SAVING SCHOOLSby Paul E. Peterson
In this book Peterson interprets the history of American schools by placing major educational reformers in the context of their times and relates their thinking to our own era by scrutinizing the often unanticipated consequences of their commitments and ideas. These extraordinary individuals provided the critical ideas and articulated the ideals that motivated many others to search for ways to save the schools from the limitations in which they were embedded: Horace Mann, John Dewey, Martin Luther King, Al Shanker, William Bennett, and James S. Coleman. The drive to centralize was pervasive despite repeatedly expressed reform desire to customize education. Peterson argues that education has become an increasingly labor intensive industry that must reverse direction and become more capital intensive or it will descend in quality. Fortunately, technological change is making it possible radically alter the way in which education services are delivered, providing a new chance to save our schools.
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.
[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 reformand 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.
Peterson is always a delight to read...I enjoyed the entire book.
- Harvard University Press
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What People are Saying About This
Chancellor Joel Klein, New York City Department of Education
Meet the Author
Paul E. Peterson is Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government, Harvard University.
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Only rated 1 * because it is lowest bad book
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.