Black males are disproportionately "in trouble" and suspended from the nation’s school systems. This is as true now as it was when Ann Arnett Ferguson’s now classic Bad Boys was first published. Bad Boys offers a richly textured account of daily interactions between teachers and students in order to demonstrate how a group of eleven- and twelve-year-old males construct a sense of self under adverse circumstances. This new edition includes a foreword by Pedro A. Noguera, and an afterword and bibliographic essay by the author, all of which reflect on the continuing relevance of this work nearly two decades after its initial publication.
Statistics show that black males are disproportionately getting in trouble and being suspended from the nation's school systems. Based on three years of participant observation research at an elementary school, Bad Boys offers a richly textured account of daily interactions between teachers and students to understand this serious problem. Ann Arnett Ferguson demonstrates how a group of eleven- and twelve-year-old males are identified by school personnel as "bound for jail" and how the youth construct a sense of self under such adverse circumstances. The author focuses on the perspective and voices of pre-adolescent African American boys. How does it feel to be labeled "unsalvageable" by your teacher? How does one endure school when the educators predict one's future as "a jail cell with your name on it?" Through interviews and participation with these youth in classrooms, playgrounds, movie theaters, and video arcades, the author explores what "getting into trouble" means for the boys themselves. She argues that rather than simply internalizing these labels, the boys look critically at schooling as they dispute and evaluate the meaning and motivation behind the labels that have been attached to them. Supplementing the perspectives of the boys with interviews with teachers, principals, truant officers, and relatives of the students, the author constructs a disturbing picture of how educators' beliefs in a "natural difference" of black children and the "criminal inclination" of black males shapes decisions that disproportionately single out black males as being "at risk" for failure and punishment.
Bad Boys is a powerful challenge to prevailing views on the problem of black males in our schools today. It will be of interest to educators, parents, and youth, and to all professionals and students in the fields of African-American studies, childhood studies, gender studies, juvenile studies, social work, and sociology, as well as anyone who is concerned about the way our schools are shaping the next generation of African American boys.
Ann Arnett Ferguson is Assistant Professor of Afro-American Studies and Women's Studies, Smith College.
As the practice of mainstreaming deaf and hard of hearing children into general classrooms continues to proliferate, the performances of these students becomes critical. Deaf Children in Public Schools assesses the progress of three second-grade deaf students to demonstrate the importance of placement, context, and language in their development.
Ramsey points out that these deaf children were placed in two different environments, with the general population of hearing students, and separately with other deaf and hard of hearing children. Her incisive study reveals that although both settings were ostensibly educational, inclusion in the general population was done to comply with the law, not to establish specific goals for the deaf children. In contrast, self-contained classes for deaf and hard of hearing children were designed especially to concentrate upon their particular learning needs. Deaf Children in Public Schools also demonstrates that the key educational element of language development cannot be achieved in a social vacuum, which deaf children face in the real isolation of the mainstream classroom.
Based upon these insights, Deaf Children in Public Schools follows the deaf students in school to consider three questions regarding the merit of language study without social interaction or cultural access, the meaning of context in relation to their educational success, and the benefits of the perception of the setting as the context rather than as a place. The intricate answers found in this cohesive book offer educators, scholars, and parents a remarkable stage for assessing and enhancing the educational context for the deaf children within their purview.
Why teach about religion in public schools? What educational value can such courses potentially have for students?
In For the Civic Good, Walter Feinberg and Richard A. Layton offer an argument for the contribution of Bible and world religion electives. The authors argue that such courses can, if taught properly, promote an essential aim of public education: the construction of a civic public, where strangers engage with one another in building a common future. The humanities serve to awaken students to the significance of interpretive and analytic skills, and religion and Bible courses have the potential to add a reflective element to these skills. In so doing, students awaken to the fact of their own interpretive framework and how it influences their understanding of texts and practices. The argument of the book is developed by reports on the authors’ field research, a two-year period in which they observed religion courses taught in various public high schools throughout the country, from the “Bible Belt” to the suburban parkway. They document the problems in teaching religion courses in an educationally appropriate way, but also illustrate the argument for a humanities-based approach to religion by providing real classroom models of religion courses that advance the skills critical to the development of a civic public.
The Legal Status of Church-State Relationships in the United States was first published in 1934. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
A little-discussed aspect of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is a mandate that requires failing schools to hire after-school tutoring companies—the largest of which are private, for-profit corporations—and to pay them with federal funds. Making Failure Pay takes a hard look at the implications of this new blurring of the boundaries between government, schools, and commerce in New York City, the country’s largest school district.
As Jill P. Koyama explains in this revelatory book, NCLB—a federally legislated, state-regulated, district-administered, and school-applied policy—explicitly legitimizes giving private organizations significant roles in public education. Based on her three years of ethnographic fieldwork, Koyama finds that the results are political, problematic, and highly profitable. Bringing to light these unproven, unregulated private companies’ almost invisible partnership with the government, Making Failure Pay lays bare the unintended consequences of federal efforts to eliminate school failure—not the least of which is more failure.
“A powerful, detailed, and exceptionally balanced critique of NCLB. It offers some hope for how we might overcome its faults. No legislator or educational expert should be allowed to get away with not reading it—whether to agree or disagree. It’s a must learning experience.”
—Deborah Meier, Senior Scholar and Adjunct Professor, Steinhardt School of Education, New York University, and author of In Schools We Trust
“A concise, highly readable, and balanced account of NCLB, with insightful and realistic suggestions for reform. Teachers, professors, policymakers, and parents—this is the one book about NCLB you ought to read.”
—James E. Ryan, William L. Matheson and Robert M. Morgenthau Distinguished Professor, University of Virginia School of Law
This far-reaching new study looks at the successes and failures of one of the most ambitious and controversial educational initiatives since desegregation—the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
NCLB’s opponents criticize it as underfunded and unworkable, while supporters see it as a radical but necessary educational reform that evens the score between advantaged and disadvantaged students. Yet the most basic and important question remains unasked: “Can we ever really know if a child’s education is good?”
Ultimately, Scott Franklin Abernathy argues, policymakers must begin from this question, rather than assuming that any test can accurately measure the elusive thing we call “good” education.
Accounts of Jewish immigrants usually describe the role of education in helping youngsters earn a higher social position than their parents. Melissa F. Weiner argues that New York City schools did not serve as pathways to mobility for Jewish or African American students. Instead, at different points in the city's history, politicians and administrators erected similar racial barriers to social advancement by marginalizing and denying resources that other students enjoyed. Power, Protest, and the Public Schools explores how activists, particularly parents and children, responded to inequality; the short-term effects of their involvement; and the long-term benefits that would spearhead future activism. Weiner concludes by considering how today's Hispanic and Arab children face similar inequalities within public schools.
In the first social history of what happened to public schools in those “years of the locust,” the authors explore the daily experience of schoolchildren in many kinds of communities—the public school students of working-class northeastern towns, the rural black children of the South, the prosperous adolescents of midwestern suburbs. How did educators respond to the fiscal crisis, and why did Americans retain their faith in public schooling during the cataclysm? The authors examine how New Dealers regarded public education and the reaction of public school people to the distinctive New Deal style in programs such as the National Youth Administration. They illustrate the story with photographs, cartoons, and vignettes of life behind the schoolhouse door.
Moving from that troubled period to our own, the authors compare the anxieties of the depression decade with the uncertainties of the 1970s and 1980s. Heirs to an optimistic tradition and trained to manage growth, school staff have lately encountered three shortages: of pupils, money, and public confidence. Professional morale has dropped as expectations and criticism have mounted. Changes in the governing and financing of education have made planning for the future even riskier than usual.
Drawing on the experience of the 1930s to illuminate the problems of the 1980s, the authors lend historical perspective to current discussions about the future of public education. They stress the basic stability of public education while emphasizing the unfinished business of achieving equality in schooling.
Two months after Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana took control of nearly all the public schools in New Orleans. Today, all of the city’s public schools are charter schools. Although many analyses mark the beginning of education reform in New Orleans with Katrina, in Public Schools, Private Governance, J. Celeste Layargues that the storm merely accelerated the timeline for reforms that had inched along incrementally over the previous decade. Both before and after Katrina, white reformers purposely excluded Black educators, community members, and parents.
Public Schools, Private Governance traces the slow, deliberate dismantling of New Orleans’ public schools, and the processes that have maintained the reforms made in Katrina’s immediate aftermath, showing how Black parents and residents were left without a voice and the officials charged with school governance, most of whom are white, with little accountability. Lay cogently explains how political minorities disrupted systems to create change and keep reforms in place, and the predictable political effects—exclusion, frustration, and resignation—on the part of those most directly affected.
In “Constitutional Mandates and Choices,” Paul Freund discusses the recent Supreme Court school-prayer decisions and the Constitution. Acknowledging the need for instilling tradition, morality, and reverence—the “religious component” called for by many—Freund still maintains that “the school-prayer decisions are more important for the doors they leave open than for those they shut. The study of religious tradition, training in moral analysis, and the cultivation of sensibilities beyond the intellectual are all left open and beckoning… Today the need is not to reform the First Amendment but to examine and reform our ideas and practices of moral education in the schools.”
After presenting a brief historical description of religious education in our Western Judeo-Christian civilization, and outlining the present situation in our public schools, Robert Ulich, in “The Historical Present,” declares that if by “religion” we do not mean allegiance to a particular creed, then, “whatever is the decision of the Supreme Court, it will never be able to divorce the religious from the educational spheres in our education system.”
The American republic will survive only if its citizens are educated--this was an article of faith of its founders. But seeking common civic ground in public schools has never been easy in a society where schoolchildren followed different religions, adhered to different cultural traditions, spoke many languages, and were identified as members of different "races."
In this wise and enlightening book, filled with vivid characters and memorable incidents that make history but don't always make history books, David Tyack describes how each American generation grappled with the knotty task of creating political unity and social diversity.
Seeking Common Ground illuminates puzzles about democracy in education and chronic conflicts that continue to make news. Americans mistrusted government, yet they entrusted the civic education of their children to public schools. American history textbooks were notoriously dull, but they were also highly controversial. Although the people liked local control of schools, educational experts called it "democracy gone to seed" and campaigned to "take the schools out of politics." Reformers argued about whether it was more democratic to teach all students the same subjects or to tailor curriculum to individuals. And what was the best way to "Americanize" immigrants, asked educators: by forced-fed assimilation or by honoring their ethnic heritages?
With a broad perspective and an eye for telling detail, Tyack lets us see that debates about the civic purposes of schools are an essential part of a democratic culture, and integral to its future.
Just how much freedom of speech should high school students have? Does giving children and adolescents a far-reaching right of expression, without joining it to responsibility, ultimately result in an asylum that is run by its inmates?
Since the late 1960s, the United States Supreme Court has struggled to clarify the contours of constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech rights for students. But as this thought-provoking book contends, these court opinions have pitted students—and their litigious parents—against schools while undermining the schools’ necessary disciplinary authority.
In a clear and lively style, sprinkled with wry humor, Anne Proffitt Dupre examines the way courts have wrestled with student expression in school. These fascinating cases deal with political protest, speech codes, student newspapers, book banning in school libraries, and the long-standing struggle over school prayer. Dupre also devotes an entire chapter to teacher speech rights. In the final chapter on the 2007 “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” case, she asks what many people probably wondered: when the Supreme Court gave teenagers the right to wear black armbands in school to protest the Vietnam War, just how far does this right go? Did the Court also give students who just wanted to provoke their principal the right to post signs advocating drug use?
Each chapter is full of insight into famous decisions and the inner workings of the courts. Speaking Up offers eye-opening history for students, teachers, lawyers, and parents seeking to understand how the law attempts to balance order and freedom in schools.
Written tests to evaluate students were a radical and controversial innovation when American educators began adopting them in the 1800s. Testing quickly became a key factor in the political battles during this period that gave birth to America's modern public school system. William J. Reese offers a richly detailed history of an educational revolution that has so far been only partially told.
Single-classroom schools were the norm throughout the United States at the turn of the nineteenth century. Pupils demonstrated their knowledge by rote recitation of lessons and were often assessed according to criteria of behavior and discipline having little to do with academics. Convinced of the inadequacy of this system, the reformer Horace Mann and allies on the Boston School Committee crafted America's first major written exam and administered it as a surprise in local schools in 1845. The embarrassingly poor results became front-page news and led to the first serious consideration of tests as a useful pedagogic tool and objective measure of student achievement.
A generation after Mann's experiment, testing had become widespread. Despite critics' ongoing claims that exams narrowed the curriculum, ruined children's health, and turned teachers into automatons, once tests took root in American schools their legitimacy was never seriously challenged. Testing Wars in the Public Schools puts contemporary battles over scholastic standards and benchmarks into perspective by showcasing the historic successes and limitations of the pencil-and-paper exam.
In this expanded edition of his 2002 book, Zimmerman surveys how battles over public education have become conflicts at the heart of American national identity.
Critical Race Theory. The 1619 Project. Mask mandates. As the headlines remind us, American public education is still wracked by culture wars. But these conflicts have shifted sharply over the past two decades, marking larger changes in the ways that Americans imagine themselves. In his 2002 book, Whose America?, Zimmerman predicted that religious differences would continue to dominate the culture wars. Twenty years after that seminal work, Zimmerman has reconsidered: arguments over what American history is, what it means, and how it is taught have exploded with special force in recent years. In this substantially expanded new edition, Zimmerman meditates on the history of the culture wars in the classroom—and on what our inability to find common ground might mean for our future.
What do America’s children learn about American history, American values, and human decency? Who decides? In this absorbing book, Jonathan Zimmerman tells the dramatic story of conflict, compromise, and more conflict over the teaching of history and morality in twentieth-century America.
In history, whose stories are told, and how? As Zimmerman reveals, multiculturalism began long ago. Starting in the 1920s, various immigrant groups—the Irish, the Germans, the Italians, even the newly arrived Eastern European Jews—urged school systems and textbook publishers to include their stories in the teaching of American history. The civil rights movement of the 1960s and ’70s brought similar criticism of the white version of American history, and in the end, textbooks and curricula have offered a more inclusive account of American progress in freedom and justice.
But moral and religious education, Zimmerman argues, will remain on much thornier ground. In battles over school prayer or sex education, each side argues from such deeply held beliefs that they rarely understand one another’s reasoning, let alone find a middle ground for compromise. Here there have been no resolutions to calm the teaching of history. All the same, Zimmerman argues, the strong American tradition of pluralism has softened the edges of the most rigorous moral and religious absolutism.