Someone Has to Fail The Zero-Sum Game of Public Schooling

ISBN-10: 0674063864

ISBN-13: 9780674063860

Edition: 2010

Authors: David F. Labaree

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Description:

What do we really want from schools? Only everything, in all its contradictions. Most of all, we want access and opportunity for all children—but all possible advantages for our own. So argues historian David Labaree in this provocative look at the way “this archetype of dysfunction works so well at what we want it to do even as it evades what we explicitly ask it to do.”Ever since the common school movement of the nineteenth century, mass schooling has been seen as an essential solution to great social problems. Yet as wave after wave of reform movements have shown, schools are extremely difficult to change. Labaree shows how the very organization of the locally controlled, administratively limited school system makes reform difficult.At the same time, he argues, the choices of educational consumers have always overwhelmed top-down efforts at school reform. Individual families seek to use schools for their own purposes—to pursue social opportunity, if they need it, and to preserve social advantage, if they have it. In principle, we want the best for all children. In practice, we want the best for our own.Provocative, unflinching, wry, Someone Has to Fail looks at the way that unintended consequences of consumer choices have created an extraordinarily resilient educational system, perpetually expanding, perpetually unequal, constantly being reformed, and never changing much.
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Book details

List price: $19.95
Copyright year: 2010
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 4/2/2012
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 312
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.50" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.858
Language: English

Introduction
From Citizens to Consumers
Founding the American School System
The Progressive Effort to Reshape the System
Organizational Resistance to Reform
Classroom Resistance to Reform
Failing to Solve Social Problems
The Limits of School Learning
Living with the School Syndrome
Notes
References
Acknowledgments
Index
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