Creating the Dropout: An Institutional and Social History of School Failure

By Sherman Dorn | Go to book overview

Acknowledgments

This research project began several years ago when Michael Katz asked me when the word "dropout" came into common use. As co-convener of a faculty and graduate student seminar on work and welfare at the University of Pennsylvania, he also invited anthropologist Linda Burton to give a talk that suggested, to me, the links between age norms and social institutions. He prodded me to think clearly about the social construction of dropping out, and his advice and encouragement have been invaluable.

Many others have been helpful, in a variety of ways: Maya Amis, David Angus, Harry Bernhard, Nancy Bernhard, Ruth Bernhard, Dain Borges, Evelyn Brooks Higgenbotham, Amy Cohen, Steve Conn, Alfred Dorn, Jeanne Dorn, Murray Dorn, Rhea Dorn, Jack Dougherty, Richard Dunn, Susan Garfinkel, Tim Hasci, Alison Isenberg, debra kimmelman, Walter Licht, Bob Margo, John Noakes, Sam Preston, Jim Raths, Donna Rilling, Liam Riordan, Beth Rose, Marc Stein, and Marian Winship. The University of Pennsylvania and Andrew J. Mellon Foundation supported my work in 1991-92, and Doug Fuchs and Lynn Fuchs have provided a congenial home for me the last several years at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. Bill Reese and anonymous reviewers for the History of Education Quarterly helped me refine my ideas about ageconsciousness and the rhetoric of dropping out. Bob Engs and Michelle Fine, in particular, provided valuable criticism and encouragement early, and David Labaree did so at the very end of this process. Helen Oakes and Helen Faust shared with me their recollections of Philadelphia school history from the 1960s; those conversations helped shape my understanding of civic dynamics and the local definitions of dropping out.

I also owe thanks to many people who support researchers. The reference and interlibrary loan librarians at the University of Pennsylvania and Vanderbilt University give aid and comfort every day to students and faculty, without nearly

-ix-

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Creating the Dropout: An Institutional and Social History of School Failure
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Long-Term Demographic Patterns 11
  • 2 - The Changing Mission of High Schools 33
  • 3 - Early Attitudes toward Attrition 51
  • 4 - Social Dynamite 65
  • 5 - The Limits of Dropout Programs 81
  • 6 - Omissions 99
  • 7 - Dropout Tides 119
  • 8 - The Demeaning Dropout Debate 131
  • Bibliography 147
  • Index 165
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