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Education > Elementary and Secondary Education

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Academic Profiling Cover

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Academic Profiling

Latinos, Asian Americans, and the Achievement Gap

Gilda L. Ochoa

Today the achievement gap is hotly debated among pundits, politicians, and educators. In particular this conversation often focuses on the two fastest-growing demographic groups in the United States: Asian Americans and Latinos. In Academic Profiling, Gilda L. Ochoa addresses this so-called gap by going directly to the source. At one California public high school where the controversy is lived every day, Ochoa turns to the students, teachers, and parents to learn about the very real disparities—in opportunity, status, treatment, and assumptions—that lead to more than just gaps in achievement.

In candid and at times heart-wrenching detail, the students tell stories of encouragement and neglect on their paths to graduation. Separated by unequal middle schools and curriculum tracking, they are divided by race, class, and gender. While those channeled into an International Baccalaureate Program boast about Socratic classes and stress-release sessions, students left out of such programs commonly describe uninspired teaching and inaccessible counseling. Students unequally labeled encounter differential policing and assumptions based on their abilities—disparities compounded by the growth in the private tutoring industry that favors the already economically privileged.

Despite the entrenched inequality in today’s schools, Academic Profiling finds hope in the many ways students and teachers are affirming identities, creating alternative spaces, and fostering critical consciousness. When Ochoa shares the results of her research with the high school, we see the new possibilities—and limits—of change.

The Boy Problem Cover

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The Boy Problem

Educating Boys in Urban America, 1870–1970

Julia Grant

Contemporary debates about the tendency toward poor academic performance among boys of color point to inadequate and punitive schools, poverty, and cultural conflicts. Julia Grant offers a historical perspective on the "boy problem," revealing it as an issue that has vexed educators for more than a century. Since compulsory schooling was enforced, immigrant, poor, and boys of color have constituted the most school-averse population with which educators have had to contend. Public schools developed vocational education, organized athletics, technical schools, and evening continuation schools—contributing to a culture of masculinity that devalued academic success in school. Urban educators sought ways to deal with the many "bad boys"—almost exclusively poor, immigrant, or migrant—who skipped school, behaved badly when they attended, and sometimes landed in special education classes and reformatory institutions. The problems these boys posed led to sustained innovations in public education and juvenile justice. This historical perspective sheds light on contemporary concerns over the academic performance of boys of color who now flounder in school or languish in the juvenile justice system. Grant's cogent analysis will interest education policymakers and educators, as well as scholars of the history of education, childhood, gender studies, American studies, and urban history.

Civics in a Digital Republic Cover

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Civics in a Digital Republic

A Transformative Curriculum

Robert A. Waterson

This innovative curriculum book provides key materials, resources, and tools to help secondary educators prepare their students to be engaged citizens of their community, state, nation and world. Five complete units of instruction, based on West Virginia Content Standards and Objectives, provide meaningful lessons while being mindful of the transition from tangible text to more digital curricula:

  • Rights of the Individual 
  • Freedoms of the Individual
  • Responsibilities of the Individual
  • Beliefs Concerning Societal Conditions 
  • Financial Literacy
 Additional features of the curriculum include:
  • 24 lessons that provide specific teaching and learning strategies
  • 4 culminating activities for enrichment opportunities  
  • A matrix illustrating the West Virginia Content Standards and Objectives covered
  • A matrix illustrating compliance with the National Council for the Social Studies Standards  
  • A curriculum toolbox that provides over 70 engaging web sites to visit and explore.

 

The Enigmatic Academy Cover

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The Enigmatic Academy

Class, Bureaucracy, and Religion in American Education

Christian J. Churchill

The Enigmatic Academy is a provocative look at the purpose and practice of education in America. Authors Christian Churchill and Gerald Levy use three case studies—a liberal arts college, a boarding school, and a Job Corps center—to illustrate how class, bureaucratic, and secular-religious dimensions of education prepare youth for participation in American foreign and domestic policy at all levels.

The authors describe how schools contribute to the formation of a bureaucratic character; how middle and upper class students are trained for leadership positions in corporations, government, and the military; and how the education of lower class students often serves more powerful classes and institutions.

Exploring how youth and their educators encounter the complexities of ideology and bureaucracy in school, The Enigmatic Academy deepens our understanding of the flawed redemptive relationship between education and society in the United States. Paradoxically, these three studied schools all prepare students to participate in a society whose values they oppose.

 

For the Civic Good Cover

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For the Civic Good

The Liberal Case for Teaching Religion in the Public Schools

Walter Feinberg

Why teach about religion in public schools? What educational value can such courses potentially have for students? In For the Civic Good, Walter Feinberg and Richard A. Layton offer an argument for the contribution of Bible and world religion electives. The authors argue that such courses can, if taught properly, promote an essential aim of public education: the construction of a civic public, where strangers engage with one another in building a common future. The humanities serve to awaken students to the significance of interpretive and analytic skills, and religion and Bible courses have the potential to add a reflective element to these skills. In so doing, students awaken to the fact of their own interpretive framework and how it influences their understanding of texts and practices. The argument of the book is developed by reports on the authors’ field research, a two-year period in which they observed religion courses taught in various public high schools throughout the country, from the “Bible Belt” to the suburban parkway. They document the problems in teaching religion courses in an educationally appropriate way, but also illustrate the argument for a humanities-based approach to religion by providing real classroom models of religion courses that advance the skills critical to the development of a civic public.

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The High School Journal

Vol. 84, no. 3 (2001) through current issue

The High School Journal publishes research, scholarship, essays, and reviews that critically examine the broad and complex field of secondary education. Founded in 1918, it is one of the oldest peer-reviewed academic journals in education.The journal is managed by students and faculty in the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is published quarterly by the University of North Carolina Press.

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Imagine

Vol. 4 (1996) - vol. 6 (1999)

Imagine is a newsletter for precollege students who want to take an active role in their own education. Directed at talented students in grades 7-12, Imagine identifies opportunities at home, in school, and in the larger community that will satisfy students' intellectual curiosity and need for greater academic challenge. Imagine is also a valuable source of information for parents, teachers, school administrators, counselors, and librarians.

Lincoln Memorial University and the Shaping of Appalachia Cover

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Lincoln Memorial University and the Shaping of Appalachia

Earl J. Hess

Located near Cumberland Gap in the rugged hills of East Tennessee, Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) was founded in 1897 to help disadvantaged Appalachian youth and reward the descendents of Union loyalists in the region. Its founder was former Union General Oliver Otis Howard, a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln, who made it his mission to sustain an institution of higher learning in the mountain South that would honor the memory of the Civil War president. In Lincoln Memorial University and the Shaping of Appalachia, LMU Professor Earl J. Hess presents a highly readable and compelling history of the school. Yet the book is much more than a chronology of past events. The author uses the institution’s history to look at wider issues in Appalachian scholarship, including race and the modernization of educational methods in Appalachia. LMU offered a work-learn program to help students pay their way, imparting the value of self-help, and it was hit by a massive student strike that nearly wrecked the institution in 1930. LMU has played an important role in shaping what higher learning could be for young people in its region of southern Appalachia. The volume examines the involvement of O. O. Howard and his unflagging efforts to establish and fund the school; the influence of early twentieth-century industrial capitalism— Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller were benefactors—on Appalachia and LMU in particular; and the turn-of-the-century cult of Lincoln that made the university a major repository of Lincolniana. Meticulously researched and richly illustrated, Lincoln Memorial University and the Shaping of Appalachia is a fresh look at the creation, contributions, and enduring legacies of LMU. Students, alumni, and friends of the university, as well as scholars of Appalachian culture and East Tennessee history, will find this book both enlightening and entertaining.

Rethinking Racism Cover

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Rethinking Racism

Emotion, Persuasion, and Literacy Education in an All-White High School

Jennifer Seibel Trainor

In Rethinking Racism: Emotion, Persuasion, and Literacy Education in an All-White High School, Jennifer Seibel Trainor proposes a new understanding of the roots of racism, one that is based on attention to the role of emotion and the dynamics of persuasion. This one-year ethnographic study argues against previous assumptions about racism, demonstrating instead how rhetoric and emotion, as well as the processes and culture of schools, are involved in the formation of racist beliefs.

Telling the story of a year spent in an all-white high school, Trainor suggests that contrary to prevailing opinion, racism often does not stem from ignorance, a lack of exposure to other cultures, or the desire to protect white privilege. Rather, the causes of racism are frequently found in the realms of emotion and language, as opposed to rational calculations of privilege or political ideologies. Trainor maintains that racist assertions often originate not from prejudiced attitudes or beliefs but from metaphorical connections between racist ideas and nonracist values. These values are reinforced, even promoted by schooling via "emotioned rules" in place in classrooms: in tacit, unexamined lessons, rituals, and practices that exert a powerful—though largely unacknowledged—persuasive force on student feelings and beliefs about race.

Through in-depth analysis of established anti-racist pedagogies, student behavior, and racial discourses, Trainor illustrates the manner in which racist ideas are subtly upheld through social and literacy education in the classroom—and are thus embedded in the infrastructures of schools themselves. It is the emotional and rhetorical framework of the classroom that lends racism its compelling power in the minds of students, even as teachers endeavor to address the issue of cultural discrimination. This effort is continually hindered by an incomplete understanding of the function of emotions in relation to antiracist persuasion and cannot be remedied until the root of the problem is addressed.

Rethinking Racism calls for a fresh approach to understanding racism and its causes, offering crucial insight into the formative role of schooling in the perpetuation of discriminatory beliefs. In addition, this highly readable narrative draws from white students' own stories about the meanings of race in their learning and their lives. It thus provides new ways of thinking about how researchers and teachers rep- resent whiteness. Blending narrative with more traditional forms of ethnographic analysis, Rethinking Racism uncovers the ways in which constructions of racism originate in literacy research and in our classrooms—and how these constructions themselves can limit the rhetorical positions students enact.

 

STEM the Tide Cover

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STEM the Tide

Reforming Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education in America

David E. Drew

One study after another shows American students ranking behind their international counterparts in the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and math. Businesspeople such as Bill Gates warn that this alarming situation puts the United States at a serious disadvantage in the high-tech global marketplace of the twenty-first century, and President Obama places improvement in these areas at the center of his educational reform. What can be done to reverse this poor performance and to unleash America’s wasted talent? David E. Drew has good news—and the tools America needs to keep competitive. Drawing on both academic literature and his own rich experience, Drew identifies proven strategies for reforming America’s schools, colleges, and universities, and his comprehensive review of STEM education in the United States offers a positive blueprint for the future. These research-based strategies include creative and successful methods for building strong programs in science and mathematics education and show how the achievement gap between majority and minority students can be closed. A crucial measure, he argues, is recruiting, educating, supporting, and respecting America’s teachers. To secure a competitive advantage both in the knowledge economy and in economic development more broadly, America needs a highly skilled, college-educated workforce and cutting-edge university research. Drew makes the case that reforming science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education to meet these demands, with an emphasis on reaching historically underserved students, is essential to the long-term prosperity of the United States. Accessible, engaging, and hard hitting, STEM the Tide is a clarion call to policymakers, administrators, educators, and everyone else concerned about students’ participation in the STEM fields and America’s competitive global position.

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