In the rhetoric of contemporary federal education reform, public school teachers are often blamed for and championed as solutions to educational problems. Representations of teachers as heroic and blameworthy are an integral component of a neoliberal rationality apparent in education reform since the publication of the Reagan administration's A Nation at Risk, as they allow political actors to promote individual solutions to systemic issues that affect student achievement. After briefly exploring the rhetoric of reform, this essay focuses on the ways teachers negotiate the discourses that implicate their profession. To do so, I analyze a corpus of 18 open letters written and published online by current and former public school teachers in protest of policy and/or specific political actors. I argue that authors of these open letters leverage their professional identities to protest and articulate alternatives to seemingly pervasive neoliberal logics inherent in contemporary education reform. In turn, I maintain that analyzing vernacular exchanges, such as teachers' protest discourse, is imperative to understanding the material consequences of education policy as well as the full discursive space of policymaking.


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pp. 59-94
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