By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Teacher Wars by Dana Goldstein is listed among the year’s best books. She opens saying teachers are poorly trained to flatten social, racial and economic barriers and their pay is “pathetic” – a median of $54,000 in 2012 versus $70,000 for a dental hygienist!

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…That Catherine Beecher, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s sister, advocated for changing the 90% male profession to gentler women, Horace Mann started “normal Schools;” Federal reforms started in 1953, A Nation at Risk, No Child Left Behind, and Race to the Top.

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…Seeds have been planted in the last 25 years – the Teacher Corps preceded Teach for America; New York, Tennessee and Michigan devised merit-pay systems; and that the Ford Foundation worked to close the achievement gap between rich and poor before Gates.

Goldstein recommends fewer standardized tests, connecting teachers with raised test scores, looking at outdated union protections, better pre-service preparation and teacher mentors.

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Read a good review in The New York Times Book Review.