Dr. Steven Bourgeois and Mr. Ross Miller lead an informal discussion between a current and a former teacher on topics that challenge "best practices" in contemporary education. In keeping with Neil Postman (1979), we support the conserving function of education: “Its aim at all times is to make visible the prevailing biases of a culture and then, by employing whatever philosophies of education are available, to oppose them.”
Steven J. Bourgeois, PhD has been a practicing teacher for the past 32 years. Working primarily in Oregon and Texas, he has taught high school German, string orchestra, humanities, and applied music in addition to several years as a head tennis coach. After completing a PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2012, he accepted a position as Executive Director of Research, Evaluation, and Instruction at Responsive Education Solutions, one of the largest charter school organizations in Texas. After recently retiring, Dr. Bourgeois has transitioned to full-time educational consulting, focusing services on teacher attrition, distributive leadership, student motivation, and classical methods. Leveraging his skills in data analytics, survey design, and data visualization, he currently supports leaders in independent, traditional public, and charter schools. Dr. Bourgeois currently serves as an adjunct professor at UT Arlington teaching doctoral-level courses in qualitative research. Additionally, he teaches courses within the Classical Education Department of the Braniff Graduate School at the University of Dallas. Dr. Bourgeois has a record of publications in peer-reviewed educational journals and presentations at state, regional, national, and international conferences in the areas of student motivation and engagement, along with conceptual pieces on authentic engagement and intrinsic motivation.
Ross M. Miller, MA served four and a half years in the U.S. Marine Corps, participating in the first Gulf War in 1991, before earning a bachelors at Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe. After a brief stint in radio, he began his teaching career in Fort Worth, Texas. Meanwhile, he earned a master’s in history from the University of Texas at Arlington, focusing his thesis on the U.S. participation in the Boxer Rebellion. Mr. Miller has spent 25 years teaching U.S. history in various public high schools and community colleges in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, including Fort Worth, Lewisville, and Keller. Throughout his career he has taught every subject within the social studies discipline, including history, government, geography, and economics. Outside of the classroom, he has led or co-led a dozen student trips overseas as part of cultural exchanges, primarily partnering with schools in Germany and Japan. Mr. Miller has also previously been a part of the Fort Worth Sister Cities International Leadership Academy, a summer program that includes students from most of the city’s partner cities. He has spoken at professional conferences on issues facing education and has published in a peer-review journal on the same. He currently serves at Keller High School in Keller, Texas, as a U.S. history teacher and the department chair.