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Parents and Schools: The 150-Year Struggle for Control in American Educationby William W., III Cutler
Synopses & Reviews
Who holds ultimate authority for the education of America's children—teachers or parents? Although the relationship between home and school has changed dramatically over the decades, William Cutler's fascinating history argues that it has always been a political one, and his book uncovers for the first time how and why the balance of power has shifted over time. Starting with parental dominance in the mid-nineteenth century, Cutler chronicles how schools' growing bureaucratization and professionalization allowed educators to gain increasing control over the schooling and lives of the children they taught. Central to his story is the role of parent-teacher associations, which helped transform an adversarial relationship into a collaborative one. Yet parents have also been controlled by educators through PTAs, leading to the perception that they are "company unions."
Cutler shows how in the 1920s and 1930s schools expanded their responsibility for children's well-being outside the classroom. These efforts sowed the seeds for later conflict as schools came to be held accountable for solving society's problems. Finally, he brings the reader into recent decades, in which a breakdown of trust, racial tension, and "parents' rights" have taken the story full circle, with parents and schools once again at odds.
Cutler's book is an invaluable guide to understanding how parent-teacher cooperation, which is essential for our children's educational success, might be achieved.
Book News Annotation:
Explores the changing nature of parent-teacher cooperation and conflict in the United States. Cutler (history, Temple U.) argues that beginning in the 1800s educators began to assume more responsibility in the cognitive and moral domains, leading from an informal and unstructured institution to an increasingly bureaucratized one. He traces the changing levels of power in the spheres of gender, race, and social class and looks at the role of the Parent Teacher Association in fostering school-home cooperation.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Who holds ultimate authority for the education of America's children--parents or teachers? Although the relationship between home and school has changed dramatically over the decades, Cutler argues that the answer has always been a political one. 9 maps.
About the Author
William W. Cutler III is associate professor of history and educational leadership at Temple University and co-editor of The Divided Metropolis: Social and Spatial Dimensions of Philadelphia, 1800-1975.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
1. From Adversaries to Advocates
2. Home Rule or Ruled at Home?
3. In Search of Influence or Authority?
4. Heard but Not Seen
5. Twenty-Four Hours a Day
6. From Advocates to Adversaries
Epilogue: Recurring Themes
What Our Readers Are Saying
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