American Dream and Public Schools

American Dream and Public Schools

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Why is education policy so contentious? Do conflicts over specific issues in schooling have anything in common? Are there general principles that can help us resolve these disputes? In this book the authors find the source of many debates over schooling in the multiple goals and internal contradictions of the national ideology we call the American dream. They also propose a framework for helping Americans get past acrimonious debates in order to help all children learn. The American Dream and the Public Schools examines issues that have excited and divided Americans for years, including desegregation, school funding, testing, vouchers, bilingual education, multicultural education, and ability grouping. These seem to be separate problems, but much of the contention over them comes down to the same thing--an apparent conflict, rooted in the American dream, between policies designed to promote each student's ability to pursue success and those designed to insure the good of all students or the nation as a whole. The authors show how policies to promote individual success too often benefit only those already privileged by race or class, and too often conflict, unnecessarily, with policies that are intended to benefit everyone. The book also examines issues such as creationism and Afrocentrism, where the disputes lie between those who attack the validity of the American dream and those who believe that such a challenge has no place in the public schools. At the end of the book, the authors examine the impact of our nation's rapid racial and ethnic transformation on the pursuit of all of these goals, and they propose ways to make public education work better to help all children succeed and become the citizens we more

Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 166.6 x 247.4 x 28.2mm | 630.5g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195152786
  • 9780195152784

About Hochschild

Jennifer Hochschild is one of the nation's leading experts on race and education in American society. The author of the well-known Facing Up to the American Dream, she is Professor of Government at Harvard University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Afro-American Studies. Nathan Scovronick teaches education policy and directs the undergraduate program at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He was formerly Executive Director of the New Jersey Department of the Treasury and held several policy positions with the New Jersey Legislature, including its committees on more

Review quote

"Addresses nearly every educational policy issue of importance and brings a welcome balance and fairness to the debate. In their preface, they acknowledge that they began on opposite sides of several arguments. Their book, as a consequence, has helpful suggestions as to how those of us involved in educational issues can get past our fondness for beating up on anyone who disagrees with us on choice or testing or teaching styles. Among recent books on education, only one other book is as helpful to readers trying to maneuver their way through the current cafeteria food-fight of conflicting claims."--Washington Post"This well-researched, up-to-date and balanced look at hot-button issues examines all sides of the debates while not losing sight of the democratic principles of schooling. These authors have done their homework and they don't have an axe to grind. They ask readers to take seriously the challenge to create an educational system that provides genuine equality of opportunity for every child, and that might put the American dream within reach of everyone in today's multicultural America."--Publishers Weekly"Perceptive, well documented."--Library Journal"A wonderfully vigorous defense of our public schools, which is at the same time a detailed, incisive, and illuminating analysis of everything that is wrong with them. Americans who believe in the importance of a common education for citizenship and autonomy will find in this book their political agenda."--Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study, and editor of Dissent"A book that all Americans should read and discuss. They remind us that debates about education are really debates about how we 'move the American dream from ideology to practice'."--Ellen Condliffe Lagemann, Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education"Most liberals will love this book, and most conservatives won't. But all who want to learn about American education can benefit enormously from reading it. Hochschild and Scovronick cover the most fundamental educational issues of our time, linking the problems and prospects of American education with the most basic values of our culture. The result is a big-picture analysis that is at once genuinely informative and intellectually challenging."--Terry Moe, Professor of Political Science, Stanford Universityshow more

Rating details

50 ratings
3.66 out of 5 stars
5 6% (3)
4 60% (30)
3 30% (15)
2 2% (1)
1 2% (1)
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