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America's Public Schools

From the Common School to "No Child Left Behind"

William J. Reese

updated edition
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In this update to his landmark publication, William J. Reese offers a comprehensive examination of the trends, theories, and practices that have shaped America’s public schools over the last two centuries.

Reese approaches this subject along two main lines of inquiry—education as a means for reforming society and ongoing reform within the schools themselves. He explores the roots of contemporary educational policies and places modern battles over curriculum, pedagogy, race relations, and academic standards in historical perspective.

A thoroughly revised epilogue outlines the significant...

In this update to his landmark publication, William J. Reese offers a comprehensive examination of the trends, theories, and practices that have shaped America’s public schools over the last two centuries.

Reese approaches this subject along two main lines of inquiry—education as a means for reforming society and ongoing reform within the schools themselves. He explores the roots of contemporary educational policies and places modern battles over curriculum, pedagogy, race relations, and academic standards in historical perspective.

A thoroughly revised epilogue outlines the significant challenges to public school education within the last five years. Reese analyzes the shortcomings of "No Child Left Behind" and the continued disjuncture between actual school performance and the expectations of government officials. He discusses the intrusive role of corporations, economic models for enticing better teacher performance, the continued impact of conservatism, and the growth of home schooling and charter schools.

Informed by a breadth of historical scholarship and based squarely on primary sources, this volume remains the standard text for future teachers and scholars of education.

Reviews

Reviews

A very good introductory survey for anyone who wants to learn more about American education.

A superb history of our public schools, one that is clearly and colorfully written.

A brilliant contribution to the field.

Reese has delivered in one volume an analysis as synthetic, intelligent, and importantly, deeply engaged with the most enduring issues in popular education as we are likely to encounter for some time.

About

Book Details

Table of Contents

Series Editor's Foreword
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. The Origins of the Common School
2. Postbellum America and the Common School
3. The "New Education"
4. Democracy, Efficiency, and School Expansion
5

Series Editor's Foreword
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. The Origins of the Common School
2. Postbellum America and the Common School
3. The "New Education"
4. Democracy, Efficiency, and School Expansion
5. A Democracy of Differences
6. The People's College
7. Rising Expectations and Raising Standards
8. Guardians of Tradition
9. The Fate of the High School
Epilogue
Essay on Sources
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

William J. Reese, Ph.D.

William J. Reese is a professor of educational policy studies, history, and European studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.