The School in the United States: A Documentary History

4th Edition

James W. Fraser

Published March 29, 2019
Textbook - 394 Pages - 30 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9781138478879 - CAT# K348599

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The School in the United States collects a wide range of essential primary documents of the history of education in the United States, from colonial America to present-day reform efforts. Expertly chosen by historian and education scholar James Fraser, these documents incorporate many different sources, from first-person accounts to textbook excerpts and presidential speeches. As Fraser demonstrates, the history of American education is also a history of national debates and decisions about schooling, and he places the prominent voices of these debates in conversation through carefully curated selections, including the work of famous thinkers like Thomas Jefferson and W. E. B. DuBois, as well as that of ordinary classroom teachers.

Organized by era, each chapter begins with a brief introduction intended to spark student interest, while a detailed bibliography suggests opportunities for further research. In addition, the fourth edition also offers an alternative structure that allows easy use of the book by topic as an alternative to chronology. Comprehensive enough to be used as a main text, but selective enough to be used alongside another, The School in the United States makes accessible key readings in the history of American education in a format that encourages students to make their own evaluations as they engage with major historical debates.

Updates to this fourth edition include:

  • New documents throughout including additional teacher voices and a focus on technology.
  • The last two chapters have been extensively revised to include material on school shootings, debates about charter schools, teacher strikes, and the purposes of public education in the United States.
  • A number of older documents have been shortened to point students more clearly to the most important ideas of a document. Overall the fourth edition is shorter than previous editions.
  • Online resources that include a full Instructor’s Manual and sample syllabi.


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