Ideology of Education, The: The Commonwealth, the Market, and America's Schools

SUNY Press
Free sample

Advocates of market-based education reforms (including such policies as choice, charters, vouchers, and outright privatization) argue that they represent ready solutions to clearly defined problems. Critics of market models, on the other hand, argue that these reforms misperceive the purposes of public education and threaten its democratic ethos. This book explores both the promises and pitfalls of market forces—their potential to improve the quality of public education and their compatibility with its republican justifications. Smith argues that although market models of education are not without utilitarian merit, their potential to alter the social-democratic purposes of education is seriously underestimated. He supports this claim with a series of sophisticated analyses of the key assumptions underlying these models, and by examining the normative elements of theory and methodology that can—and often do—skew empirical policy analysis toward market preferences. He concludes that market reforms are not just a ready means to effectively address the problems of public schooling but rather represent a clear attempt to ideologically redefine its ends.
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About the author

Kevin B. Smith is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and the coauthor (with Kenneth J. Meier) of The Case Against School Choice: Politics, Markets, and Fools.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Feb 1, 2012
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Pages
212
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ISBN
9780791487327
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Educational Policy & Reform / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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“Drop the flashcards—grit, character, and curiosity matter even more than cognitive skills. A persuasive wake-up call.”—People

Why do some children succeed while others fail? The story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions to SATs. But in How Children Succeed, Paul Tough argues that the qualities that matter more have to do with character: skills like perseverance, curiosity, optimism, and self-control.

How Children Succeed introduces us to a new generation of researchers and educators, who, for the first time, are using the tools of science to peel back the mysteries of character. Through their stories—and the stories of the children they are trying to help—Tough reveals how this new knowledge can transform young people’s lives. He uncovers the surprising ways in which parents do—and do not—prepare their children for adulthood. And he provides us with new insights into how to improve the lives of children growing up in poverty. This provocative and profoundly hopeful book will not only inspire and engage readers, it will also change our understanding of childhood itself.

“Illuminates the extremes of American childhood: for rich kids, a safety net drawn so tight it’s a harness; for poor kids, almost nothing to break their fall.”—New York Times

“I learned so much reading this book and I came away full of hope about how we can make life better for all kinds of kids.”—Slate
How do other countries create “smarter” kids? What is it like to be a child in the world’s new education superpowers? The Smartest Kids in the World “gets well beneath the glossy surfaces of these foreign cultures and manages to make our own culture look newly strange....The question is whether the startling perspective provided by this masterly book can also generate the will to make changes” (The New York Times Book Review).

In a handful of nations, virtually all children are learning to make complex arguments and solve problems they’ve never seen before. They are learning to think, in other words, and to thrive in the modern economy. Inspired to find answers for our own children, author and Time magazine journalist Amanda Ripley follows three Americans embed­ded in these countries for one year. Kim, fifteen, raises $10,000 so she can move from Oklahoma to Finland; Eric, eighteen, trades his high-achieving Minnesota suburb for a booming city in South Korea; and Tom, seventeen, leaves a historic Pennsylvania village for Poland.

Through these young informants, Ripley meets battle-scarred reformers, sleep-deprived zombie students, and a teacher who earns $4 million a year. Their stories, along with groundbreaking research into learning in other cultures, reveal a pattern of startling transformation: none of these countries had many “smart” kids a few decades ago. Things had changed. Teaching had become more rigorous; parents had focused on things that mattered; and children had bought into the promise of education.
How can political science help you understand the world you live in? Modern approaches to the study of politics analyze why Congress, the president, the courts, and other political actors do what they do. Learning to think critically about power, institutions, and rules helps citizens engage constructively in politics and the wider world around them and helps us systematically identify false claims, biases, and misconceptions. Analyzing American Democracy teaches students to think analytically by presenting current political science theories and research in answering the engaging, big questions facing American politics today. It serves as both an introduction to American politics and to the discipline of political science by reflecting the theoretical developments and empirical inquiry conducted by researchers. Every chapter highlights the most current research and discusses related public policy. It demonstrates for students how to think critically and analytically, bringing theoretical insight to contemporary American politics.

More than just a comprehensive overview and description of how American politics works, Jon Bond and Kevin Smith demonstrate how politics can be studied systematically. Throughout the text, they introduce students to the insights gleaned from rational choice, behavioral, and biological approaches to politics. Understanding these three social scientific models and their applications helps students get the most out of their American government course and out of this text--they learn a way of thinking that they can use to make sense of future challenges facing the American polity.

A number of features help aid comprehension and critical thinking:

Key Questions at the start of every chapter frame the learning objectives and concepts "Thinking Analytically" boxes demonstrate how political scientists answer pressing questions about the American polity and model critical thinking "Applying the Frameworks" boxes show why theory is so important in making systematic sense of the political world "New Directions" boxes will highlight cutting edge research in political science to highlight some of the big contemporary questions the book addresses Tables, Figures, Charts, and Maps throughout present the empirical details of American politics, helping students gain quantitative literacy Top Ten Takeaway Points at the end of every chapter recap the most important points covered but also help students discern the general principles that make sense of the numerous factual details Key Terms are bolded in the text, defined in the margins, recapped at the end of the chapter, and compiled in a glossary, all to help insure that students can effortlessly master the vocabulary of American politics and political science in order to move on to the more important concepts.

NEW TO THE SECOND EDITION

Updated coverage throughout includes

Affordable Care Act in the context of federalism

Death penalty debates

Affirmative action

Racism, homophobia, and hate crimes in the wake of Ferguson

Weakening of the Voting Rights Act

Gay marriage history and new developments

Tea Party and traditional party interface

Campaign finance upheaval

The changing Congressional landscape and increasing political polarization

Updated tables, figures, and photos present the empirical details of American politics, helping students gain quantitative literacy

Landmark court cases, now highlighted and linked to key concepts

Refreshed feature boxes reinforce the book’s dedication to helping students understand the scientific approach to politics, incorporating intriguing new topics including genetics and public opinion, the biology of political participation, and evolution and the bureaucracy
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