increase in working hours suggests that there is less time for dealing with
issues such as paying attention to children, ensuring that homework is
completed, or dealing with children's problems that arise at school or in
the home. Suzanne Gordon has documented that the pressures created by
so much work have resulted in a substantial lessening of both concern for
community and for caring.
15 Workplaces in general are not amenable to
concerns about children or caring.
Family policies of different types of employers reflect a similar bias
against caring and ultimately against children and education. With few
exceptions, most companies do not allow employees time off for dealing
with their children's births, sicknesses or other problems, and even where
there are family friendly policies in place, cultural norms about how much
work needs to be done often prohibit employees from exercising their right
to use these policies.
The very existence of these many types of influence on school performance suggests in an interdependent system each of these institutions
also bears responsibilities for the entire system that influences education.
In the next chapters we will explore in detail the systems dynamics that
affect schools and the ways in which leverage points within those
dynamics might be found to begin a long-term process of social change.
N. Postman ( 1979), Teaching as a Conserving Activity ( New York: Delacorte
N. Postman ( 1979), deals with this topic. See also C. Sykes ( 1992), A Nation of
Victims: The Decay of the American Character ( New York: St. Martin's Press). For a
discussion of victimization in the black community see S. Steele ( 1990), The Content of
Our Character ( New York: St. Martin's Press).
See S. Gordon remarkable book ( 1991), Prisoners of Men's Dreams: Striking
Out for a New Feminine Future ( Boston: Little, Brown and Company), for a lengthy
discussion of what she terms the caring agenda, particularly Chapter 5 and the Conclusion; and also C. Derber ( 1992). Money, Murder, and the American Dream: Wilding
from Wall Street to Main Street ( Boston: Faber and Faber).
See J. P. Comer four articles: ( 1984), "Home-School Relations as They Affect
the Academic Success of Children," Education and Urban Society 16(3): 294-337; ( 1987), "Our National Dilemma: Building Quality Relationships," EDRS November: 40; ( 1988), "Educating Poor Minority Children," Scientific American 259(5): 42-48; and ( 1989), "Child Development and Education," Journal of Negro Education 58( 2): 125- 139.
D. W. Osborne and
T. Gaebler ( 1992), Reinventing Government: How
the Entrepreneurial Spirit is Transforming the Public Sector ( Reading, MA: Addison-