, Teaching and Teacher Education Award for Exemplary Research

About the Book

Reclaiming Education for Democracy subjects the prophets and doctrines of educational neoliberalism to scrutiny in order to provide a rationale and vision for public education beyond the limits of No Child Left Behind. The authors combine a history of recent education policy with an in- depth analysis of the origins of such policy and its impact on professional educators. The public face of these policies is separated from motives rooted in politics, profit, and ideology. The book also searches for new insights in understanding the neoliberal and managerialist assault on education by examining the psychology of advocates who demonstrate a special animus toward universal public education. The manipulation of public education by No Child Left Behind is a case study in the general approach to public institutions taken by the politicians and theorists in these camps. K-12 education has been subjected to deceptive descriptive analyses, marginalization of its professional leadership, manipulation of its goals, the imposition of illegitimate quality markers, a grab on its resources by corporate profiteers, and a demoralization of its rank and file. This book helps us think beyond this new commonsense of education.



Professors as Professionals: Disinterested and Accountable?

Paul Shaker, PhD

CUFA BC’s 20 Questions for 2020 Project

Confederation of University Faculty Associations, Vancouver BC

June 24, 2009

CLICK HERE: Professors as Professionals


“Preserving Canadian Exceptionalism: An Educator’s Context,”  journal article, Education Canada, Winter 2009, Vol 49 No 1, pp 28-32.

CLICK HERE: preserving_canadian_winter 09

From the editor:

Beairsto’s ideas resonate with those of Paul Shaker in his article on the educational and societal differences between Canada and the United States. Shaker, too, claims that an egocentric culture, committed to immediate gratification, stands in the way of a healthy response to change. We are always seeking accommodation to the changes around us. When we choose familiar behaviour patterns over creative responses to new challenges, we pander to our personal comfort at the expense of personal and societal growth. Shaker, emphasizing the social, political, and intellectual costs of egocentrism, claims that Canadian society has not fallen as far into that trap as our neighbours to the south.


“Science for Sale: The Perils, Rewards, and Delusions of Campus Capitalism.” Book review, Teachers College Record, January 8., ID # 14870, date accessed: 2/19/2008 at 4:26:26 pm.


CLICK HERE: Listening to the Music Of Teaching”

Education Week Online Article, January 10, 2001. Paul Shaker.


‘Scientifically-based research’: the art of politics and the distortion of science


Author Posting. (c) Taylor & Francis, 2007. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, Volume 30 Issue 2, July 2007. Co-author: Cladia Ruitenberg

The US Federal Government is forcefully prescribing a narrow definition of ‘scientifically-based’ educational research. US policy, emerging from contemporary neoliberal and technocratic viewpoints and funded and propagated on a large scale, has the potential to influence international thinking on educational research. In this article we continue a policy critique that has emerged and address three problems associated with the US Government’s narrow definition of research: (1) the Government’s claims about ‘scientifically-based research’ are, in themselves, philosophically problematic; (2) the emphasis on quantitative, experimental research is modeled in a questionable manner on techniques from the natural (and especially medical) sciences, and the emphasis on applicability and transferability of findings can be directly related to a predominance of economic principles and discourse; (3) the research commissioned and used by the US Federal Government itself is inconsistent with the rhetoric of scientific criteria. We call for educational leaders and researchers to challenge the Governmental manipulation of science and the marginalization of the education profession from policy-making in its own field.



The pitting of political advocacy versus professional authority has drowned out the crucial voices of educators

In June 2008, The School Administrator, a publication of the American Association of School Administrators.



“The New Common Sense of Education: Advocacy
Research vs. Academic Authority”
Teachers College Record, July 2004. Co-author, Elizabeth Heilman.
CLICK HERE: New Common Sense

Current education policy is increasingly controlled by partisan politicians and the corporate interests that speak through them. Attacking American education and blaming economic troubles on failing schools and low standardized test scores coalesces the rhetoric of the right and draws attention away from many other fundamental social and economic problems. Add to this political opportunity the economic fact that attacking K-12 education leaves this “market” of $732 billion vulnerable to development by corporate America. Though such attacks have been with us since A Nation at Risk an increasingly broad array of cultural and institutional forces are at work creating a new “common sense” of education and radical policies that malign decades of educational research and attack promising practices and reforms. A new type of education scholarship has emerged that is delivered in alternative ways, funded through unorthodox sources, motivated by non-academic purposes, and supported through direct access to media and political organizations, including the federal government. This article examines the details of the new commonsense policy and rhetoric and considers what is being lost and what educators need to do to restore to education its position of civic and moral leadership in our society.


“Teacher Testing: A Symptom”
Teaching Education, Vol. 12, No. 1, 2001

Teacher testing, as it is currently construed,
is a symptom of what is wrong with American public education.
The fervor for ever-higher stakes associated with teacher testing
illustrates how deeply entrenched and outmoded our wrong-headed
approach has become. With the inception of Title 11 of the Higher
Education Act, the federal government has begun a process of employing
such tests not only for entry to the classroom by individuals,
but for determining which institutions of higher education will
have the right to prepare candidates for licensure. Emerging from
legitimate origins and egalitarian motives, the uses of standardized
tests have moved into increasingly dangerous political waters
including attacks on public education. In America, these punitive
and unscientific applications are reaching their apotheosis today
in high-stakes K-12 student and teacher testing, with consequences
that affect the foundations of public education with broad consequences
for United States society.


“Advocacy Versus Authority-Silencing the
Education Professoriate”

Policy Perspectives, Vol. 3, No. 1, January 2002. Co-author, Elizabeth Heilman.

by Paul Shaker, California State University,

Fresno & Elizabeth E. Heilman, Purdue University.
Published in American Association of Colleges for Teacher EducationPolicy Perspectives, Volume 2, Number 1 (January 2002).

For nearly 20 years, public schools have been
at the center of the national political stage, and from the outset,
the methods of the policy debate have been unfamiliar to most
academicians and outside their traditional processes of accountability
and verification. A new brand of academic reflection and research
has found its way into popular media penned by “advocacy
academicians”-scholars often operating outside their area
of expertise yet wearing the garb of objective, expert scholarship.
These advocacy academicians employ the institutional forms of
fostering and evaluating research-peer review and corroboration
and the imprimaturs of universities and philanthropic foundations,
for example-but do so under the umbrella of ideology-based interest
groups. The message is often, though not always, conservative,
free market, and illiberal, and interlocked with the positions
of religious, political, and corporate entities. Many of these
groups seem to be less interested in reforming public schools
than in discrediting public institutions, gaining party advantage,
and opening new markets for profit. The central obstacle to these
aims is often the academic establishment in professional education,
whose scholarship is frequently at odds with that of these emergent


“Left Back: Punditry or History?”
The Journal of Curriculum Studies, July 2004.

Lawrence Cremin in The Transformation of the School (1961) laid out what many believe is a comprehensive as well as even-handed history of progressive education. Recently his former student, Diane Ravitch, has offered a competing volume that has ambitions as extensive as those of her mentor. In

Left Back (2000), Ravitch broadens the range of educators and practices
labeled ‘progressive’ and assumes a highly critical posture toward
their legacy. This essay review contrasts the analyses of the two
historians and uses their own words to illustrate their divergence.
The work of other scholars is also brought to bear on Ravitch’s
revisionist claims. While emulating Dewey, the progressives, in
Ravitch’s view, limited opportunity for the underprivileged, weakened
the academic curriculum, abused standardized testing, engaged in’either-or’
thinking, and espoused Social Darwinist values. Her radical departure
from Cremin and other mainstream historians places Left Back at
the centre of current debates about the legacy of progressive education
and raises questions about the difference between scholarship and


“Literacies for Life” Educational
Leadership, Vol. 59, No. 2, October 2001.

We travel around the solar system, under the seas, and inside the cell; we are wired and wireless; we can cure disease and treat disorders. With all these advances, the
issue of deciding what to teach has never been more difficult.
Curriculum designers face exciting but daunting challenges. The
volume of data has grown exponentially, and information technology
has made accessing that data possible by many means. Traditional
categories and disciplines are breaking down and recombining,
and new fields of study are emerging. Paralleling this growth
in content is the public’s heightened expectations for education.
Those who design curriculums also face the challenge of responding
to a changing social context. New family structures and reconfigured.
gender, ethnic, and racial identities have reshaped the communities
that schools serve. English language and European ethnicity no
longer define the U.S. population. Diversity and globalization
have blurred cultural barriers.

This article addresses school curriculum
in three broad classes of literacy: economic, social and emotional,
and aesthetic. It urges as new relationship between the practical
and the abstract that will transcend the blandness that marks
much of contemporary curriculum.


“Teacher Education, Pro-Market Policy and Advocacy Research” Teaching Education, Vol. 13, No. 3, December,2002. Co-authors Dan Laitsch and Elizabeth Heilman.

Across a wide variety of fields, research has
long been promoted as a useful tool in helping policy makers devise
and enact policy. In the United States, the recently enacted federal
No Child Left Behind Act, specifically requires the use of high
quality research in education policy making. In this rush to emphasize
research, policy makers have overlooked a number of important
considerations, including issues related to research methodologies
and structures (qualitative verses quantitative, descriptive verses
analytic, etc.), and ethical issues around the use, design, and
funding of research studies. Policies justified by research funded,
conducted and published by pro-market advocates who bypass traditionally
accepted norms for completing and applying research is of particular
concern. This paper examines these three critical issues, as well
as their impact on teacher education and teacher educators. Additionally,
the larger role of pro-market advocacy organizations is examined,
as well as the response, or lack there of, by the education establishment.
Teacher educators must actively and effectively engage in this
debate if they wish to retain control of their profession and
continue to promote policy based on ethically sound and methodologically
appropriate research conducted in the public interest.


“Is Washington Serious About Scientifically-based Research?” Journal of Educational Change 00:1–7,2004.

Under the influence of John Dewey, W. W. Charters, and others during the past century, educators have made an ongoing effort to integrate and apply varieties of modern science to the practice of our profession. As with all fields in the human sciences the passage of education to the status of hard science has, nonetheless, been frustrated. We inherited from 19th Century thought the idea that social science could follow in the path of natural science and free itself from subjectivity, imprecision, and weak predictive validity. The message of the 201h Century may be, however, that this is for at least two reasons a vain pursuit. First, the mainstream of philosophy of science today and for more than three decades has accepted that social science will not replicate the methods of natural science and is not likely to achieve the apparent exactitude of those fields. “We need to go beyond the bounds of a science based on verificationism to one which would study the inter-subjective and common meanings embedded in social reality” (Taylor, 1985, p. 52)…

Secondly, there is a larger question about positive natural science itself that can be described in this manner: “The fact that an approach or a subject is scientific, according to some abstract criterion is… no guarantee that it will succeed. Each case must be judged separately, especially today, when the inflation of the sciences has added some rather doubtful activities to what used to be a sober enterprise” (Feyerabend, 1999, p. 158)…


SFU’s New Dean will Shake Up Education Scene

CLICK HERE:- Article in Teacher News Magazine, May/June 2004 Issue