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

By Stanley William Rothstein | Go to book overview

Series Foreword

Within the past decade, the debate over defining the meaning and purpose of education has occupied the center of political and social life in the United States. Dominated largely by an aggressive and ongoing attempt by various sectors of the Right, including "fundamentalists," nationalists, and political conservatives, the debate over educational policy has been organized around a set of values and practices that take as their paradigmatic model the laws and ideology of the marketplace and the imperatives of a newly emerging cultural traditionalism.

In the first instance, schooling is being redefined through a corporate ideology that stresses the primacy of choice over community, competition over cooperation, and excellence over equity. At stake here is the imperative to organize public schooling around the related practices of competition, reprivatization, standardization, and individualism.

In the second instance, the New Right has waged a cultural war against schools as part of a wider attempt to contest the emergence of new public cultures and social movements that have begun to demand that schools take seriously the imperatives of living in a multiracial and multicultural democracy. The contours of this cultural offensive are evident in the call by the Right for standardized testing, the rejection of multiculturalism, and the development of curricula around what is euphemistically called a "common culture." In this perspective, the notion of a common culture serves as a referent to denounce any attempt

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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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