Between Citizens and the State: The Politics of American Higher Education in the 20th Century

Princeton University Press
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This book tracks the dramatic outcomes of the federal government's growing involvement in higher education between World War I and the 1970s, and the conservative backlash against that involvement from the 1980s onward. Using cutting-edge analysis, Christopher Loss recovers higher education's central importance to the larger social and political history of the United States in the twentieth century, and chronicles its transformation into a key mediating institution between citizens and the state.

Framed around the three major federal higher education policies of the twentieth century--the 1944 GI Bill, the 1958 National Defense Education Act, and the 1965 Higher Education Act--the book charts the federal government's various efforts to deploy education to ready citizens for the national, bureaucratized, and increasingly global world in which they lived. Loss details the myriad ways in which academic leaders and students shaped, and were shaped by, the state's shifting political agenda as it moved from a preoccupation with economic security during the Great Depression, to national security during World War II and the Cold War, to securing the rights of African Americans, women, and other previously marginalized groups during the 1960s and '70s. Along the way, Loss reappraises the origins of higher education's current-day diversity regime, the growth of identity group politics, and the privatization of citizenship at the close of the twentieth century.

At a time when people's faith in government and higher education is being sorely tested, this book sheds new light on the close relations between American higher education and politics.

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About the author

Christopher P. Loss is assistant professor of public policy and higher education at Vanderbilt University.
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Additional Information

Princeton University Press
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Published on
Nov 7, 2011
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Education / Higher
Education / History
History / Americas (North, Central, South, West Indies)
History / United States / 20th Century
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Eligible for Family Library

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#1 bestselling author and popular radio and television host Glenn Beck considers the hot-button issue of education in the US, exposing the weaknesses of the Common Core school curriculum and examining why liberal solutions fail.

Public education is never mentioned in the constitution. Why? Because our founders knew that it was an issue for state and local governments—not the federal one.

It’s not a coincidence that the more the federal government has inserted itself into public education over the years, the worse our kids have fared. Washington dangles millions of dollars in front of states and then tells them what they have to do to get it. It’s backdoor nationalization of education—and it’s leading us to ruin.

In Conform, Glenn Beck presents a well-reasoned, fact-based analysis that proves it’s not more money our schools need—it’s a complete refocusing of their priorities and a total restructuring of their relationship with the federal government. In the process, he dismantles many of the common myths and talking points that are often heard by those who want to protect the status quo.

Critics of the current system are just “teacher bashers”…Teachers’ unions put kids first...Homeschooled kids suffer both academically and socially…“local control” is an excuse to protect mediocrity…Common Core is “rigorous” and “state led”…Critics of Common Core are just conspiracy theorists…Elementary school teachers need tenure...We can’t reform schools until we eradicate poverty…school choice takes money away from public schools…Charter schools perform poorly relative to public schools.

There is no issue more important to America’s future than education. The fact that we’ve yielded control over it to powerful unions and ideologically driven elitists is inexcusable. We are failing ourselves, our children, and our country. Conform gives parents the facts they need to take back the debate and help usher in a new era of education built around the commonsense principles of choice, freedom, and accountability.
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Teaching is a wildly contentious profession in America, one attacked and admired in equal measure. In The Teacher Wars, a rich, lively, and unprecedented history of public school teaching, Dana Goldstein reveals that teachers have been similarly embattled for nearly two centuries. From the genteel founding of the common schools movement in the nineteenth century to the violent inner-city teacher strikes of the 1960s and '70s, from the dispatching of Northeastern women to frontier schoolhouses to the founding of Teach for America on the Princeton University campus in 1989, Goldstein shows that the same issues have continued to bedevil us: Who should teach? What should be taught? Who should be held accountable for how our children learn? 
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   The Teacher Wars upends the conversation about American education by bringing the lessons of history to bear on the dilemmas we confront today. By asking “How did we get here?” Dana Goldstein brilliantly illuminates the path forward.
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