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

By Stanley William Rothstein | Go to book overview

4
Organizational Perspectives

School officials and reformers were overcome, at the end of the nineteenth century, by an impulse to confine urban youth in overcrowded, mass institutions. Everywhere we find the same sense of pride in common schooling, the same mission of moral suasion and acculturation. Schooling was the "common birthright of every American child." 1 Lawrence Cremin, writing of this period, echoed their themes: "common schools increased opportunity, . . . taught morality and citizenship, encouraged a talented leadership, maintained social mobility, (and) promoted responsiveness to social conditions."2

The entire period was taken up with efforts to stabilize the future of U.S. democracy. During this period of intense immigration and growing urban poverty, the schools were "the prime essential to good democratic government and national progress," according to Ellwood P. Cubberley. 3 Yet, it was simple enough to show the falsity of these claims. For most of the nineteenth century, an overwhelming number of urban children did not complete their primary grades, and many never attended any school at all. 4


MASS SCHOOLS IN URBAN SETTINGS

What were the schools like during this period? Those who visited the urban schools of Portland, Oregon, in 1913 recalled with dismay what

-61-

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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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