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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 Thirty-Six: David F. Labaree, Someone Has to Fail: The Zero-Sum Game of Public Schooling (2010)


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David F. Labaree, Someone Has to Fail: The Zero-Sum Game of Public Schooling (2010)

Wayne J. Urban

The Author

David Labaree is Professor of Education at Stanford University, where he has held that position and a variety of administrative posts since 2003. Prior to that he spent 18 years on the faculty at Michigan State University, moving through the ranks from assistant professor to associate professor to professor before he left for Stanford. He received a master’s and a Ph.D., both in the field of sociology, from the University of Pennsylvania, the latter degree in 1983. He also earned a B.A. in Social Relations from Harvard in 1970.1 Labaree’s doctoral dissertation was written under the supervision of Michael Katz, a renowned scholar in the history of American education, as well as in the larger fields of history and sociology. It was published in 1988 by Yale University Press, titled The Making of an American High School: The Credentials Market and the Central High School of Philadelphia, 1839–1939. This volume received an Outstanding Book Award from both the American Educational Research Association and the History of Education Society in 1989. It was a pathbreaking monograph on the development of the first public high school in the city of Philadelphia, dealing imaginatively and convincingly with that school and its relation to issues of social class and status.

The influence of Michael Katz accounts in...

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