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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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Introduction

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Joseph L. DeVitis

Popular Educational Classics: A Reader attempts to show how the last half century of school and society has dramatized deep tensions in how we analyze education and social change as students, teachers, administrators, scholars, policymakers, and concerned citizens. Competing belief systems have done battle with each other during the era covered in the text. One camp frames schooling within severe social constraints that need to be overcome—an ideology attuned to socially and politically progressive movements. The other, more conservative, perspective proposes educational policies and practices that move schools in a far different direction—one largely devoid of connection to wider social structures. That profound ideological struggle continues to this day. It is my hope that this book will be helpful in untangling the roots of the persistent debates that have divided the nation for so long. Moreover, my ultimate wish is to provide more clarity—and reflective action—on crucial public problems that have necessitated those heated conflicts. If we can make greater strides toward solving the “crisis in the classroom”—in fuller reality, the crisis in society—we will have better served our children and created a more humane community.

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