There can be little doubt that we currently live in interesting educational times. During the past 20-30 years, there have been major changes in government and public thinking about education. This has occured in Australia and in most Western countries (Alexander, 2009; Lingard, 2010) and also in many developing nations (Nordveit, 2010). There has been what Ball (2006, p.10) and many others regard a 'a major transformation in the organising principles of social provision right across the public sector'. Although Ball's main concern is with education, his point is that the nature of western society as a whole, including its underlying values and organising norms, has substanially changed in less than a generation. In this chapter, I describe changes in values and policy directions that have occured in Australia and elsewhere and explain the impact of such changes on the teaching profession. I will argue that the changes, by and large, have had a deleterious effect on teaching and have, in fact, contributed to a substantial deprofessionalisn of teachers to the point that serious debate is needed on what kind of schooling desirable for the twenty-first century and what kind of teachers universities should be endeavouring to educate.
This book is about the stories of teacher educators committed to pursuing social justice in teacher education. It draws on the struggles of those who have taught about issues of social justice within universities, their accumulated knowledge and their practices in classrooms. The purpose of the book is to provide a space where teacher educators can deconstruct their own pedagogies, empower individuals to develop critical consciousness, and inspire a future generation of teachers to engage in social justice activism. To this end, the book provides some insights into the daily realities of critical teaching in conservative times (Brookfield, 2005; Kincheloe, Slattery, & Steinberg, 2000; Shor, 1992).