Many Americans view today's problems in education as an unprecedented crisis brought on by the rise of contemporary social problems. In Learning from the Past a group of distinguished educational historians and scholars of public policy reminds us that many current difficulties-as well as recent reform efforts-have important historical antecedents. What can we learn, they ask, from nineteenth-century efforts to promote early childhood education, or debates in the 1920s about universal secondary education, or the curriculum reforms of the 1950s? Reflecting a variety of intellectual and disciplinary orientations, the contributors to this volume examine major changes in educational development and reform, consider how such changes have been implemented in the past, and warn against , exaggerating their benefits. They address questions of governance, equity and multiculturalism, curriculum standards, school choice, and a variety of other issues. Policy makers and other school reformers, they conclude, would do well to investigate the past in order to appreciate the implications of the present reform initiatives.
"The quality of the contributors alone is enough to make this an excellent book. It is a valuable compendium--and bibliography--of recent thinking on the historical context of current discussions of educational reform. It should be read by educational policymakers and by anyone who wants to be sufficiently well-informed about education to participate in the reform process."--Robert A. McCaughey, Barnard College