America's Public Schools: From the Common School to "No Child Left Behind" (The American Moment)

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( 45 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780801881961: America's Public Schools: From the Common School to

William J. Reese's history of public schools in America examines why citizens have repeatedly turned to the schools to improve society and how successive generations of reformers have tried to alter the curriculum and teaching practice to achieve their goals.

Organized around two themes―education as the means for reforming American society and ongoing reform within the schools themselves―this study examines two centuries of American public education. It explores school and society in the nineteenth century, including public school growth in the antebellum and postbellum eras; competing visions of education and reform during the first half of the twentieth century; and social change and reform from the 1950s through the 1980s.

Reese emphasizes the centrality of schools in the history of reform and their persistent allegiance to traditional practices and pedagogy despite two centuries of complaint by romantics and progressives. He describes tradition as a reliable friend of public schools, despite the enormous changes that have occurred over time: the centralization of authority, professionalization of teaching staff, and the expansion of curricular offerings.

Reese's clear and accessible book is an original interpretation of the history of public elementary and secondary schools in America. It should become a standard text for future teachers as well as scholars of education.

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About the Author:

William J. Reese is a professor of educational policy studies, history, and European studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Review:

In this extraordinary book, Reese tells the complex story of American education in a form that is simple but not simplistic, mixing cogent generalizations about historical patterns with vivid accounts of individuals who were particularly influential or representative of the times. He expertly examines the American ambivalence about this institution―seen as both the answer and the source of social problems, making it both the means and the object of reform.

(David Labaree, Stanford University)

A very good introductory survey for anyone who wants to learn more about American education... Provides fresh information about familiar topics.

(Sunday Times)

This is a superb history of our public schools, one that is clearly and colorfully written.

(Don T. Martin Journal of American History)

A brilliant contribution to the field. It is a gracefully written, well-researched, and deeply engaging book that deserves a wide readership.

(Jeffrey Mirel Paedagogica Historica)

Reese has delivered in one volume an analysis as synthetic, intelligent, and importantly, deeply engaged with the most enduring issues in popular education as we are likely to encounter for some time.

(Stephen Lassonde Journal of Social History)

America's Public Schools is solid, if not perfect.

(Dave Moyar New York Journal of Books―West)

The work provides a detailed description of over two-hundred years of public schooling and explores the dual effects of public reform policy as an influence on school policy and the work of schools themselves in adapting to evolving social needs.

(Reference and Research Book News)

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