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  Chapter 1
  Chapter 2
  Chapter 3
  Chapter 4
  Chapter 5
  Chapter 6
  Chapter 7
  Chapter 8
  Chapter 9
  Chapter 10
  Chapter 11
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CCVLC Teachers/ Paolo Freire Posters
Digging Deeper: Chapter 2
History and Culture: How Expanding Expectations and Powerful Ideologies Shape Schooling in the U.S.

Further Reading

  • The late Lawrence Creminwrote the classic history of the pivotal period of huge growth in U.S. schooling. The book, The Transformation of the School: Progressivism in American Education 1876–1957 (New York: Knopf, 1961), contains wonderfully detailed stories about how American education moved from a small, local activity to a huge national enterprise.
  • Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, professors of law at the Seattle University, brought together in their book Critical White Studies: Looking Behind the Mirror (Temple University Press, 1997) writings from scholars in a number of disciplines about a new field of scholarship that they call “whiteness studies.” The book seeks to engage both nonwhites and whites in reflecting on what it means to be white, in terms of the social, political, and economic advantages that accrue to white people because of historical and structural arrangements. The book looks at these arrangements from the perspectives of sociology, law, history, cultural studies, and literature.
  • In Young, Gifted, and Black (Boston: Beacon Press, 2004), Theresa Perry, Claude Steele, and Asa G. Hilliard discuss how an African American identity shapes students’ experiences in school. They argue that an understanding of the societal issues surrounding what it means to be African American in U.S. schools can help promote high academic achievement for students.
  • In Red Pedagogy: Native American Social and Political Thought (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2004), Sandy Grande—indigenous scholar, critical theorist and education activist—draws connections between critical theory and indigenous education; doing so, she addresses the legacies of U.S. colonization and genocide while also identifying possibilities for revolutionary struggle and social and political transformation.
  • Diane Ravitch, a research professor at New York University, is a prominent educational historian. A former critic of progressive education and staunch advocate of traditional ideals, Ravitch’s latest book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education (New York: Basic Books, 2010), chronicles her shift away from supporting a conservative education agenda.
  • Joel Spring is professor of educational history at Queens College (CUNY) and author of numerous educational histories. Spring’s work is especially helpful for understanding how schools have worked to support the status quo, and how the history of peoples of color in the U.S. connects with educational policies and practices. Of particular interest might be Deculturation and the Struggle for Equality: A Brief History of the Education of Dominated Cultures in the United States (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997).
  • David Tyack, Stanford education historian, has written a number of engaging historical texts. Of particular interest is his The One Best System: A History of American Urban Education (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1974), a history of how modern urban schools were shaped by a coalition of civic elites, reformers, and professional school administrators. Tyack’s book with fellow Stanford historian Larry Cuban, Tinkering toward Utopia: A Century of Public School Reform (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997), analyzes the failure of most twentieth-century school reforms to change the basic institutional patterns of schooling.
  • University of Texas at Austin educational psychologist Richard Valencia evaluates the validity and reliability of intelligence and achievement tests, particularly for use with Latino students. His work has traced the links between tests, test bias, and widely held conceptions of cultural deficits in students of color. Of particular interest is his book The Origins of Deficit Thinking: Educational Thought and Practice (London, England: Falmer Press, 1997).

Websites to Explore

  • Daniel Schugurensky, professor at the Arizona State University, has assembled a website, “Selected Moments of the 20th Century,” that includes short descriptions of “educational episodes” such as policy, a court case, a piece of legislation, a research report, an incident, a speech, a movie, or anything, that tells something about education theory, policy, politics, research, or practice during the last century.
  • School: The Story of American Public Education (2002) is a four-part documentary series that chronicles the development of the U.S. public education system from the late 1770s to the twenty-first century. The documentary’s accompanying website contains a description of the documentary, as well as historical material, historical photographs of educational innovators and classrooms, and resources for parents and teachers, including a curriculum guide to support educators and others in exploring themes and questions raised in each episode of the series.
  • Christine Sleeter’s critical family history website situates family in a socio-cultural historical context. Intended as a counter-narrative to individual meritocracy, Sleeter demonstrates how current power and privilege have deep historical roots, particularly in regard to the transfer of wealth within nuclear families. She uses her own family as an example, and describes how her (white) ancestors were able to buy land at times when indigenous peoples had been displaced and discriminatory laws prevented African Americans from purchasing land.

Resources for Teaching

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About the New Edition About the Authors Digging Deeper Tools for Critique