Changing Classes: School Reform and the New Economy / Edition 1

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Changing Classes tells the story of Willow Run, a small, poor, ethnically-mixed town in Michigan's rust belt, a community in turmoil over the announced closing of a nearby auto assembly plant. As teachers and administrators began to find ways to make schooling more relevant to working-class children, two large-scale school reform initiatives swept into town: the Governor's "market-place" reforms and the National Science Foundation's "state systemic initiative." Against the backdrop of a post-fordist economy, the author shows complex linkages at work as society structures the development of children to adulthood.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Martin Packer's Changing Classes is a tour de force. Most ethnographic studies of schooling stop short on one side or the other of the classroom door. This keeps us from a more comprehensive and deeper grasp of the complex interaction between what happens inside and outside the school. Packer, seeking a cultural account of schooling, deftly tells a vivid story of attempts to change schools creatively—through the work and play of children, teachers and administrators—in response to devastating changes in the community. He brings changing national and state political forces into this account to show us how broad, competing school reform initiatives clash with nuanced attempts at local reform. This is a remarkable achievement." Jean Lave, University of California, Berkeley

"Offers a valuable, detailed description and analysis of educational reform...a thorough description of what 'school reform' really means, 'on-the-ground'". Journal of Curriculum Studies

"Brings to life the dynamics of the poor, working-class community of Willow Run, struggling to survive in declining manufacturing economy and fearful of the future that lies ahead for its children...Puts the educational process and education reform into the socioeconomic context convincingly and compellingly...A timely resource for policymakers and researchers, and a challenge for reformers who think in abstractions and not through the lens of a single community struggling to do well for its children." Review of Policy Research

"Changing Classes is a must read. Packer gives highly sensitive, compelling, interesting, and creative account of what happens to individuals, schools, and community life as a result of powerful economic and political forces. This story...reminds us how influential schools are to us personally and to those in our surrounding community." Contemporary Psychology

"Humane, straightforward, and accessible...Will be relevant to those interested in whole-school and systemic reform. It should also be read by those concerned with developing new genres of educational research representation that are simultaneously accessible to a range of interested readers and more respectful of the research subjects." Mind, Culture, and Activity

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface; 1. The Class of 2001; 2. Blue Monday: December, 1991–February, 1992; 3. Vehicle of reform, drivers of change; 4. America's birthday; 5. The last First Day; 6. Willow run is America: the 1940s and 50s; 7. Crossing to the new economy; 8. End of year report cards; 9. Rest and relaxation?; 10. Caught in the middle; 11. The change game; 12. The future of the kids coming behind us; 13. Quality or equality?; 14. Coda; Notes.

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