Schooling the Poor: A Social Inquiry into the American Educational Experience

By Stanley William Rothstein | Go to book overview

Preface

From the creation of the first charity associations in the early 1800s, from the opening in New York and Philadelphia of the first Lancastrian schools for pauper boys, and until the 1830s and 1840s, education confined the children of the poor in overcrowded, correction-dominated quasi schools. It restricted pauper boys to enormous classrooms of 300 to 1,000, seeking to order and control their minds and bodies. Through these impersonal pedagogies of surveillance, correction, and confinement, these extraordinary efforts to improve the morals, perceptions, and responses of the poor, the charity schools shaped the understandings and practices of educational institutions in the United States for a century and more.

We must try to imagine, then, those first moments in U.S. history when a righteous people established these first schools for the poor. We must try to describe, from the beginning, those forms of discipline and pedagogy that consigned individualism and learning to one side while glorifying all that was uniform and routine. We want to try to imagine the overworked youngster sitting stiffly at attention on long wooden benches, answering questions mechanically in drafty, unheated rooms, submitting meekly to the schoolmaster in order to avoid the punishments that were routinely meted out to idlers and malcontents.

We must think, too, of the boys who were not in school, whose families would not allow their children to be schooled under the stigma

-xiii-

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Schooling the Poor: A Social Inquiry into the American Educational Experience
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Critical Studies in Education and Culture Series ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Series Foreword ix
  • Preface xiii
  • 1 - Pauper Schools 1
  • Notes 24
  • 2 - Houses of Confinement 27
  • Notes 42
  • 3 - Schooling the Poor 45
  • 4 - Organizational Perspectives 61
  • Notes 76
  • 5 - The Birth of Modern Schools 79
  • Notes 95
  • 6 - New Divisions: The Emergence of the High School 97
  • Notes 115
  • 7 - Agents of the State: Ambivalence in the Teacher's Position 117
  • Notes 139
  • 8 - The Other Side of Segregation: Ethnographic Glimpses of an Inner City Junior High School 143
  • Notes 166
  • 9 - Language and Pedagogy 169
  • Notes 183
  • Selected Bibliography 185
  • Index 187
  • About the Author 191
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