Catalogue

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School, society, & state : a new education to govern modern America, 1890-1940 /
Tracy L. Steffes.
imprint
Chicago ; London : The University of Chicago Press, 2012.
description
xi, 284 p.
ISBN
0226772098 (cloth : alkaline paper), 9780226772097 (cloth : alkaline paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Chicago ; London : The University of Chicago Press, 2012.
isbn
0226772098 (cloth : alkaline paper)
9780226772097 (cloth : alkaline paper)
contents note
Urban school reform, professionalization, and the science of education -- The rural school problem and the complexities of national reform -- Redefining state responsibility in education -- Public interest and parental authority in the compulsory school -- Creating citizens and workers: curriculum reform and the aims of education in a democracy -- Conclusion: School, society, and state.
catalogue key
8387574
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2012-12-01:
Books developed from doctoral dissertations frequently share both positive and negative characteristics. On the one hand, they often reflect a conscientiousness and attention to detail not always found in books conceived outside the credentialing process. On the other hand, they sometimes exaggerate the novelty of their contribution, even as they attempt to strike an ideological balance so as not to offend the sensibilities of dissertation committee members. And so it is with this new book, which aims to demonstrate that early-20th-century school reform was the result of both top down and bottom up planning, and represents an example of "a major project of national state-building" in response to the social and economic tensions of the time. Steffes (Brown Univ.) is largely successful in making this argument, with some chapters being quite insightful. However, the title suggests a much more ambitious undertaking. Moreover, the primary focus is on the development of the American state, and school reform is merely a case study for this larger analysis. As such, the actual nature of schools and the educational ideas that animated them remain only superficially explored. Recommended for graduate seminars in American political development, but not for the history of education. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate collections. T. R. Glander Nazareth College
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Historians have noted the expansion of the regulatory state on issues of social welfare during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, but no one has analyzed this phenomenon in the field of education with such clarity and energy as Tracy Steffes. Lively from the first page to the last, School, Society, and State sheds light both on the expansion of state-level regulations and on the development of a national culture of shared policy and practice. This is a judicious book, well researched and nicely conceived."
"Historians have noted the expansion of the regulatory state on issues of social welfare during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, but no one has analyzed this phenomenon in the field of education with such clarity and energy as Tracy Steffes. Lively from the first page to the last, School, Society, and State sheds light both on the expansion of state-level regulations and on the development of a national culture of shared policy and practice. This is a judicious book, well researched and nicely conceived." Carl Kaestle, Brown University
"How did Americans develop a school system that was both national in scope and local in character? In this remarkable book, Tracy Steffes provides some bold new answers to a very old question. For the past century, Americans have asked public schools to reconcile individualism with collectivism, localism with centralization, and democracy with capitalism. Steffes asks why and whether we're asking schools to do too much."
"How did Americans develop a school system that was both national in scope and local in character? In this remarkable book, Tracy Steffes provides some bold new answers to a very old question. For the past century, Americans have asked public schools to reconcile individualism with collectivism, localism with centralization, and democracy with capitalism. Steffes asks why and whether we''re asking schools to do too much." -Jonathan Zimmerman, New York University
"How did Americans develop a school system that was both national in scope and local in character? In this remarkable book, Tracy Steffes provides some bold new answers to a very old question. For the past century, Americans have asked public schools to reconcile individualism with collectivism, localism with centralization, and democracy with capitalism. Steffes asks why and whether we're asking schools to do too much." Jonathan Zimmerman, New York University
"In a country characterized by decentralized legal control, limited federal authority, and general discomfort with social welfare programs, how did we end up with the school system we have? . . . It is a compelling line of inquiry, and in pursuing it Tracy Steffes draws on a broad range of sources-both primary and secondary-from political science, legal history, sociology, political history, and the history of education."
"In a rich and original historical account, Tracy Steffes explores the development of American schooling in order to illuminate the distinctive quality of the American state. Public education represents a system that is simultaneously local and national, an array of institutions that both cultivates the individual citizen and enables government power to penetrate deeply into the authority of parents to determine whether their children should attend school and what they should learn. School, Society, and State makes a powerful case for how the power of the state is constituted in everyday practices and "bottom-up" processes."-Elisabeth Clemens, author of The People's Lobby
"Tracy Steffes aims to demonstrate that early-twentieth-century school reform was the result of both top down and bottom up planning, and represents an example of 'a major project of national state-building" in response to the social and economic tensions of the time. Steffes is largely successful in making this argument, with some chapters being quite insightful."
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, December 2012
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
In this work, Steffes returns the state to the study of the history of education and brings the schools back into our discussion of state power during a pivotal moment in American political development.
Main Description
"Democracy has to be born anew every generation, and education is its midwife," wrote John Dewey in his classic work The School and Society . In School, Society, and State , Tracy Steffes places that idea at the center of her exploration of the connections between public school reform in the early twentieth century and American political development from 1890 to 1940. American public schooling, Steffes shows, was not merely another reform project of the Progressive Era, but a central one. She addresses why Americans invested in public education and explains how an array of reformers subtly transformed schooling into a tool of social governance to address the consequences of industrialization and urbanization. By extending the reach of schools, broadening their mandate, and expanding their authority over the well-being of children, the state assumed a defining role in the education-and in the lives-of American families. In School, Society, and State , Steffes returns the state to the study of the history of education and brings the schools back into our discussion of state power during a pivotal moment in American political development.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Urban School Reform, Professionalization, and the Science of Educationp. 15
The Rural School Problem and the Complexities of National Reformp. 47
Redefining State Responsibility in Educationp. 83
Public Interest and Parental Authority in the Compulsory Schoolp. 119
Creating Citizens and Workers: Curriculum Reform and the Aims of Education in a Democracyp. 155
Conclusion: School, Society, and Statep. 195
Notesp. 211
Indexp. 269
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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