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Schooling America: How the Public Schools Meet the Nation's Changing Needs

Overview

Patricia Graham is one of America's most esteemed historians of education, formerly Dean of Harvard's Graduate School of Education and Director of the National Institute of Education. In this informative volume, Graham offers a vibrant history of American education in the last century.

Drawing on a wide array of sources, from government reports to colorful anecdotes, Graham skillfully illustrates Americans' changing demands for our schools, and how schools have responded by ...

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Schooling America: How the Public Schools Meet the Nation's Changing Needs

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Overview

Patricia Graham is one of America's most esteemed historians of education, formerly Dean of Harvard's Graduate School of Education and Director of the National Institute of Education. In this informative volume, Graham offers a vibrant history of American education in the last century.

Drawing on a wide array of sources, from government reports to colorful anecdotes, Graham skillfully illustrates Americans' changing demands for our schools, and how schools have responded by providing what critics want, though never as completely or as quickly as they would like.

In 1900, as waves of immigrants swept the nation, the American public wanted schools to assimilate students into American life, combining the basics of English and arithmetic with emphasis on patriotism, hard work, fair play, and honesty. In the 1920s, the focus shifted from schools serving a national need to serving individual needs; education was to help children adjust to life. By 1954 the emphasis moved to access, particularly for African-American children to desegregated classrooms, but also access to special programs for the gifted, the poor, the disabled, and non-English speakers. Now Americans want achievement for all, defined as higher test scores. The public largely ignored colleges until after World War II when research received international recognition and enrollments grew.

Throughout the narrative, we meet the passionate educators, scholars, and journalists who drove particular agendas. We also meet Graham's own family, starting with her immigrant father's first day of school and moving through her experiences as a teacher.

The book provides invaluable background to the ongoing debate on education in the United States, an insightful look at what the public has sought from its educational institutions, what educators have delivered, and what remains to be done.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"One of the country's most respected historians of education presents a compelling picture of how and why American schooling changed over the last, tumultuous century. Using a wide range of sources, from government reports to personal anecdotes, the former dean of Harvard University's graduate school of education shows readers how historical forces such as immigration, industrialization, and the civil rights movement shaped and reshaped the public's expectations of what schools should be and how they should operate. Her historical insights provide a valuable backdrop for the study of current debates."--EducationWeek

"Schooling America is an admirably informative, sensible and balanced account of how schools and colleges in the United States have developed since 1900, written by one of the most informed and thoughtful scholars of education in the United States."--Derek Bok, President Emeritus, Harvard University

"A thoughtful, insightful analysis by a brilliant scholar and educational leader. Must reading for everyone who cares about our public schools."--Donna Shalala, President, University of Miami

"In her provocative and tremendously optimistic book on American education, Pat Graham provides a wonderful history of education reform and does not stop there. Rather than focusing on the failings of our school system, she celebrates the promise of youth and challenges us to be bold in our thinking as we go forward. Schooling America is a must-read for anyone who wishes to be touched by Graham's high hopes for the advancement of our children and the future of our country."--Ramon Cortines, former Chancellor of New York City Schools

"A welcome, concise and readable history of American schooling and our ceaseless efforts to change it, well presented by an eminent education historian." --Chester E. Finn, Jr., Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University; President, Thomas B. Fordham Foundation

"An outstanding and immensely readable book about values and opportunity in America dressed in the cloth of education history. Pat Graham again demonstrates her scholarship, clear insight and the priority and hope she always reserves for children whom we have historically failed in our schools."--David Hornbeck, President, Children's Defense Fund

"Pat Graham ably and eloquently reminds us that public education is a constantly unfolding national commitment and that the duties and responsibilities of educators, policymakers, parents, students and citizens evolve and respond to shifting political, social, economic, and ideological forces. Schooling America, written by a keen-eyed observer and analyst, draws the reader into a guided journey that explores how our nation's schools are adapting to the challenge, and unfulfilled promise, of providing universal, free, and high-quality public education for every child in every classroom."--Wendy D. Puriefoy, President, Public Education Network

"Schooling America is a readable, intelligent, and well-informed synthesis of the history of American education."--Diane Ravitch, Research Professor of Education, New York University; author of The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195315844
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 2/19/2005
  • Series: Institutions of American Democracy Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 628,722
  • Product dimensions: 7.70 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Albjerg Graham is the Charles Warren Research Professor of the History of American Education at Harvard University and formerly Director of the National Institute of Education, and president of the Spencer Foundation, the nation's leading funder of educational research.

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Table of Contents

1 Assimilation : 1900-1920 7
2 Adjustment : 1920-1954 51
3 Access : 1954-1983 98
4 Achievement : 1983-present 153
5 Autonomy to accountability 201
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