Compelling Belief: The Culture of American Schooling

Compelling Belief: The Culture of American Schooling

Compelling Belief: The Culture of American Schooling

Compelling Belief: The Culture of American Schooling

Excerpt

We have the paradox of a society in which the capacity to do is developed beyond any historical example but in which no one is certain what is worth doing.

--Murray Murphey

The raw material from which this book is made is conflict--corrosive, irreconcilable, and proliferating conflict between government and family. When the interviewing of parents and public officials and the examination of disputes began, this work was meant merely to produce a series of case studies and an analysis of their legal significance. As the inquiry proceeded, however, it became clear that sifting through school conflict was but one way of uncovering a more general struggle for meaning; one between the forces of private dissent and the agents of public orthodoxy. From the conflicts chosen and reported here, four themes emerged to describe the intent of the book.

This book is about the stifling of dissent by an institution widely acclaimed as the bulwark of democracy in America. It may be no surprise to late twentieth-century cynics that institutions eventually destroy the goals they were meant to achieve; but it is nevertheless a paradox that a society should repress intellectual freedom with the institution of education.

This book is also about the perception of some families that the assumptions of American culture no longer explain . . .

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