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The One Best System: A History of American Urban Education

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The One Best System presents a major new interpretation of what actually happened in the development of one of America's most influential institutions. At the same time it is a narrative in which the participants themselves speak out: farm children and factory workers, frontier teachers and city superintendents, black parents and elite reformers. And it encompasses both th The One Best System presents a major new interpretation of what actually happened in the development of one of America's most influential institutions. At the same time it is a narrative in which the participants themselves speak out: farm children and factory workers, frontier teachers and city superintendents, black parents and elite reformers. And it encompasses both the achievements and the failures of the system: the successful assimilation of immigrants, racism and class bias; the opportunities offered to some, the injustices perpetuated for others. David Tyack has placed his colorful, wide-ranging view of history within a broad new framework drawn from the most recent work in history, sociology, and political science. He looks at the politics and inertia, the ideologies and power struggles that formed the basis of our present educational system. Using a variety of social perspectives and methods of analysis, Tyack illuminates for all readers the change from village to urban ways of thinking and acting over the course of more than one hundred years.


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The One Best System presents a major new interpretation of what actually happened in the development of one of America's most influential institutions. At the same time it is a narrative in which the participants themselves speak out: farm children and factory workers, frontier teachers and city superintendents, black parents and elite reformers. And it encompasses both th The One Best System presents a major new interpretation of what actually happened in the development of one of America's most influential institutions. At the same time it is a narrative in which the participants themselves speak out: farm children and factory workers, frontier teachers and city superintendents, black parents and elite reformers. And it encompasses both the achievements and the failures of the system: the successful assimilation of immigrants, racism and class bias; the opportunities offered to some, the injustices perpetuated for others. David Tyack has placed his colorful, wide-ranging view of history within a broad new framework drawn from the most recent work in history, sociology, and political science. He looks at the politics and inertia, the ideologies and power struggles that formed the basis of our present educational system. Using a variety of social perspectives and methods of analysis, Tyack illuminates for all readers the change from village to urban ways of thinking and acting over the course of more than one hundred years.

30 review for The One Best System: A History of American Urban Education

  1. 5 out of 5

    Abby Jean

    fascinating historic view of the shift from locally-organized rural schoolhouses to urban systems of centralized education, with all the bumps and problems and powerful interests along the way. essential reading.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gillian Mertens

    A must-read for any public school educator or, really, anyone interested in equity in American education. A thoughtfully-written analysis of the political decisions, priorities, and exclusions which underlie the creation of the "one best system": the K-12 school system we have today. In 2018, it's particularly pertinent. A must-read for any public school educator or, really, anyone interested in equity in American education. A thoughtfully-written analysis of the political decisions, priorities, and exclusions which underlie the creation of the "one best system": the K-12 school system we have today. In 2018, it's particularly pertinent.

  3. 4 out of 5

    JFN

    A very, very informative read, written and organized in a logical manner. I did not realize, rather naively, until very recently that education history does not stand on its own as some separate subject to be studied and understood in a vacuum by education wonks or parents with school-age children only. Education history is entirely reflective of and runs parallel with U.S. social history and all of its ups and downs, injustices, swings, sets backs, and progresses. It is a far more engaging, and A very, very informative read, written and organized in a logical manner. I did not realize, rather naively, until very recently that education history does not stand on its own as some separate subject to be studied and understood in a vacuum by education wonks or parents with school-age children only. Education history is entirely reflective of and runs parallel with U.S. social history and all of its ups and downs, injustices, swings, sets backs, and progresses. It is a far more engaging, and, I'll venture, important and personally relevant issue, than I expected it to be. This book was published in 1974 -- the year I was born and a year that teetered on the cusp of the beginning of the technology revolution. I was interested in this book, first, as an artifact of sorts, in getting a snap shop of life in the U.S. -- and in schools and classrooms -- in the last few years of the "old way of learning," which I remember well. This book turned out to be fascinating not only for that, because it did deliver that artifact and snapshot -- but it proved didactic and very alive in ways I did not anticipate and for which I am more than grateful. You will learn a lot in reading this book. It has given me much to think about and has also given me valuable context with which to understand U.S. social history, where we are now, and where we're headed.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    school book

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sally

    Found this on a note as a recommendation to read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    courtney

    An excellent history of America's public education system. An excellent history of America's public education system.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Edy

    Read this book during graduate school. Very interesting information about the American educational system.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ericka

    The most informative and eye opening read on American system of public education and why we will never measure up globally. Ever.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    Comprehensive -- lots of information and yet quite readable.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas

    A good comprehensive look at school reform of the 20th century to when the book was written. a must read for those in this field.

  11. 5 out of 5

    John Ward

    A seminal book on urban education in America that deserves to be reprinted by penguin or nyrb if it has not already.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    provides a good history of urban education, but his style of writing makes this book hard to read cyclical in nature, than linear, as most history books are

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Nedresky

  14. 5 out of 5

    Zac

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joe

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  17. 4 out of 5

    Katie Schmelzer

  18. 5 out of 5

    RSK

  19. 5 out of 5

    erica fry

  20. 4 out of 5

    Peter

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

  22. 4 out of 5

    Graham Slater

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Rojas

  25. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

  26. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Boselovic

  27. 4 out of 5

    M

  28. 4 out of 5

    Steff

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

  30. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

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