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The Education Gospel: The Economic Power of Schooling / Edition 1

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Overview

In this hard-hitting history of "the gospel of education," W. Norton Grubb and Marvin Lazerson reveal the allure, and the fallacy, of the longstanding American faith that more schooling for more people is the remedy for all our social and economic problems--and that the central purpose of education is workplace preparation.

But do increasing levels of education accurately represent the demands of today's jobs? Grubb and Lazerson argue that the abilities developed in schools and universities and the competencies required in work are often mismatched--since many Americans are under-educated for serious work while at least a third are over-educated for the jobs they hold. The ongoing race for personal advancement and the focus on worker preparation have squeezed out civic education and learning for its own sake. Paradoxically, the focus on schooling as a mechanism of equity has reinforced social inequality. The challenge now, the authors show, is to create environments for learning that incorporate both economic and civic goals, and to prevent the further descent of education into a preoccupation with narrow work skills and empty credentials.

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Editorial Reviews

Times Educational Supplement

This is a major work that is balanced, analytical, [and] accessible.
— Michael Duffy

Review of Higher Education

Every once in a rare while, a book appears that causes us to reassess much of what we believe in. It questions our basic beliefs and suggests that the allegedly wise persons among us may have no undergarments and be blind in one eye. This is such a volume. The Education Gospel is amiably written and forcefully argued...What Grubb and Lazerson have produced collaboratively is a provocative contrarian tract about schools, colleges, job training, and politics...This book is a powerful and salutary assault on educational evangelism, and a compassionate plea that meritocracy may have some new requirements for social justice.
— George Keller

Michael McPherson
At a time when debates about schooling too often focus narrowly on jobs and standardized test scores, The Education Gospel is a refreshing and illuminating attempt to place issues of educational policy and practice in a broader framework of social institutions and social values.
Mike Rose
This is a stunning book, and I hope that educators and policy makers of all stripes read it. Grubb and Lazerson's sweep, scope, and analytic prowess are unparalleled; every chapter sparks fresh thought about tough, old problems.
David Tyack
A lively and thoughtful inquiry into excessive vocationalism in American education. Grubb and Lazerson bring to light some truths that undermine the myths of education's magic power, and make a cogent case for educational and social reform.
David Labaree
Norton Grubb and Marvin Lazerson provide a richly nuanced historical analysis of how the American faith in education's economic power has vastly expanded educational opportunity and secured public support for public schooling, but at the expense of narrowed educational goals and increased social differences. Their conclusion from this analysis is compelling--that we need to preserve beneficial elements of the education gospel, while shifting more responsibility for social equity to the political realm where it belongs.
Derek Bok
Grubb and Lazerson have given us a welcome antidote to the excesses and exaggerations of many of the writers and policy analysts who talk about imperatives of training the workforce for a global technological society.
Arthur Levine
Grubb and Lazerson have written a very important book; the best thing I have ever read on vocational and professional education in America. This volume provides a framework for understanding the national education debate of the past two decades.
Paul Osterman
As Americans debate the sources of growing inequality and possible cures this provocative and original book challenges conventional wisdom. Grubb and Lazerson offer fresh and important perspectives on the role of education in society and in the economy.
Richard Murnane
The Education Gospel argues compellingly that for the last hundred years America has relied too heavily on education to solve profound social problems and, in so doing, has reduced the power of education to contribute to the strengthening of our democracy. The authors offer intriguing suggestions for creating an education system that would better serve our society and its people.
Richard Chait
This book provocatively challenges conventional thinking about the roles of schools and colleges by making a persuasive case that education must be more than an instrument of the economy in order to be a foundation for democracy.
Times Educational Supplement - Michael Duffy
This is a major work that is balanced, analytical, [and] accessible.
Review of Higher Education - George Keller
Every once in a rare while, a book appears that causes us to reassess much of what we believe in. It questions our basic beliefs and suggests that the allegedly wise persons among us may have no undergarments and be blind in one eye. This is such a volume. The Education Gospel is amiably written and forcefully argued...What Grubb and Lazerson have produced collaboratively is a provocative contrarian tract about schools, colleges, job training, and politics...This book is a powerful and salutary assault on educational evangelism, and a compassionate plea that meritocracy may have some new requirements for social justice.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674015371
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 334
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

W. Norton Grubb is the David Gardner Chair of Higher Education at the University of California at Berkeley.

Marvin Lazerson is the Howard P. and Judith R. Berkowitz Professor at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Table of Contents

Preface

Introduction: Believers and Dissenters

1 Transforming the High School

2 Professionalism in Higher Education

3 Dilemmas of the Community College

4 Second Chances in Job Training and Adult Education

5 The American Approach to Vocationalism

6 The Public and Private Benefits of Schooling

7 The Ambiguities of Separating Schooling and Work

8 The Evolution of Inequality

9 Vocationalism and the Education Gospel in the Twenty-First Century

Notes

References

Index

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