Much of the conversation about educational reform has been grounded in a conservative perspective, but it is unclear if teachers and principals have accepted that ideology. Interviews were conducted with eight focus groups of teachers, divided between those successful on standardized, high-stakes state measures and those less successful. Analysis of these discussions revealed that teachers felt significant pressures from state testing programs, that such programs narrowed and limited the curriculum, and that principals were seen as part of the overall control mechanism rather than as true instructional leaders. Some teachers felt that they still could create humane spaces within their schools, but that administrators did not support such actions. If teachers are not to revert to the unproductive solitary craftsman model, principals must be trained and supported in being more reflective about the purposes of public education.
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