Preparing for Power: America's Elite Boarding Schools / Edition 1

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Why do private boarding schools produce such a disproportionate number of leaders in business, government, and the arts? In the most comprehensive study of its kind to date, two sociologists describe the complex ways in which elite schools prepare students for success and power, and they also provide a lively behind-the-scenes look at prep–school life and underlife.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Visits to 57 American boarding schools, attended by fewer than one percent of the nation's high school students, supplied the groundwork for this comprehensive, indepth examination of so-called elitist education. Since these institutions provide a disproportionate number of our leaders in the professions, business and government, such an examination is important. The prep school ambience as a rite of passage that enables participants to share a collective identity is considered in an overview of the varieties of boarding schools and an inside look at lifestyles of both students and teachers. The prep school as entry to the social power structure is documented with statistics and extensive references. The authors are sociologists at New York University. November 12
Library Journal
For this book, the authors visited more than 60 elite prep schools in the United States and England, interviewing ad ministrators, faculty, students, and alumni. Attended by less than one per cent of the high school population, these schools turn out a disporportion ate number of business, professional, and government leaders. The authors argue that the philosophies, programs, and lifestyles of boarding schools help transmit the power and privilege of elite families. They show how students are selected and examine the curricula, teaching styles, student underlife, and the link between prep school atten dance and admission to the ``right'' uni versities and the corporate boardroom. An interesting sociological study as well as an educational document. Shirley L. Hopkinson, Library & Infor mation Science Div., California State Univ., San Jose
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465062690
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 9/28/1987
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 901,180
  • Lexile: 1350L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.04 (w) x 8.02 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter W. Cookson, Jr., is senior research associate in the Department of Sociology at New York University. Caroline Hodges Persell is professor and chairperson in the Department of Sociology at New York University.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Prologue: Seeking the Prep School Perspective 3
Part I The World of Boarding Schools
1 Privilege and the Importance of Elite Education 13
2 Rousseau's Children: Total Educational Environments 31
3 The Chosen Ones 49
Part II The Prep Rite of Passage
4 Cultural Capital: Curricula and Teachers 73
5 Academic Climates, Teaching Styles, and Student Stress 94
6 The Iron Hand in the Velvet Glove: Trustees, Heads, and Charisma 108
7 The Prep Crucible 124
8 The Student Underlife and the Loss of Innocence 146
Part III The World Beyond
9 The Vital Link: Prep Schools and Higher Education 167
10 Preps at Play and in the Power Structure 190
Appendix 209
References 240
School Bulletins Cited 250
Index 251
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