Radical Equality in Education : Starting Over in U.S. Schooling book cover
1st Edition

Radical Equality in Education
Starting Over in U.S. Schooling

ISBN 9780415528047
Published February 14, 2014 by Routledge
128 Pages

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Book Description

Tinkering with the current educational system from within has not provided a just and equitable education for all children. In this book, acclaimed education theorist Joanne Larson poses basic questions about the nature and purpose of schooling. Proposing that what is needed is a new purpose that is more consistent with contemporary knowledge production processes—one that moves beyond the either/or binary of preparing workers/citizens in a competitive global economy or a democracy, Larson argues that the only real solution is to start over in U.S. education—the purpose of schooling should be to facilitate human learning, meaning making, and knowledge production toward just and equitable education for all.

Radical Equality in Education offers a new ontological starting point and a new theoretical framing that would follow from it; articulates theoretical, curricular, pedagogical, and assessment principles that frame a real plan for fundamental change in American education, and presents examples of what these ideas might look like in schools and communities.

Table of Contents

Foreword, Kris Gutierrez



Chapter One: Fed Up with Tinkering

What We Already Know: Schools are Outdated

Children and Youth are Not Being Well-served: Standardization and Obsessive Testing Causes Damage

Traditional Purposes Reflect an Unproductive Binary of Worker/Citizen

Why Now?

Why Start Over?

Chapter Two: From an Equitable Starting Place

Equality of Intelligence



Mass collaboration

Spatial Justice

Lunch Is Gross

Freedom Market Project

Guiding principles

Chapter Three: Toward Different Ends

Purposes of Schooling

The Common Good

Operationalizing the Neoliberal Common Good

Normative purposes

A New Purpose

Chapter Four: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment


"Instruction" and Pedagogy


Guiding Principles

Chapter Five: Imagine We Climb the Mountain

Imagining the New

Knowledge Producing Schools

What Makes the Argument Plausible?

What We Need to Do Now


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Joanne Larson is Michael W. Scandling Professor of Education, University of Rochester, Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development, USA.


"This is a must read for anyone desiring a radical change in the current education system predicated on a democratic view of education and a more humanistic vision for learning... Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers, upper-division undergraduate students, and above."- H. J. Bultinck, Northeastern Illinois University, in CHOICE, January 2015

"Joanne Larson’s Radical Equality in Education presents a timely and truly paradigm-changing approach to education. It is a must read for all those who realize schools should not exist to produce service workers but to produce proactive citizens capable of transforming the world they live in."- James Paul Gee, Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies, Arizona State University, USA

"Brave, timely, innovative and important. This book is a necessary statement that helps point us where we need to be heading in education, and argued by an author superbly placed to make the case. It will contribute to a debate that needs to occur, and occur now."- Colin Lankshear, James Cook University, Australia