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

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Paedagogica Historica

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

— Jeffrey Mirel

Journal of American History

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

— Don T. Martin

Journal of Social History

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

Sunday Times

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

New York Journal of Books—West

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

— Dave Moyar

Journal of American History - Don T. Martin

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

Paedagogica Historica - Jeffrey Mirel

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

Journal of Social History - Stephen Lassonde

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.

New York Journal of Books—West - Dave Moyar

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

Reference and Research Book News

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801881961
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 9/30/2005
  • Series: American Moment Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 355
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

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

The Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

1 The origins of the common school 10
2 Postbellum America and the common school 45
3 The "new education" 79
4 Democracy, efficiency, and school expansion 118
5 A democracy of differences 149
6 The people's college 180
7 Rising expectations and raising standards 215
8 Guardians of tradition 251
9 The fate of the high school 286
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Customer Reviews

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