This anthology includes some of the more recent and provocative writings on the history of American education. In the case of this subject, as in any field of knowledge, both the results of new research and the reinterpretations of events and trends first appear in scholarly periodicals and monographs. There they remain relatively inaccessible to students who are becoming acquainted with the subject for the first time. The best of these writings deserve as large an audience as possible and, for the convenience of students and instructors in courses about the history of American education, they should be available in a single volume.
The authors of these essays are jointly the authors of this book. Less burdensome than authorship yet still with its own difficulties, the task of the editors was to select from the many writings deserving consideration only those few that could be included in this volume. In making our selection we have followed four guidelines. First, we wanted to move beyond the educational experiences of white, middle-class boys and youths to include essays on the education of American Indians, blacks, and women. Although our leading educational traditions and standards reflect the needs and expectations of white youths, there have been so many variations and exceptions in practice that an exclusive emphasis on the dominant tradition would seriously distort our history.
Second, we chose to follow the lead of many thoughtful writers on this subject by recognizing that much of education -- the shaping, that is, of the form and content of the mind -- occurs outside of schools. This point of view derives from the assumption, amply borne out in