OUTSIDE IN: Minorities and the Transformation of American Education by Pallia Fass

OUTSIDE IN: Minorities and the Transformation of American Education

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By analyzing the impact of immigrant, black, and female populations on the changing American secondary educational system, Fass (History/Berkeley) provides a laborious but interesting study of the dynamic relationship between educational and social changes since the turn of the century. With the growth of American industry came a substantial influx of immigrant populations. From 1890 to 1940, the proportion of children from ages five to 17 attending school rose from 44 to 74%. As a result, a parallel educational expansion and restructuring took place. Fass discusses the changes brought about by progressive reformers during that period; studies the profound social and economic upheavals--the value of work to the family, the escalating number of students, child labor laws, ethnic and religious conflicts--that forced the educational system to reexamine its social position and impact; and examines how, with irreversible consequences, schools began to use the IQ test to sectionalize and track student populations. By looking at six New York high schools, Fass then studies how socialization through extracurricular activities resulted in the Americanization of immigrant populations. Next, Fass focuses on blacks and women, and the impact of the New Deal. Although the Federal government was not ready to pass legislation concerning lynching, segregation, or poll taxes, it offered education and employment to blacks, less as a result of altruism than pragmatism. Women, on the other hand, presented a different problem in that they had been involved in the educational system all along, but were in the process of redefining both social and economic roles. Finally, Fass compares the values and limitations of the independent high school. She chooses the Catholic parochial system as an example of educational and social homogeneity. Dry yet thorough, as Fass convincingly demonstrates that immigrant and minority groups have substantially influenced our educational system.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1989
ISBN: 0195071352
Publisher: Oxford Univ. Press