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Urban Schooling in Twentieth-Century America:A Frame of Reference

Urban Schooling in Twentieth-Century America:A Frame of Reference


URBAN SCHOOLING IN TWENTIETH-CENTURY AMERICA A Frame of Reference RONALD D. COHEN Indiana University Northwest Public schooling in the United States lhas not been an unqualified success. Even its staunclhest defenders wotuld admit to this point. But the reasons why remain elusive and controversial. In the 1 950s eduLcators and middle-class parents attacked the sclhools for not teaclhing the basic academic skills. In the 1960s putblic concern switched to the educational disadvantages of the poor and the nonwlhite, leading to the establislhment of a multitude of programs for the inner cities, ranging from lheadstart and lhot lunch programs to job training. More radical critiques sturfaced late in the decade. Intellectuals, the poor, nionwlhites, students, and otlhers attacked Inot jtust the scliools but the entire social structuare for perpetuating ineqtuality, racism, conformity, and poverty. Historians of public education hiave followed sUit. For years committed to the idea that public edtucation was the foundatioin stone of democracy and equality in the country, they cturrenitly espouse the goal of discovering the roots of the country's eduLcationial disaster in the rascist, Urban Education, Vol. VIII No. 4, Janiuary 1974 1974 Sage Publications, Inc. [4231 [4241 URBAN EDUCATION / JANUARY 1974 elitist, and
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