American Education: 19th Edition (e-Book) book cover

American Education

19th Edition

By Joel Spring


316 pages | 16 B/W Illus.

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Featuring current information and challenging perspectives on the latest issues and forces shaping the American educational system—with scholarship that is often cited as a primary source—Joel Spring introduces readers to the historical, political, social, and legal foundations of education and to the profession of teaching in the United States. In his signature straightforward, concise approach to describing complex issues, he illuminates events and topics that are often overlooked or whitewashed, giving students the opportunity to engage in critical thinking about education. Students come away informed on the latest topics, issues, and data and with a strong knowledge of the forces shaping the American educational system.

Thoroughly updated throughout, the new edition of this clear, authoritative text remains fresh and up-to-date, reflecting the many changes in education that have occurred since the publication of the previous edition. Topics and issues addressed and analyzed include:

• The decline of the Common Core State Standards, particularly as result of a Republican-controlled administration currently in place

• Increasing emphasis on for-profit education, vouchers, charter schools, and free-market competition between schools, expected to surge with the appointment of the new U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos

• Current debates about immigration and "Dreamers"—new statistics on immigrant education, discussion of education proposals to accommodate the languages, cultures, and religions of newly arrived immigrants

• New education statistics on school enrollments, dropouts, education and income, school segregation, charter schools, and home languages

• The purposes of education as presented in the 2016 platforms of the Republican, Democratic, Green, and Libertarian parties

• Discussions around transgender students


"I have used American Education for decades in my Foundations of Education course. I think Dr. Spring’s attention to equity and justice, and critical perspective on schooling in the United States is valuable for students of education. Dr. Spring’s style of writing and the language he uses is accessible, especially for newcomers to the field."

— Richard Neumann, Professor of Education, San Diego State University, Imperial Valley Campus

"American Education is comprehensive and introduces students to a wide range of topics in a fairly systematic way. I really appreciate that the book helps students situate schooling and education within a political landscape."

—Amy Damrow, Assistant Professor of Cultural Foundations and Education, Kent State University

"I began using Dr. Spring’s text in its 13th edition. Dr. Spring addresses the issues that my students will encounter in public education. The conversations in my classroom are enhanced by the book’s introduction of theories, legislation, court cases, and historic and contemporary practice in American education."

—Mary Burke Givens, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Technology Studies, University of Alabama

"Overall, this is a good book to introduce students to topics and issues in education. Dr. Spring tries to show multiple sides of issues which is an excellent way to encourage critical thinking."

— Teressa A. Jackson, Adjunct Instructor of Education, Coastal Pines Technical College

"Dr. Spring provides a good look into the teaching and learning within a public-school system in a broader democratic society by engaging the reader in brief historical and political viewpoints as they relate to the community school system. American Education does a good job describing the struggle schools have had in their attempt to balance these views to best serve the interests of their communities and more broadly, national interests."

— Teresa Coffman, Professor of Education, University of Mary Washington

Table of Contents


PART ONE: School and Society

Chapter 1 The History and Political Goals of Public Schooling

Chapter 2 The Social Goals of Schooling

Chapter 3 Education and Equality of Opportunity

Chapter 4 The Economic Goals of Schooling: Human Capital, Global Economy, and Preschool

Chapter 5 Equality of Educational Opportunity: Race, Gender, and Special Needs

Chapter 6 Student Diversity

Chapter 7 Multicultural and Multilingual Education

PART TWO Power and Control in American Education

Chapter 8 Local Control, Choice, Charter Schools, and Home Schooling

Chapter 9 Power and Control at State and National Levels

Chapter 10 The Profession of Teaching

Chapter 11 Globalization of Education

About the Author

Joel Spring is Professor Emeritus at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, USA.

About the Series

Sociocultural, Political, and Historical Studies in Education

This series focuses on studies of public and private institutions, the media, and academic disciplines that contribute to educating--in the broadest sense--students and the general public. The series welcomes volumes with multicultural perspectives, diverse interpretations, and a range of political points of view from conservative to critical. Books accepted for publication in this series will be written for an academic audience and, in some cases, also for use as supplementary readings in graduate and undergraduate courses.

Topics to be addressed in this series include, but are not limited to, sociocultural, political, and historical studies of

Local, state, national, and international educational systems

Elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities

Public institutions of education such as museums, libraries, and foundations

Computer systems and software as instruments of public education

The popular media as forms of public education

Content areas within the academic study of education, such as curriculum and instruction, psychology, and educational technology

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Aims & Objectives
EDUCATION / Philosophy & Social Aspects