America's Public Schools: From the Common School to No Child Left Behind

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Overview

In this update to his landmark publication, William J. Reese offers a comprehensive examination of the trends, theories, and practices that have shaped America’s public schools over the last two centuries.

Reese approaches this subject along two main lines of inquiry—education as a means for reforming society and ongoing reform within the schools themselves. He explores the roots of contemporary educational policies and places modern battles over curriculum, pedagogy, race relations, and academic standards in historical perspective.

A thoroughly revised epilogue outlines the significant challenges to public school education within the last five years. Reese analyzes the shortcomings of "No Child Left Behind" and the continued disjuncture between actual school performance and the expectations of government officials. He discusses the intrusive role of corporations, economic models for enticing better teacher performance, the continued impact of conservatism, and the growth of home schooling and charter schools.

Informed by a breadth of historical scholarship and based squarely on primary sources, this volume remains the standard text for future teachers and scholars of education.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Sunday Times

A very good introductory survey for anyone who wants to learn more about American education.

Journal of American History

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

Paedagogica Historica

A brilliant contribution to the field.

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781421400174
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 3/19/2011
  • Series: The American Moment Series
  • Edition description: updated edition
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 338,566
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

William J. Reese is the Carl F. Kaestle WARF Professor of Educational Policy Studies and History at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

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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