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

By Stanley William Rothstein | Go to book overview

9
Language and Pedagogy

Within the impersonal walls of inner city schools where the children of the immigrant and poor are confined, within the classrooms, the detention rooms, and even in the concrete playgrounds, its seems at first glance that adults can act with complete impunity. In these places, teachers use the ideology of education to justify their impositional and disrespectful treatment of inner city students, and the children themselves seem to accept such discipline for their "own benefit." Even though these "lessons" have been taught in U.S. schools for more than two centuries, students and teachers seem unaware of the nature of their work together and unable to make meaningful changes. The overly corrective education of the poor, the constant efforts at moral suasion and thought control, the most insistent demands that students remain immobile and quiet -- these are all part of the transformation purposes of state schools. Every bias that education and society possesses, every feeble attempt to assimilate foreigners and the urban poor finds its echoes in the discriminatory methods of public schools. There, the children of the immigrant and poor find failure a constant companion. By a twist of perverted logic, students must maintain a fidelity to an academic language and culture that is foreign to them and cannot be taught effectively by schoolteachers. A difficult task is imposed upon the children of the poor and their teachers: they must work together on materials that neither of them have chosen; they must encourage the

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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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