Dissecting twenty years of educational politics in our nation’s largest cities, American School Reform offers one of the clearest assessments of school reform as it has played out in our recent history. Joseph P. McDonald and his colleagues evaluate the half-billion-dollar Annenberg Challenge—launched in 1994—alongside other large-scale reform efforts that have taken place in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay Area. They look deeply at what school reform really is, how it works, how it fails, and what differences it can make nonetheless.
McDonald and his colleagues lay out several interrelated ideas in what they call a theory of action space. Frequently education policy gets so ambitious that implementing it becomes a near impossibility. Action space, however, is what takes shape when talented educators, leaders, and reformers guide the social capital of civic leaders and the financial capital of governments, foundations, corporations, and other backers toward true results. Exploring these extraordinary collaborations through their lifespans and their influences on future efforts, the authors provide political hope—that reform efforts can work, and that our schools can be made better.
In 1949, a small book had a big impact on education. In just over one hundred pages, Ralph W. Tyler presented the concept that curriculum should be dynamic, a program under constant evaluation and revision. Curriculum had always been thought of as a static, set program, and in an era preoccupied with student testing, he offered the innovative idea that teachers and administrators should spend as much time evaluating their plans as they do assessing their students.
Since then, Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction has been a standard reference for anyone working with curriculum development. Although not a strict how-to guide, the book shows how educators can critically approach curriculum planning, studying progress and retooling when needed. Its four sections focus on setting objectives, selecting learning experiences, organizing instruction, and evaluating progress. Readers will come away with a firm understanding of how to formulate educational objectives and how to analyze and adjust their plans so that students meet the objectives. Tyler also explains that curriculum planning is a continuous, cyclical process, an instrument of education that needs to be fine-tuned.
This emphasis on thoughtful evaluation has kept Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction a relevant, trusted companion for over sixty years. And with school districts across the nation working feverishly to align their curriculum with Common Core standards, Tyler's straightforward recommendations are sound and effective tools for educators working to create a curriculum that integrates national objectives with their students' needs.
This innovative portrait of student life in an urban high school focuses on the academic success of African-American students, exploring the symbolic role of academic achievement within the Black community and investigating the price students pay for attaining it. Signithia Fordham's richly detailed ethnography reveals a deeply rooted cultural system that favors egalitarianism and group cohesion over the individualistic, competitive demands of academic success and sheds new light on the sources of academic performance. She also details the ways in which the achievements of sucessful African-Americans are "blacked out" of the public imagination and negative images are reflected onto black adolescents. A self-proclaimed "native" anthropologist, she chronicles the struggle of African-American students to construct an identity suitable to themselves, their peers, and their families within an arena of colliding ideals. This long-overdue contribution is of crucial importance to educators, policymakers, and ethnographers.
Historically, Americans of all stripes have concurred that teachers were essential to the success of the public schools and nation. However, they have also concurred that public school teachers were to blame for the failures of the schools and identified professionalization as a panacea.
In Blaming Teachers, Diana D'Amico Pawlewicz reveals that historical professionalization reforms subverted public school teachers’ professional legitimacy. Superficially, professionalism connotes authority, expertise, and status. Professionalization for teachers never unfolded this way; rather, it was a policy process fueled by blame where others identified teachers’ shortcomings. Policymakers, school leaders, and others understood professionalization measures for teachers as efficient ways to bolster the growing bureaucratic order of the public schools through regulation and standardization. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century with the rise of municipal public school systems and reaching into the 1980s, Blaming Teachers traces the history of professionalization policies and the discourses of blame that sustained them.
Building a Curriculum for General Education was first published in 1943. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
This innovative curriculum book provides key materials, resources, and tools to help secondary educators prepare their students to be engaged citizens of their community, state, nation and world. Five complete units of instruction, based on West Virginia Content Standards and Objectives, provide meaningful lessons while being mindful of the transition from tangible text to more digital curricula:
•Rights of the Individual
•Freedoms of the Individual
•Responsibilities of the Individual
•Beliefs Concerning Societal Conditions
Additional features of the curriculum include:
•24 lessons that provide specific teaching and learning strategies
•4 culminating activities for enrichment opportunities
•A matrix illustrating the West Virginia Content Standards and Objectives covered
•A matrix illustrating compliance with the National Council for the Social Studies Standards
•A curriculum toolbox that provides over 70 engaging web sites to visit and explore.
Stories abound about the lengths to which middle- and upper-middle-class parents will go to ensure a spot for their child at a prestigious university. From the Suzuki method to calculus-based physics, from AP tests all the way back to early-learning Kumon courses, students are increasingly pushed to excel with that Harvard or Yale acceptance letter held tantalizingly in front of them. And nowhere is this drive more apparent than in our elite secondary schools. In Class Warfare, Lois Weis, Kristin Cipollone, and Heather Jenkins go inside the ivy-yearning halls of three such schools to offer a day-to-day, week-by-week look at this remarkable drive toward college admissions and one of its most salient purposes: to determine class.
Drawing on deep and sustained contact with students, parents, teachers, and administrators at three iconic secondary schools in the United States, the authors unveil a formidable process of class positioning at the heart of the college admissions process. They detail the ways students and parents exploit every opportunity and employ every bit of cultural, social, and economic capital they can in order to gain admission into a “Most Competitive” or “Highly Competitive Plus” university. Moreover, they show how admissions into these schools—with their attendant rankings—are used to lock in or improve class standing for the next generation. It’s a story of class warfare within a given class, the substrata of which—whether economically, racially, or socially determined—are fiercely negotiated through the college admissions process.
In a historic moment marked by deep economic uncertainty, anxieties over socioeconomic standing are at their highest. Class, as this book shows, must be won, and the collateral damage of this aggressive pursuit may just be education itself, flattened into a mere victory banner.
Desi Land is Shalini Shankar’s lively ethnographic account of South Asian American teen culture during the Silicon Valley dot-com boom. Shankar focuses on how South Asian Americans, or “Desis,” define and manage what it means to be successful in a place brimming with the promise of technology. Between 1999 and 2001 Shankar spent many months “kickin’ it” with Desi teenagers at three Silicon Valley high schools, and she has since followed their lives and stories. The diverse high-school students who populate Desi Land are Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and Sikhs, from South Asia and other locations; they include first- to fourth-generation immigrants whose parents’ careers vary from assembly-line workers to engineers and CEOs. By analyzing how Desi teens’ conceptions and realizations of success are influenced by community values, cultural practices, language use, and material culture, she offers a nuanced portrait of diasporic formations in a transforming urban region.
Whether discussing instant messaging or arranged marriages, Desi bling or the pressures of the model minority myth, Shankar foregrounds the teens’ voices, perspectives, and stories. She investigates how Desi teens interact with dialogue and songs from Bollywood films as well as how they use their heritage language in ways that inform local meanings of ethnicity while they also connect to a broader South Asian diasporic consciousness. She analyzes how teens negotiate rules about dating and reconcile them with their longer-term desire to become adult members of their communities. In Desi Land Shankar not only shows how Desi teens of different socioeconomic backgrounds are differently able to succeed in Silicon Valley schools and economies but also how such variance affects meanings of race, class, and community for South Asian Americans.
In Divergent Paths to College, Megan M. Holland examines how high schools structure different pathways that lead students to very different college destinations based on race and class. She finds that racial and class inequalities are reproduced through unequal access to key sources of information, even among students in the same school and even in schools with well-established college-going cultures. As the college application process becomes increasingly complex and high-stakes, social capital, or relationships with people who can provide information as well as support and guidance, becomes much more critical. Although much has been written about the college-bound experience, we know less about the role that social capital plays, and specifically how high schools can serve as organizational brokers of social ties. The relationships that high schools cultivate between students and higher education institutions by inviting college admissions officers into their schools to market to students, is a particularly critical, yet unexplored source of college information.
The Enigmatic Academy is a provocative look at the purpose and practice of education in America. Authors Christian Churchill and Gerald Levy use three case studies—a liberal arts college, a boarding school, and a Job Corps center—to illustrate how class, bureaucratic, and secular-religious dimensions of education prepare youth for participation in American foreign and domestic policy at all levels.
The authors describe how schools contribute to the formation of a bureaucratic character; how middle and upper class students are trained for leadership positions in corporations, government, and the military; and how the education of lower class students often serves more powerful classes and institutions.
Exploring how youth and their educators encounter the complexities of ideology and bureaucracy in school, The Enigmatic Academy deepens our understanding of the flawed redemptive relationship between education and society in the United States. Paradoxically, these three studied schools all prepare students to participate in a society whose values they oppose.
Why teach about religion in public schools? What educational value can such courses potentially have for students?
In For the Civic Good, Walter Feinberg and Richard A. Layton offer an argument for the contribution of Bible and world religion electives. The authors argue that such courses can, if taught properly, promote an essential aim of public education: the construction of a civic public, where strangers engage with one another in building a common future. The humanities serve to awaken students to the significance of interpretive and analytic skills, and religion and Bible courses have the potential to add a reflective element to these skills. In so doing, students awaken to the fact of their own interpretive framework and how it influences their understanding of texts and practices. The argument of the book is developed by reports on the authors’ field research, a two-year period in which they observed religion courses taught in various public high schools throughout the country, from the “Bible Belt” to the suburban parkway. They document the problems in teaching religion courses in an educationally appropriate way, but also illustrate the argument for a humanities-based approach to religion by providing real classroom models of religion courses that advance the skills critical to the development of a civic public.
Today, over 75 percent of high school seniors aspire to graduate from college. However, only one-third of Americans hold a bachelor’s degree, and college graduation rates vary significantly by race/ethnicity and parental socioeconomic status. If most young adults aspire to obtain a college degree, why are these disparities so great? In From High School to College, Charles Hirschman analyzes the period between leaving high school and completing college for nearly 10,000 public and private school students across the Pacific Northwest.
Hirschman finds that although there are few gender, racial, or immigration-related disparities in students’ aspirations to attend and complete college, certain groups succeed at the highest rates. For example, he finds that women achieve better high school grades and report receiving more support and encouragement from family, peers, and educators. They tend to outperform men in terms of preparing for college, enrolling in college within a year of finishing high school, and completing a degree. Similarly, second-generation immigrants are better prepared for college than first-generation immigrants, in part because they do not have to face language barriers or learn how to navigate the American educational system.
Hirschman also documents that racial disparities in college graduation rates remain stark. In his sample, 35 percent of white students graduated from college within seven years of completing high school, compared to only 19 percent of black students and 18 percent of Hispanic students. Students’ socioeconomic origins—including parental education and employment, home ownership, and family structure—account for most of the college graduation gap between disadvantaged minorities and white students. Further, while a few Asian ethnic groups have achieved college completion rates on par with whites, such as Chinese and Koreans, others, whose socioeconomic origins more resemble those of black and Hispanic students, such as Filipinos and Cambodians, also lag behind in preparedness, enrollment, and graduation from college.
With a growing number of young adults seeking college degrees, understanding the barriers that different students encounter provides vital information for social scientists and educators. From High School to College illuminates how gender, immigration, and ethnicity influence the path to college graduation.
In 2005 the World Bank released a gender assessment of the nation of Jordan, a country that, like many in the Middle East, has undergone dramatic social and gender transformations, in part by encouraging equal access to education for men and women. The resulting demographic picture there—highly educated women who still largely stay at home as mothers and caregivers— prompted the World Bank to label Jordan a “gender paradox.” In Gendered Paradoxes, Fida J. Adely shows that assessment to be a fallacy, taking readers into the rarely seen halls of a Jordanian public school—the al-Khatwa High School for Girls—and revealing the dynamic lives of its students, for whom such trends are far from paradoxical.
Through the lives of these students, Adely explores the critical issues young people in Jordan grapple with today: nationalism and national identity, faith and the requisites of pious living, appropriate and respectable gender roles, and progress. In the process she shows the important place of education in Jordan, one less tied to the economic ends of labor and employment that are so emphasized by the rest of the developed world. In showcasing alternative values and the highly capable young women who hold them, Adely raises fundamental questions about what constitutes development, progress, and empowerment—not just for Jordanians, but for the whole world.
It isn’t just in recent arguments over the teaching of intelligent design or reciting the pledge of allegiance that religion and education have butted heads: since their beginnings nearly two centuries ago, public schools have been embroiled in heated controversies over religion’s place in the education system of a pluralistic nation. In this book, Benjamin Justice and Colin Macleod take up this rich and significant history of conflict with renewed clarity and astonishing breadth. Moving from the American Revolution to the present—from the common schools of the nineteenth century to the charter schools of the twenty-first—they offer one of the most comprehensive assessments of religion and education in America that has ever been published.
From Bible readings and school prayer to teaching evolution and cultivating religious tolerance, Justice and Macleod consider the key issues and colorful characters that have shaped the way American schools have attempted to negotiate religious pluralism in a politically legitimate fashion. While schools and educational policies have not always advanced tolerance and understanding, Justice and Macleod point to the many efforts Americans have made to find a place for religion in public schools that both acknowledges the importance of faith to so many citizens and respects democratic ideals that insist upon a reasonable separation of church and state. Finally, they apply the lessons of history and political philosophy to an analysis of three critical areas of religious controversy in public education today: student-led religious observances in extracurricular activities, the tensions between freedom of expression and the need for inclusive environments, and the shift from democratic control of schools to loosely regulated charter and voucher programs.
Altogether Justice and Macleod show how the interpretation of educational history through the lens of contemporary democratic theory offers both a richer understanding of past disputes and new ways of addressing contemporary challenges.
At fifteen, Victor Rios found himself a human target—flat on his ass amid a hail of shotgun fire, desperate for money and a place on the street. Faced with the choice of escalating a drug turf war or eking out a living elsewhere, he turned to a teacher, who mentored him and helped him find a job at an auto shop. That job would alter the course of his whole life—putting him on the road to college and eventually a PhD. Now, Rios is a rising star, hailed for his work studying the lives of African American and Latino youth.
In Human Targets, Rios takes us to the streets of California, where we encounter young men who find themselves in much the same situation as fifteen-year-old Victor. We follow young gang members into schools, homes, community organizations, and detention facilities, watch them interact with police, grow up to become fathers, get jobs, get rap sheets—and in some cases get killed. What is it that sets apart young people like Rios who succeed and survive from the ones who don’t? Rios makes a powerful case that the traditional good kid/bad kid, street kid/decent kid dichotomy is much too simplistic, arguing instead that authorities and institutions help create these identities—and that they can play an instrumental role in providing young people with the resources for shifting between roles. In Rios’s account, to be a poor Latino youth is to be a human target—victimized and considered an enemy by others, viewed as a threat to law enforcement and schools, and burdened by stigma, disrepute, and punishment. That has to change.
This is not another sensationalistic account of gang bangers. Instead, the book is a powerful look at how authority figures succeed—and fail—at seeing the multi-faceted identities of at-risk youths, youths who succeed—and fail—at demonstrating to the system that they are ready to change their lives. In our post-Ferguson era, Human Targets is essential reading.
It is widely believed that a child's imagination ought to be
stimulated and developed in education. Yet, few teachers
understand what imagination is or how it lends itself to
practical methods and techniques that can be used easily in
classroom instruction. In this book, Kieran Egan—winner of
the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for his work on
imagination—takes up where his Teaching as Story Telling
left off, offering practical help for teachers who want to
engage, stimulate, and develop the imaginative and learning
processes of children between the ages of eight to fifteen.
This book is not about unusually imaginative students and
teachers. Rather, it is about the typical student's
imaginative life and how it can be stimulated in learning,
how the average teacher can plan to achieve this aim, and how
the curriculum can be structured to help achieve this aim.
Slim and determinedly practical, this book contains a wealth
of concrete examples of curriculum design and teaching
techniques structured to appeal specifically to children in
their middle school years.
An award-winning professor and an accomplished educator, Jal Mehta and Sarah Fine take us beyond the hype of reform and inside some of America’s most innovative classrooms to show what is working—and what isn’t. In a world where test scores have been king, this boldly humanistic book offers a rich account of what education can be at its best.
More students are enrolling in college than ever before in U.S. history. Yet, many never graduate. In The Journey Before Us, Laura Nichols examines why this is by sharing the experiences of aspiring first-generation college students as they move from middle-school to young adulthood. By following the educational trajectories and transitions of Latinx, mainly second-generation immigrant students and analyzing national data, Nichols explores the different paths that students take and the factors that make a difference. The interconnected role of schools, neighborhoods, policy, employment, advocates, identity, social class, and family reveal what must change to address the “college completion crisis.” Appropriate for anyone wanting to understand their own educational journey as well as students, teachers, counselors, school administrators, scholars, and policymakers, The Journey Before Us outlines what is needed so that education can once again be a means of social mobility for those who would be the first in their families to graduate from college.
Located near Cumberland Gap in the rugged hills of East Tennessee, Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) was founded in 1897 to help disadvantaged Appalachian youth and reward the descendents of Union loyalists in the region. Its founder was former Union General Oliver Otis Howard, a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln, who made it his mission to sustain an institution of higher learning in the mountain South that would honor the memory of the Civil War president.
In Lincoln Memorial University and the Shaping of Appalachia, LMU Professor Earl J. Hess presents a highly readable and compelling history of the school. Yet the book is much more than a chronology of past events. The author uses the institution’s history to look at wider issues in Appalachian scholarship, including race and the modernization of educational methods in Appalachia. LMU offered a work-learn program to help students pay their way, imparting the value of self-help, and it was hit by a massive student strike that nearly wrecked the institution in 1930. LMU has played an important role in shaping what higher learning could be for young people in its region of southern Appalachia.
The volume examines the involvement of O. O. Howard and his unflagging efforts to establish and fund the school; the influence of early twentieth-century industrial capitalism—
Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller were benefactors—on Appalachia and LMU in particular; and the turn-of-the-century cult of Lincoln that made the university a major repository of Lincolniana.
Meticulously researched and richly illustrated, Lincoln Memorial University and the Shaping of Appalachia is a fresh look at the creation, contributions, and enduring legacies of LMU. Students, alumni, and friends of the university, as well as scholars of Appalachian culture and East Tennessee history, will find this book both enlightening and entertaining.
Earl J. Hess holds the Stewart W. McClelland Chair in History at Lincoln Memorial University. He is the author of more than a dozen books on Civil War military history, the latest of which is Into the Crater: The Mine Attack at Petersburg.
Making a Mass Institution describes how Indianapolis, Indiana created a divided and unjust system of high schools over the course of the twentieth century, one that effectively sorted students geographically, economically, and racially. Like most U.S. cities, Indianapolis began its secondary system with a singular, decidedly academic high school, but ended the 1960s with multiple high schools with numerous paths to graduation. Some of the schools were academic, others vocational, and others still for what was eventually called “life adjustment.” This system mirrored the multiple forces of mass society that surrounded it, as it became more bureaucratic, more focused on identifying and organizing students based on perceived abilities, and more anxious about teaching conformity to middle-class values. By highlighting the experiences of the students themselves and the formation of a distinct, school-centered youth culture, Kyle P. Steele argues that high school, as it evolved into a mass institution, was never fully the domain of policy elites, school boards and administrators, or students, but a complicated and ever-changing contested meeting place of all three.
Today's public schools are brimming with students who are not only new to English but who also have limited or interrupted schooling. These students, referred to as SLIFE (or SIFE), create unique challenges for teachers and administrators.
Like its predecessor, this book is grounded in research and is designed to be an accessible and practical resource for teachers, staff, and administrators who work with students with limited or interrupted formal education. Chapters 3-5 focus on classroom instruction, but others address issues of concern to administrators and staff too. For example, Chapter 6 explores different program models for SLIFE instruction, but the planning and commitment to creating a successful program require the involvement of many across the school community, not just teachers.
This edition features case studies, model programs, and teaching techniques and tips; also included is a new chapter focused on the Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm (MALP (R)). A major theme of this new edition is moving school personnel away from a deficit perspective, when it comes to teaching SLIFE, and toward one of difference. The goal is to help all stakeholders in the school community create and foster inclusion of, and equity for, a population that is all too often marginalized, ignored, and underserved.
Achievement tests play an important role in modern societies. They are used to evaluate schools, to assign students to tracks within schools, and to identify weaknesses in student knowledge. The GED is an achievement test used to grant the status of high school graduate to anyone who passes it. GED recipients currently account for 12 percent of all high school credentials issued each year in the United States. But do achievement tests predict success in life?
The Myth of Achievement Tests shows that achievement tests like the GED fail to measure important life skills. James J. Heckman, John Eric Humphries, Tim Kautz, and a group of scholars offer an in-depth exploration of how the GED came to be used throughout the United States and why our reliance on it is dangerous. Drawing on decades of research, the authors show that, while GED recipients score as well on achievement tests as high school graduates who do not enroll in college, high school graduates vastly outperform GED recipients in terms of their earnings, employment opportunities, educational attainment, and health. The authors show that the differences in success between GED recipients and high school graduates are driven by character skills. Achievement tests like the GED do not adequately capture character skills like conscientiousness, perseverance, sociability, and curiosity. These skills are important in predicting a variety of life outcomes. They can be measured, and they can be taught.
Using the GED as a case study, the authors explore what achievement tests miss and show the dangers of an educational system based on them. They call for a return to an emphasis on character in our schools, our systems of accountability, and our national dialogue.
Eric Grodsky, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Andrew Halpern-Manners, Indiana University Bloomington
Paul A. LaFontaine, Federal Communications Commission
Janice H. Laurence, Temple University
Lois M. Quinn, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
Pedro L. Rodríguez, Institute of Advanced Studies in Administration
John Robert Warren, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Urban schools are often associated with violence, chaos, and youth aggression. But is this reputation really the whole picture? In Navigating Conflict, Calvin Morrill and Michael Musheno challenge the violence-centered conventional wisdom of urban youth studies, revealing instead the social ingenuity with which teens informally and peacefully navigate strife-ridden peer trouble. Taking as their focus a multi-ethnic, high-poverty school in the American southwest, the authors complicate our vision of urban youth, along the way revealing the resilience of students in the face of carceral disciplinary tactics.
Grounded in sixteen years of ethnographic fieldwork, Navigating Conflict draws on archival and institutional evidence to locate urban schools in more than a century of local, state, and national change. Morrill and Musheno make the case for schools that work, where negative externalities are buffered and policies are adapted to ever-evolving student populations. They argue that these kinds of schools require meaningful, inclusive student organizations for sustaining social trust and collective peer dignity alongside responsive administrative leadership. Further, students must be given the freedom to associate and move among their peers, all while in the vicinity of watchful, but not intrusive adults. Morrill and Musheno make a compelling case for these foundational conditions, arguing that only through them can schools enable a rich climate for learning, achievement, and social advancement.
Even high-performing students sometimes need assistance to transform their high school achievement into a higher education outcome that matches their potential, especially when those students come from vulnerable backgrounds. Without intervention, many of these students, lost in the transition between secondary school and higher education, would not attend selective colleges that provide greater opportunities. Potential on the Periphery profiles the Simmons Memorial Foundation (SMF), a grassroots non-profit organization co-founded by author Omari Scott Simmons, that promotes college access for students in North Carolina and Delaware. Simmons discusses how the organization has helped students secure admission and succeed in college, using this example to contextualize the broader realm of existing education practice, academic theory, and public policy. Using data gleaned from interviews with past student participants in the programs run by the SMF, Simmons illuminates the underlying factors thwarting student achievement, such as inadequate information about college options, limited opportunities for social capital acquisition, financial pressures, self-doubt, and political weakness. Simmons then identifies policy solutions and pragmatic strategies that college access organizations can adopt to address these factors.
Middle- and upper-middle-class students continue to outpace those from less privileged backgrounds. Most attempts to redress this inequality focus on the issue of access to financial resources, but as Producing Success makes clear, the problem goes beyond mere economics. In this eye-opening study, Peter Demerath examines a typical suburban American high school to explain how some students get ahead.
Demerath undertook four years of research at a Midwestern high school to examine the mercilessly competitive culture that drives students to advance. Producing Success reveals the many ways the community’s ideology of achievement plays out: students hone their work ethics and employ various strategies to succeed, from negotiating with teachers to cheating; parents relentlessly push their children while manipulating school policies to help them get ahead; and administrators aid high performers in myriad ways, even naming over forty students “valedictorians.” Yet, as Demerath shows, this unswerving commitment to individual advancement takes its toll, leading to student stress and fatigue, incivility and vandalism, and the alienation of the less successful. Insightful and candid, Producing Success is an often troubling account of the educationally and morally questionable results of the American culture of success.
American high schools have never been under more pressure to reform: student populations are more diverse than ever, resources are limited, and teachers are expected to teach to high standards for all students. While many reformers look for change at the state or district level, the authors here argue that the most local contexts—schools, departments, and communities—matter the most to how well teachers perform in the classroom and how satisfied they are professionally. Their findings—based on one of the most extensive research projects ever done on secondary teaching—show that departmental cultures play a crucial role in classroom settings and expectations. In the same school, for example, social studies teachers described their students as "apathetic and unwilling to work," while English teachers described the same students as "bright, interesting, and energetic."
With wide-ranging implications for educational practice and policy, this unprecedented look into teacher communities is essential reading for educators, administrators, and all those concerned with U. S. High Schools.
In Rethinking Racism: Emotion, Persuasion, and Literacy Education in an All-White High School, Jennifer Seibel Trainor proposes a new understanding of the roots of racism, one that is based on attention to the role of emotion and the dynamics of persuasion. This one-year ethnographic study argues against previous assumptions about racism, demonstrating instead how rhetoric and emotion, as well as the processes and culture of schools, are involved in the formation of racist beliefs.
Telling the story of a year spent in an all-white high school, Trainor suggests that contrary to prevailing opinion, racism often does not stem from ignorance, a lack of exposure to other cultures, or the desire to protect white privilege. Rather, the causes of racism are frequently found in the realms of emotion and language, as opposed to rational calculations of privilege or political ideologies. Trainor maintains that racist assertions often originate not from prejudiced attitudes or beliefs but from metaphorical connections between racist ideas and nonracist values. These values are reinforced, even promoted by schooling via "emotioned rules" in place in classrooms: in tacit, unexamined lessons, rituals, and practices that exert a powerful—though largely unacknowledged—persuasive force on student feelings and beliefs about race.
Through in-depth analysis of established anti-racist pedagogies, student behavior, and racial discourses, Trainor illustrates the manner in which racist ideas are subtly upheld through social and literacy education in the classroom—and are thus embedded in the infrastructures of schools themselves. It is the emotional and rhetorical framework of the classroom that lends racism its compelling power in the minds of students, even as teachers endeavor to address the issue of cultural discrimination. This effort is continually hindered by an incomplete understanding of the function of emotions in relation to antiracist persuasion and cannot be remedied until the root of the problem is addressed.
Rethinking Racism calls for a fresh approach to understanding racism and its causes, offering crucial insight into the formative role of schooling in the perpetuation of discriminatory beliefs. In addition, this highly readable narrative draws from white students' own stories about the meanings of race in their learning and their lives. It thus provides new ways of thinking about how researchers and teachers rep- resent whiteness. Blending narrative with more traditional forms of ethnographic analysis, Rethinking Racism uncovers the ways in which constructions of racism originate in literacy research and in our classrooms—and how these constructions themselves can limit the rhetorical positions students enact.
The American system of higher education includes over 5,000 degree granting institutions, ranging from small for-profit technical training schools up to the nation’s elite liberal arts colleges and research universities. Over 20 million students are enrolled, with federal, state, and local governments spending almost 3 percent of GDP on higher education. Yet how can we evaluate the effectiveness of such a large, fragmented system? Are students being adequately prepared for today’s labor market? Is the system accessible to all? Are new business methods contributing to greater efficiency and better student outcomes? In Higher Education Effectiveness, editors Steven Brint and Charles Clotfelter and a group of higher education experts address these questions with new evidence and insights regarding the effectiveness of U.S. higher education.
Beginning with the editors’ authoritative introduction, the contributors assess the effectiveness of U.S. higher education at the national, state, campus, and classroom levels. Several focus on the effects of the steep decline in state funding in recent years, which has contributed to rising tuition at most state universities. Steven Hemelt and David Marcotte find that the financial burdens of attendance, even at public institutions, is a significant and growing impediment for students from low-income families. John Witte, Barbara Wolfe, and Sara Dahill-Brown analyze 36 years of enrollment trends at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and find increased enrollment of upper-income students, suggesting widening inequality of access.
James Rosenbaum and his coauthors examine the effectiveness of “college for all” policies and find that on a wide range of economic and job satisfaction measures, holders of sub-baccalaureate credentials outperform those who start but do not complete four-year colleges. Two papers – by Kevin Dougherty and coauthors and Michael Kurlaender and coauthors – find that the use of new regulatory mechanisms such as performance funding and rating systems are plagued by unintended consequences that can provide misleading measures of institutional effectiveness. Lynn Reimer and co-authors examine the effectiveness of the “promising practices” in STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) promoted by the National Academy of Sciences, and find that they can increase completion rates among low-income, first-generation, and under-represented students.
Expanding college access and effectiveness is a key way to promote economic mobility. The important findings in this issue illuminate the strengths and weaknesses of the U.S. system of higher education and suggest new avenues for improving student outcomes.
In response to growing concern in the 1980s about the quality of public education across the United States, a tremendous amount of energy was expended by organizations such as the Holmes Group and the Carnegie Forum to organize professional development schools (PDS) or “partner schools” for teacher education. On the surface, the concept of partnering is simple; however, the practice is very costly, complex, and difficult. In Schooling, Democracy, and the Quest for Wisdom, Robert V. Bullough, Jr. and John R. Rosenberg examine the concept of partnering through various lenses and they address what they think are the major issues that need to be, but rarely are, discussed by thousands of educators in the U.S. who are involved and invested in university-public school partnerships. Ultimately, they assert that the conversation around partnering needs re-centering (most especially on the purposes of public education), refreshing, and re-theorizing.
Balancing the development of autonomy with that of social interdependence is a crucial aim of education in any society, but nowhere has it been more hotly debated than in Japan, where controversial education reforms over the past twenty years have attempted to reconcile the two goals. In this book, Peter Cave explores these reforms as they have played out at the junior high level, the most intense pressure point in the Japanese system, a time when students prepare for the high school entrance exams that will largely determine their educational trajectories and future livelihoods.
Cave examines the implementation of “relaxed education” reforms that attempted to promote individual autonomy and free thinking in Japanese classrooms. As he shows, however, these policies were eventually transformed by educators and school administrators into curricula and approaches that actually promoted social integration over individuality, an effect opposite to the reforms’ intended purpose. With vivid detail, he offers the voices of teachers, students, and parents to show what happens when national education policies run up against long-held beliefs and practices, and what their complex and conflicted interactions say about the production of self and community in education. The result is a fascinating analysis of a turbulent era in Japanese education that offers lessons for educational practitioners in any country.
The Secret Lives of Teachers
Anonymous University of Chicago Press, 2015 Library of Congress LB1777.3.N4D49 2016 | Dewey Decimal 373.1102097471
Welcome to “East Hudson,” an elite private school in New York where the students are attentive, the colleagues are supportive, and the tuition would make the average person choke on its string of zeroes. You might think a teacher here would have little in common with most other teachers in America, but as this veteran educator—writing anonymously—shows in this refreshingly honest account, all teachers are bound by a common thread. Stripped of most economic obstacles and freed up by anonymity, he is able to tell a deeper story about the universal conditions, anxieties, foibles, generosities, hopes, and complaints that comprise every teacher’s life. The results are sometimes funny, sometimes scandalous, but always recognizable to anyone who has ever walked into a classroom, closed the door, and started their day.
This is not a how-to manual. Rather, the author explores the dimensions of teaching that no one else has, those private thoughts few would dare put into a book but that form an important part of the day-to-day experience of a teacher. We see him ponder the clothes that people wear, think frankly about money (and the imbalance of its distribution), get wrangled by parents, provide on-the-fly psychotherapy, drape niceties over conversations that are actually all-out warfare, drop an f-bomb or two, and deal with students who are just plain unlikeable. We also see him envy, admire, fear, and hope; we see him in adulation and uncertainty, and in energy and exhaustion. We see him as teachers really are: human beings with a complex, rewarding, and very important job.
There has been no shortage of commentary on the teaching profession over the decades, but none quite like this. Unflinching, wry, and at times laugh-out-loud funny, it’s written for every teacher out there who has ever scrambled, smirked, or sighed—and toughed it out nonetheless.
The Sex Education Debates
Nancy Kendall University of Chicago Press, 2012 Library of Congress HQ57.5.A3K465 2012 | Dewey Decimal 613.9071
Educating children and adolescents in public schools about sex is a deeply inflammatory act in the United States. Since the 1980s, intense political and cultural battles have been waged between believers in abstinence until marriage and advocates for comprehensive sex education. In The Sex Education Debates, Nancy Kendall upends conventional thinking about these battles by bringing the school and community realities of sex education to life through the diverse voices of students, teachers, administrators, and activists.
Drawing on ethnographic research in five states, Kendall reveals important differences and surprising commonalities shared by purported antagonists in the sex education wars, and she illuminates the unintended consequences these protracted battles have, especially on teachers and students. Showing that the lessons that most students, teachers, and parents take away from these battles are antithetical to the long-term health of American democracy, she argues for shifting the measure of sex education success away from pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection rates. Instead, she argues, the debates should focus on a broader set of social and democratic consequences, such as what students learn about themselves as sexual beings and civic actors, and how sex education programming affects school-community relations.
As new initiatives to exploit technology and digital media for learning sweep the country, a learning center for teens at the Harold Washington Library in downtown Chicago demonstrates both the challenges and opportunities these efforts present, this report from the University of Chicago
Consortium on Chicago School Research finds.
-Illuminates how the design of YOUmedia shapes youth participation
-Describes the teens that YOUmedia serves, their patterns of participation, and the activities in which they engage
-Provides examples of the benefits youth perceive from their participation
-Characterizes the roles adults play in engaging teens and the ways programmatic choices have shifted
-Offers suggestions for organizations intending to launch similar initiatives
-Illustrates how YOUmedia instantiates elements of the emerging Connected Learning Model
Opened in the fall of 2009, YOUmedia Chicago, attempts to capitalize on teens’ interest in technology to motivate them to create, innovate and become active learners by providing them access to digital media, a safe, inviting space and staff members who serve as mentors. There currently are 30 learning centers across the country being modeled on YOUmedia Chicago and funded by the MacArthur Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Teacher attrition has long been a significant challenge within the field of education. It is a commonly-cited statistic that almost fifty percent of beginning teachers leave the field within their first five years, to the detriment of schools, students, and their own career development. There Has to be a Better Way offers an essential voice in understanding the dynamics of teacher attrition from the perspective of the teachers themselves. Drawing upon in-depth qualitative research with former teachers from urban schools in multiple regions of the United States, Lynnette Mawhinney and Carol R. Rinke identify several themes that uncover the rarely-spoken reasons why teachers so often willingly leave the classroom. The authors go further to provide concrete recommendations for how school administrators can better support their practicing teachers, as well as how teacher educators might enhance preparation for the next generation of educators. Complete with suggested readings and discussion questions, this book serves as an indispensable resource in understanding and building an effective and productive educational workforce for our nation’s students.
Few would deny that getting ahead is a legitimate goal of learning, but the phrase implies a cruel hierarchy: a student does not simply get ahead, but gets ahead of others. In These Kids, Kysa Nygreen turns a critical eye on this paradox. Offering the voices and viewpoints of students at a “last chance” high school in California, she tells the story of students who have, in fact, been left behind.
Detailing a youth-led participatory action research project that she coordinated, Nygreen uncovers deep barriers to educational success that are embedded within educational discourse itself. Struggling students internalize descriptions of themselves as “at risk,” “low achieving,” or “troubled”—and by adopting the very language of educators, they also adopt its constraints and presumption of failure. Showing how current educational discourse does not, ultimately, provide an adequate vision of change for students at the bottom of the educational hierarchy, she levies a powerful argument that social justice in education is impossible today precisely because of how we talk about it.
Most of us think that valedictorians can write their own ticket. By reaching the top of their class they have proven their merit, so their next logical step should be to attend the nation’s very best universities. Yet in Top Student, Top School?, Alexandria Walton Radford, of American Institutes for Research, reveals that many valedictorians do not enroll in prestigious institutions. Employing an original five-state study that surveyed nine hundred public high school valedictorians, she sets out to determine when and why valedictorians end up at less selective schools, showing that social class makes all the difference.
Radford traces valedictorians’ paths to college and presents damning evidence that high schools do not provide sufficient guidance on crucial factors affecting college selection, such as reputation, financial aid, and even the application process itself. Left in a bewildering environment of seemingly similar options, many students depend on their parents for assistance—and this allows social class to rear its head and have a profound impact on where students attend. Simply put, parents from less affluent backgrounds are far less informed about differences in colleges’ quality, the college application process, and financial aid options, which significantly limits their child’s chances of attending a competitive school, even when their child has already managed to become valedictorian.
Top Student, Top School? pinpoints an overlooked yet critical juncture in the education process, one that stands as a barrier to class mobility. By focusing solely on valedictorians, it shows that students’ paths diverge by social class even when they are similarly well-prepared academically, and this divergence is traceable to specific failures by society, failures that we can and should address.
Violent urban schools loom large in our culture: for decades they have served as the centerpieces of political campaigns and as window dressing for brutal television shows and movies. Yet unequal access to quality schools remains the single greatest failing of our society—and one of the most hotly debated issues of our time. Of all the usual words used to describe non-selective city schools—segregated, unequal, violent—none comes close to characterizing their systemic dysfunction in high-poverty neighborhoods. The most accurate word is toxic.
When Bowen Paulle speaks of toxicity, he speaks of educational worlds dominated by intimidation and anxiety, by ambivalence, degradation, and shame. Based on six years of teaching and research in the South Bronx and in Southeast Amsterdam, Toxic Schools is the first fully participatory ethnographic study of its kind and a searing examination of daily life in two radically different settings. What these schools have in common, however, are not the predictable ideas about race and educational achievement but the tragically similar habituated stress responses of students forced to endure the experience of constant vulnerability. From both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, Paulle paints an intimate portrait of how students and teachers actually cope, in real time, with the chronic stress, peer group dynamics, and subtle power politics of urban educational spaces in the perpetual shadow of aggression.
Is our nation's educational system faltering in part because it strives to teach students predetermined "right" answers to questions? In Turning the Soul, Sophie Haroutunian-Gordon offers and alternative to methods advocated by conventional educational practice. By guiding the reader back and forth between two high school classes discussing Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, she gracefully introduces the alternative approach to education: interpretive discussion.
One class, located in a private, racially integrated urban school, has had many conversations about the meaning of books. The second group, less advantaged students in a largely black urban school, has not. The reader watches as students in each group begin to draw upon experiences in their personal lives to speculate about events in the play. The students assist one another with the interpretation of complex passages, pose queries that help sustain the conversation, and struggle to "get Shakespeare right." Though the teachers suffer moments of intense frustration, they are rewarded by seeing their students learn to engage in meaningful exchange.
Because Turning the Soul draws on actual classroom conversations, it presents the range of difficulties that one encounters in interpretive discussion. The book describes the assumptions about learning that the use of such discussion in the classroom presupposes, and it offers a theoretical perspective from which to view the changes in both students and teachers.
Unsettled Belonging tells the stories of young Palestinian Americans as they navigate and construct lives as American citizens. Following these youth throughout their school days, Thea Abu El-Haj examines citizenship as lived experience, dependent on various social, cultural, and political memberships. For them, she shows, life is characterized by a fundamental schism between their sense of transnational belonging and the exclusionary politics of routine American nationalism that ultimately cast them as impossible subjects.
Abu El-Haj explores the school as the primary site where young people from immigrant communities encounter the central discourses about what it means to be American. She illustrates the complex ways social identities are bound up with questions of belonging and citizenship, and she details the processes through which immigrant youth are racialized via everyday nationalistic practices. Finally, she raises a series of crucial questions about how we educate for active citizenship in contemporary times, when more and more people’s lives are shaped within transnational contexts. A compelling account of post-9/11 immigrant life, Unsettled Belonging is a steadfast look at the disjunctures of modern citizenship.
Visual Encounters in the Study of Rural Childhoods brings together visual studies and childhood studies to explore images of childhood in the study of rurality and rural life. The volume highlights how the voices of children themselves remain central to investigations of rural childhoods. Contributions look at representations and experiences of rural childhoods from both the Global North and Global South (including U.S., Canada, Haiti, India, Sweden, Slovenia, South Africa, Russia, Timor-Leste, and Colombia) and consider visuals ranging from picture books to cell phone video to television.
Why Afterschool Matters
Nelson, Ingrid A. Rutgers University Press, 2017 Library of Congress LC205.N45 2017 | Dewey Decimal 371.82968073
Increasingly, educational researchers and policy-makers are finding that extracurricular programs make a major difference in the lives of disadvantaged youth, helping to reduce the infamous academic attainment gap between white students and their black and Latino peers. Yet studies of these programs typically focus on how they improve the average academic performance of their participants, paying little attention to individual variation.
Why Afterschool Matters takes a different approach, closely following ten Mexican American students who attended the same extracurricular program in California, then chronicling its long-term effects on their lives, from eighth grade to early adulthood. Discovering that participation in the program was life-changing for some students, yet had only a minimal impact on others, sociologist Ingrid A. Nelson investigates the factors behind these very different outcomes. Her research reveals that while afterschool initiatives are important, they are only one component in a complex network of school, family, community, and peer interactions that influence the educational achievement of disadvantaged students.
Through its detailed case studies of individual students, this book brings to life the challenges marginalized youth en route to college face when navigating the intersections of various home, school, and community spheres. Why Afterschool Matters may focus on a single program, but its findings have major implications for education policy nationwide.