"A beautifully written work . . . [a] moving call for a humane approach to education that accounts for the needs of every child."
Christian Science Monitor
Why School? is a little book driven by big questions. What does it mean to be educated? What is intelligence? How should we think about intelligence, education, and opportunity in an open society? Drawing on forty years of teaching and research and "a profound understanding of the opportunities, both intellectual and economic, that come from education"/i>… See more details below
Why School? is a little book driven by big questions. What does it mean to be educated? What is intelligence? How should we think about intelligence, education, and opportunity in an open society? Drawing on forty years of teaching and research and "a profound understanding of the opportunities, both intellectual and economic, that come from education" (Booklist), award-winning author Mike Rose reflects on these and other questions related to public schooling in America. He answers them in beautifully written chapters that are both rich in detail and informed by an extensive knowledge of history, the psychology of learning, and the politics of education.
This paperback edition includes three new chapters showing how cognitive science actually narrows our understanding of learning, how to increase college graduation rates, and how to value the teaching of basic skills. An updated introduction by Rose, who has been hailed as "a superb writer and an even better storyteller" (TLN Teachers Network), reflects on recent developments in school reform. Lauded as "a beautifully written work of literary nonfiction" (The Christian Science Monitor) and called "stunning" by the New Educator Journal, Why School? offers an eloquent call for a bountiful democratic vision of the purpose of schooling.
Mike Rose, a professor in the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, is the author of Lives on the Boundary, The Mind at Work, and Possible Lives. Among his many awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Grawemeyer Award in Education, and the Commonwealth Club of California Award for Literary Excellence in Nonfiction. He lives in Santa Monica.
WHY SCHOOL? comes from a professional lifetime
in classrooms, creating and running educational programs,
teaching and researching, writing and thinking
about education and human development. It offers a
series of appeals for big-hearted social policy and an
embrace of the ideals of democratic education—from
the way we define and structure opportunity to the way
we respond to a child adding a column of numbers.
Collectively, the chapters provide a bountiful vision of
human potential, illustrated through the schoolhouse,
the workplace, and the community.
We need such appeals, I think, because we have lost
We live in an anxious age and seek our grounding,
our assurances in ways that don’t satisfy our longing—
that, in fact, make things worse. We’ve lost hope in
the public sphere and grab at private solutions, which
undercut the sharing of obligation and risk and keep
us scrambling for individual advantage. We’ve narrowed
the purpose of schooling to economic competitiveness,
our kids becoming economic indicators.
We’ve reduced our definition of human development
and achievement—that miraculous growth of intelligence,
sensibility, and the discovery of the world—to a
test score. Though we pride ourselves as a nation of
opportunity and a second chance, our social policies
can be terribly ungenerous. We rush to embrace the
new—in work, in goods, in the language we use to describe
our problems—yet long for tradition, for craft,
for the touch of earth, wood, another hand.
We do live in uncertain and unsettling times, but one
can imagine all sorts of responses, and we have been
taking—and have been led to take—those that are
fear–based, inhumane, less than noble. We yearn for
more and as a society deserve better. This yearning was
one of the forces that drove the election of Barack
My hope is that the contents of this book in some
small way contribute to a reinvigorated discussion of
why we educate in America, maybe through a particular
story, maybe because of information I can provide
from my own teaching and research, maybe from a perspective
that provides a different way to see.
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