Ever since the massive immigration from Europe of the late 19th century, American society has accommodated people of many cultures, religions, languages, and expectations. The task of integration has increasingly fallen to the schools, where children are taught a common language and a set of democratic values and sent on their ways to become productive members of society. How American schools have set about educating these diverse students, and how these students' needs have altered the face of education, are issues central to the social history of the United States in the 20th century.
In her pathbreaking new book Paula S. Fass presents a wide ranging examination of the role of "outsiders" in the creation of modern education. Through a series of in-depth and fascinating case studies, she demonstrates how issues of pluralism have shaped the educational landscape and how various minority groups have been affected by their educational experiences.
Fass first looks at how public schools absorbed the children of immigrants in the early years of the century and how those children gradually began to use the schools for their own social purposes. She then turns to the experiences of other groups of Americans whose struggles for educational and social opportunities have defined cultural life over the last fifty years: blacks, whose education became a major concern of the federal government in the 1930s and 1940s; women, who had access to higher education but were denied commensurate job opportunities; and Catholics, who created schools that succeeded both in protecting minority integrity and in providing Catholics with a path to American success. Along the way, she presents a wealth of fascinating and surprising detail. Through an examination of New York City high school yearbooks from the 1930s and 1940s, she shows how a student's ethnic identity determined which activities he or she would engage in and how ethnicity was etched into schooling. And she examines how the New Deal and the army in World War II succeeded in educating large numbers of blacks and making the inequalities in their educational opportunities a critical national concern.
A sweeping and highly original history of American education, Outside In helps us to understand how schools have been shaped by their students, how educational issues have merged with wider social concerns, and how outsiders have recreated schooling and culture in the 20th century. By opening up new historical terrain and rejecting a vision of outsiders as merely victims of American educational policy, the book has important implications for contemporary social and educational issues.
"This book breaks important new ground and poses questions that other scholars will have to consider in future studies....An interesting analysis of ways in which some 'outside' groups have affected change in education....Fass has given us the elements of a compelling new interpretation within which to comprehend the development of American education. It deserves a wide reading."--Journal of Higher Education
"[Outside In] should stimulate questions and suggest some answers."--Georgia Historical Quarterly
"An innovative and thoughtful book that scholars in the field should read and contemplate."--Journal of American History
"Useful and informative....Ambitious...Clear and well-documented throughout, Outside In is especially insightful in its treatment of ideology and in the chapters on extracurricular activities and on Catholic education."--History of Education Quarterly
"Eminently readable....Fass draws out and clarifies paradoxes and complex patterns without over-simplifying them....A timely book."--Los Angeles Times
"A valuable resource for historians of education, those interested in minority education, and those wishing to gain insight into how education in the first half of the twentieth century affects educational policy today....Fass's research is extensive, and her interpretation reflects the tone of the times....Fass tackles a difficult and needed task; this is a comprehensive and valuable book on the subject."--Contemporary Sociology
"[Outside In] provides a major reinterpretation of the place of schooling in the American regime and provokes new thinking about education and society today...By a strategy of taking seriously the diverse cultural meanings of schooling for 20th-century educational reformers as well as the agency of outsiders, Paula Fass illuminates the contradictory ways American education has accommodated diversity. [She] ranges widely to provide fresh and compelling
perspectives on such subjects as Americanization in the high schools, Catholic education, and changes in the orientations of the schools to women and blacks..."--Ira Katznelson, The New School for Social