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Popular Educational Classics

A Reader

Edited By Joseph L. DeVitis

The last half century has created deep tensions in how we analyze educational and social change. Educators, policymakers, and concerned citizens have had to cope with competing belief systems in evaluating and acting upon school policies and practices. This illuminating book untangles many of the roots of those persistent debates that have divided the nation for so long. It offers readers a critical opportunity to reflect on our continuing ideological struggles by examining popular books that have made a difference in educational discourse.
The editor has specifically selected key books on social and educational controversies that speak to wide audiences. They frame contextual issues that so-called «school reformers» have often neglected – much to the detriment of any real educational progress. Ultimately, this text is meant to stir our consciences, to disorder our certainties, and to compel us to treat education and culture with both reason and passion. It is highly relevant for courses in social foundations of education, school reform, educational policy studies, philosophy of education, history of education, politics of education, curriculum studies, and teacher education.
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Chapter Eleven: Michael W. Apple, Ideology and Curriculum (1979)


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Michael W. Apple, Ideology and Curriculum (1979)

Steven P. Camicia and Barry M. Franklin


Michael Apple graduated from Teachers College, Columbia University, and worked with Dwayne Huebner and a number of major curriculum scholars who, during the first half of the twentieth century, established Teacher’s College’s Department of Curriculum and Teaching as a major center of research in that area. Apple developed his initial approach to curriculum by considering the role that the sociology of knowledge plays in our understanding of curriculum and schools. At the time he launched his scholarship, curriculum was undergoing a transition from a positivistic and “politically neutral” form of schooling that was primarily focused on the most effective ways of explaining human development, charting human progress, and reforming schools and society, to an arena that was directed toward overtly political ends. One way to frame Apple’s contribution to educational scholarship is in the way he directed his scholarship to advance a social agenda designed to promote equity.

The Context

Ideology and Curriculum (Apple, 1979) was instrumental in making complex neo-Marxist concepts accessible to an audience unfamiliar with these concepts and their relationship to education. Apple combines lenses of social reproduction, selective tradition, hegemony, ideology, and curriculum to examine the role of schools in perpetuating social inequalities. He was influenced by the critical theorists Jürgen Habermas and Alvin Gouldner, as well as by scholars from...

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