School History

James S. Coleman: Education’s North Star. Paul E. Peterson. Education Next, 16(2). 2016.

A star has at least five points. So I was told by a senior colleague at a time in my life when I was desperately trying to figure out how to burnish just one. Even by that standard, James S. Coleman is securely situated in a celestial constellation, as five points can be discerned even if one looks only at his research on schools.

The Politics of School Reform, 1870 1940. Paul Peterson. University Of Chicago Press, 252 pages. 1985.

Was school reform in the decades following the Civil War an upper-middle-class effort to maintain control of the schools? Was public education simply a vehicle used by Protestant elites to impose their cultural ideas upon recalcitrant immigrants? This work challenges such standard, revisionist interpretations of American educational history. Urban public schools were created by a politically pluralistic society.

Making the Grade: Federal Policy and American Education. Paul Peterson. Twentieth Century Fund. 1983.

Comprehensive description of federal education programs that highlights the change in federal policy that takes place after 1964.