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American public schools were inspired and created largely using the ideas of six education reformers: Horace Mann, John Dewey, Martin Luther King Jr., Albert Shanker, William Bennett and James Coleman. In Saving Schools, Paul E. Peterson shows how their dreams went wrong; how public schools became a political football with families and communities on one end of the field and states, courts, and federal governments on the other. Peterson sees virtual learning as the solution—technology could be used to reinvigorate the personalized approach that public education's founders and philosophers dreamed of.
— Susan Salter Reynolds
Compelling and enlightening...Saving Schools brings numerous aspects of education history out of the clouds and into focus with excellent context and background. And it's an enjoyable read.
— Laura Impellizzeri
[An] excellent history of American education...[It] explores the reasons why public schools have stoutly resisted efforts to introduce choice and competition to education...If we're ever going to reform our schools successfully, we need to know why American education remains largely a centralized monolith. School reformers will find a great deal of valuable information in Mr. Peterson's thoughtful and informative book.
— Martin Morse Wooster
Peterson is at his best when he chronicles the history of the major ideas that have underpinned modern education reform...Over the course of his long career, Paul Peterson has made major contributions to the cause of education reform—and he's had ample opportunity to become discouraged. Yet he believes that we will, in the not-too-distant future, renew American public education. Let's hope he's right.
— Marcus A. Winters
The best books show you a new way of thinking about a familiar issue. Paul Peterson's Saving Schools: From Horace Mann to Virtual Learning offers a new way of thinking about education reform by recounting the histories of reformers...I encourage you to read it. It is full of insights and nice turns of phrase. Peterson is an able writer, graceful rather than powerful. Happily, the book lacks condemnations, sanctimony, or dewy-eyed platitudes, which puts it in rare company.
— Daniel Willingham
Peterson is always a delight to read...I enjoyed the entire book.
— Jay Mathews
Pt. 1 The Rise
1 Heroes and History
2 Horace Mann and the Nation Builders
3 John Dewey and the Progressives
4 Martin Luther King Jr. and School Desegregation
Pt. 2 The Decline
5 The Rights Movement Diversifies
6 Albert Shanker and Collective Bargaining
7 Money and the Adequacy Lawsuit
8 William Bennett and the Demand for Accountability
Pt. 3 Signs of Resurrection
9 James S. Coleman and Choice Theory
10 The Practice of Choice
11 Julie Young and the Promise of Technology
Posted February 16, 2013
Posted May 17, 2010
Peterson's book is all about Saving Schools Hoover Institute style. In this book he basically bends educational history to the sacred tenets of the Hoover Institute, School vouchers and choice. He blames the decline of public education on an increasingly litigious society (the lawyers) and the liberal boogeymen (ACLU). He also blames the decline in public education on teacher unions who, according to his dictates, are only selfishly looking out for their interests. Another cause for the decline of American public education is the push for more funding when, just as it is decreed in Hoover Institute dictates: "Schools have enough money, they just don't spend it wisely." This book showed promise of having original ideas and thoughts in it, but instead you get the same old tired Hooverian arguments for what amounts to doing away with public education. I'm afraid this one will go to the yard sale table for 25 cents, if I can sell it for that much.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.