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Schoolhouse Burning

Schoolhouse Burning

Public Education and the Assault on American Democracy

A stirring and passionate defense of the central importance of public education to American democracy, vividly illustrating how the forces of reaction are chipping away at a constitutional right.

We are in the midst of a full-scale attack on our nation’s commitment to public education. From funding, to vouchers, to charter schools, public education policy has become a political football, rather than a means of fulfilling the most basic obligation of government to its citizens.

As Derek W. Black vividly illustrates, this assault threatens not just public education, but democracy itself. Black offers both an illuminating history of our nation’s establishment of a constitutional right to education, and a trenchant analysis of how such a right is being undermined today. He looks at education history with a wide view, describing both periods when our democracy has been strengthened-when the commitment to public education has been strongest-and weakened, when such a commitment has been lacking. And today, such a commitment is sorely lacking.

Schoolhouse Burning shows what is at stake: not just the right to public education as guaranteed by the constitution, but an erosion of democratic norms.
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Genre: Nonfiction / Education / Educational Policy & Reform / Federal Legislation

On Sale: September 22nd 2020

Price: $16.99 / $21.99 (CAD)

Page Count: 320

ISBN-13: 9781541774384

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews


"A well-informed and cautiously optimistic defense of public education's central role in the American experiment."
Publishers Weekly
"A polemic against the ongoing dismantling of public education... Education reformers and public school advocates will find a powerful ally here."
"I loved Schoolhouse Burning for its stirring defense of the central importance of public education to American democracy, and for Derek Black's groundbreaking research. He definitively shows that the founders of the nation enthusiastically promoted public schools, that public schools enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support, and were established in every state as central to democracy. The current efforts to privatize them with vouchers began with segregationists in the 1950s and continue today with charter schools, reinvigorated vouchers, and deep cuts to public school funding. I highly recommend Schoolhouse Burning as an important counter to a destructive trend."—Diane Ravitch, author of Slaying Goliath and Reign of Error
"Derek Black has written a magnificent book on the history of public education in the United States. Professor Black shows that the future of American society-its equality, its democracy-depends on improving its public schools. This beautifully written book offers a path forward to making a right to a quality education for all children a reality."
Erwin Chemerinsky, dean and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley
"Derek Black is the rare education law scholar willing to put his vast skills and knowledge in the service of defending our nation's public schools. Schoolhouse Burning is a searing analysis of the current assault on public education by those intent on its destruction and, with it, the further erosion of our democratic institutions. It is also an urgent call to action to join with parents, advocates, teachers, and lawyers on the front lines of ensuring the right of every child to a high-quality education remains prominent, paramount and fully protected."
David Sciarra, executive director of the Education Law Center
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