Paul E. Peterson
Narrator to be announced
Approximately 8 hours
Narrated by Tim Lundeen
Approximately 10 hours
Book published by Harvard University Press
Saving Schools traces the story of the rise, decline, and potential resurrection of American public schools through the lives and ideas of six mission-driven reformers: Horace Mann, John Dewey, Martin Luther King Jr., Albert Shanker, William Bennett, and James Coleman. Yet schools did not become the efficient, egalitarian, and high-quality educational institutions these reformers envisioned. Indeed, the unintended consequences of their legacies shaped today’s flawed educational system, in which political control of stagnant American schools has shifted away from families and communities to larger, more centralized entities—initially to bigger districts and eventually to control by states, courts, and the federal government.
Peterson’s tales help to explain how nation building, progressive education, the civil rights movement, unionization, legalization, special education, bilingual teaching, accountability, vouchers, charters, and homeschooling have, each in a different way, set the stage for a new era in American education.
Now, under the impact of rising cost, coupled with the possibilities unleashed by technological innovation, schooling may be transformed through virtual learning. The result could be a personalized, customized system of education in which families have greater choice and control over their children’s education than at any time since our nation was founded.
“Paul E. Peterson has written a deep and rich history of public education in America and the people and forces that shaped it. He brings together policy, research, and political issues with genuine sophistication and hard-edged thinking. He believes we’re finally poised for a big step forward, using technology to customize the learning experience and empower both students and their families.”
—Joel Klein, former Chancellor, New York City Department of Education
“This new book by Peterson stands out among the many excellent titles published each year on education history and reform. Peterson traces the history of education in the United States from its rise in the mid-19th century to the early 21st century through the work of six major figures: Horace Mann, John Dewey, Martin Luther King Jr., Albert Shanker, William Bennett, and James Coleman...Peterson provides an outstanding review of the rise, decline, and potential resurrection of the U.S. educational system. Education professionals, politicians, and anyone else interested in education will benefit from reading this book.”
“Peterson is always a delight to read...I enjoyed the entire book. ”
—Jay Mathews, Washington Post online
“Peterson is at his best when he chronicles the history of the major ideas that have underpinned modern education reform...Over the course of his long career, Paul Peterson has made major contributions to the cause of education reform—and he’s had ample opportunity to become discouraged. Yet he believes that we will, in the not-too-distant future, renew American public education. Let’s hope he’s right. ”
—Marcus A. Winters, City Journal
“American public schools were inspired and created largely using the ideas of six education reformers: Horace Mann, John Dewey, Martin Luther King Jr., Albert Shanker, William Bennett and James Coleman. In Saving Schools, Paul E. Peterson shows how their dreams went wrong; how public schools became a political football with families and communities on one end of the field and states, courts and federal governments on the other. Peterson sees virtual learning as the solution—technology could be used to reinvigorate the personalized approach that public education’s founders and philosophers dreamed of.”
—Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times