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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 Twenty-Four: Jane Roland Martin, The Schoolhome: Rethinking Schools for Changing Families (1992)


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Jane Roland Martin, The Schoolhome: Rethinking Schools for Changing Families (1992)1

D.G. Mulcahy


In The Schoolhome,2 as in many of her writings, Jane Roland Martin employs a distinction between what she refers to as the public world of work outside the home and the private world of home. While she has elaborated on limitations of this two-sphere analysis in her more recent book, Education Reconfigured,3 in general terms one may say that, for her, the distinguishing feature of the public world is its preoccupation with production: largely with industry and commerce, the professions, and governing. This world has historically been dominated by men and is considered the domain of men. By contrast, the private world—the domain of women—is centered on reproduction, that is, on what Martin labels the 3Cs of care, concern, and connection. Here the focus is on attending to family and relationships, nurturing the young, and tending to the sick and the elderly. Men are not drawn to the public world and women to the private by any difference in their natures. This is a function of culture, and men and women need to be educated to perform well in both domains.

As viewed in The Schoolhome, schooling has historically emphasized the values of the public world. It displays a bias favoring males and prejudicing females, a point highlighted by Martin in her critique of...

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