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School, the story of American public education
Mondale, Sarah.
Adult Nonfiction LA212 .S353 2001

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Chronologically arranged in four sections (1770-1890, 1900-1950, 1950-1980, 1980-2000), this anthology covers much ground (charter, common, frontier and dame schools) at a brisk, engaging pace. These five eminent scholars catalogue the experiences of African-Americans, Catholics, Native Americans, Mexican-Americans, people with disabilities and girls in an educational system originally designed for Protestant white boys. Tyack and company nimbly chart changing educational philosophies (Horace Mann, John Dewey, the Gary Plan, Archbishop John Hughes) and public debates, such as those aroused by the introduction of IQ tests in the 1920s, the 1957 launching of Sputnik (prompting fear that Soviet education outshone U.S. education) and the 1983 publication of A Nation at Risk, an assessment of the state of public education by "a presidential commission of corporate and public leaders and educators." And there are surprises "black literacy soared in the decades after the Civil War, from 5 percent to 70 percent"; "New York's English-only curriculum was radical" in the 1910s; in the 1930s two-thirds of Los Angeles's Mexican-American students were classified as "slow learners... even mentally retarded" after the introduction of IQ tests; Lyndon Johnson was a schoolteacher; and in 1970 women received "less than 1 percent of all medical and legal degrees." This exemplary, thoroughly readable account of a "complex and controversial and open-ended" subject is enhanced by 125-plus photos and illustrations. (Sept. 12) Forecast: This companion to the PBS documentary series will attract a significant readership. Though balanced, it will stir controversy at a time when reform leans toward business models and Horace Mann's belief "that all citizens" are responsible for the education of all children is being challenged. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

This companion volume to a PBS documentary series airing this month is filled with over 125 historic photographs, essays by five prominent education historians, and text based on the documentary script, which is narrated by Meryl Streep on television. The photos provide chronological perspective by showing school-themed paintings, portraits of eminent educators, pages from early primers, and old pictures of students, teachers, classrooms, and equipment. Sections of the book correspond to the documentary's parts. "The Educated Citizen" covers 1770-1890 and describes public education's Colonial beginnings. "You Are an American" spans the first half of the 20th century, when John Dewey's progressive philosophy was a major influence. "Separate but Unequal" tells of the nation's struggles to deal with racial, cultural, and bilingual issues, and "A Nation at Risk?" discusses how education policymakers have responded to the 1983 mandate for school reform. Though not as comprehensive as many longer works (e.g., Joel Spring's The American School, 1642-2000 (McGraw-Hill, 2000. 5th ed.), this is still a good overview of the history of U.S. public education and succeeds nicely as a companion to the TV show. None of the other single-volume American education histories are very well illustrated, if at all, and the pictures here are probably the main attraction. Recommended for public and academic libraries. Will Hepfer, SUNY at Buffalo Libs. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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