“Law and the Shaping of Public Education argues forcefully that education has always been contested terrain. Litigation over schooling has certainly increased in the twentieth century, remarkably so. ... Education is always and inevitably political, as the last decade's rich scholarship in the history of education has demonstrated. Tyack, James, and Benavot underline that truth and join to it the certainty that law, too, even that related to education, is a creature of politics, and thus a key to patterns of power. ... An exciting, important study of the roots of current debates."—Ronald E. Butchart, Public Historian
"In this engaging and informative book the authors address two questions regarding law and public schools. First, how has the law, broadly defined by state constitutions, state statutes, and appellate decisions, affected public schooling? Second, given this broad definition of law, how have tensions between majority rule and minority rights in regard to public schooling been legally resolved? In answering these questions the authors bring fresh insight to the history of both education and law."—Sarah Henry Lederman, Teachers' College Record
"The authors explore the relationship between law and public education from several nontraditional perspectives. They employ case studies, such as the compulsory public education system in Oregon in 1922, and a quantitative analysis of appellate decisions in public education. Overall, they pursue two themes: the use of constituional and statutory law to build standardized state school systems, and the tension of majority rule and minority rights in education law."—Harvard Law Review
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