Why School?: Reclaiming Education for All of Us


Why School? challenges today's narrow focus on high-stakes testing and economic competition. It also serves as a critical reminder of the broader purposes of school: the intellectual, social, civic, and ethical development of individuals.

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Why School?: Reclaiming Education for All of Us

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Why School? challenges today's narrow focus on high-stakes testing and economic competition. It also serves as a critical reminder of the broader purposes of school: the intellectual, social, civic, and ethical development of individuals.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A beautifully written work . . . [a] moving call for a humane approach to education that accounts for the needs of every child."
Christian Science Monitor
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595589385
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 2/4/2014
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 620,375
  • Product dimensions: 4.40 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

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.
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Read an Excerpt


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
our way.

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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Table of Contents

Introduction Why School?

1 In Search of a Fresh Language of Schooling

2 Finding Our Way:The Experience of Education

3 No Child Left Behind and the Spirit of Democratic Education

4 Business Goes to School

5 Politics and Knowledge

6 Reflections on Intelligence in the Workplace and the Schoolhouse

7 On Values,Work, and Opportunity

8 Standards, Teaching, Learning

9 Remediation at the University

10 Re-mediating Remediation

11 Soldiers in the Classroom

12 A Language of Hope

13 Finding the Public Good Through the Details of Classroom Life

Conclusion: The Journey Back and Forward


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