This book analyses the parallel, different and related aspects of the discovery of poverty in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and the role of education in the American 'war on poverty' from 1964, and in Britain from the appointment of the Plowden committee on primary schools. It examines changes in policy emphases, the relationship between research and policy, and the transatlantic interactions and silences involved. Based on archival and interview material the book offers new insights into the role of the Plowden committee in shifting attention from social class to poverty, and it discusses in both the American and British contexts the concepts and theories involved in the changing fortunes of the educational war on poverty in the 1960s and 1970s. The book is the product of a ten-year study of the relevant British and American policies and apart from its coverage of a substantial body of literature draws on interviews with leading actors in the policy field, researchers and practitioners.
The Silvers set the two national developments in their respective traditions of educational and social science research and their economic systems, and continue their analysis through to the changed economic, political and educational contexts of the 1980s. The central focus is the sources, contours and outcomes of policy making in the field of poverty and disadvantage. An Educational War on Poverty represents a major contribution to the study of the recent social and educational history of Britain and the United States, and the range and depth of research, reflected in two substantive national bibliographies, will make it an essential reference source for scholars and policy-makers on both sides of the Atlantic.
"In a landscape crowded with self-proclaimed education presidents and governors, this book should be required reading. Harold and Pamela Silver, the authors of numerous works on educational policy toward the disadvantaged, have produced a well-written account detailing U.S. and British debates on how education could address the poverty issue in each nation...this book is essential reading to anyone who wishes to better understand the successes and failures in Britain and the United States, if only to chart where we might go in the future." Social Science Quarterly "The Silvers have written a marvelous book, recreating the tensions and aspirations of a generation of policy analysts and reformers in the two countries...if one wants to relook at the origins of the educational war on poverty, this is the place to start." Marvin Lazerson, Historical Studies in Education "The book is in the finest tradition of comparative public policy research. It also serves as a reminder, to those of us who tend to concentrate on single-nation studies, how valuable such comparative studies can be...the volume is an extremely valuable resource that readers will return to on numerous occasions." John F. Witte, American Political Science Review