The School in the United States: A Documentary History, 3rd Edition (Paperback) book cover

The School in the United States

A Documentary History, 3rd Edition

Edited by James W. Fraser


410 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780415832472
pub: 2014-03-27
Hardback: 9780415837415
pub: 2014-04-01

FREE Standard Shipping!


The School in the United States collects the essential primary documents of the history of education in the United States, from Colonial America to present-day reform efforts. Expertly chosen by historian and education scholar James Fraser, these documents incorporate a wide range of sources, from first-person accounts to textbook excerpts and presidential speeches. As Fraser demonstrates, the history of American education is also a history of national debates and decisions about schooling, and he places the prominent voices of these debates in conversation through carefully curated selections, including the work of famous thinkers like Thomas Jefferson and W.E.B. Dubois, as well as that of ordinary classroom teachers.

Organized by era, each chapter begins with a brief introduction intended to spark student interest, while a detailed bibliography suggests opportunities for further research. The School in the United States is comprehensive enough to be used as a main text, but selective enough to be used alongside another while making key readings in the history of American education accessible in a format that encourages students to make their own evaluations as they engage with major historical debates.

Updates to this third edition include:

• Additional materials on current educational issues including the Common Core State Standards, educational philanthropy, and increased school privatization and vouchers.

• Online resources that include a full Instructor’s Manual and sample syllabi, available at


“This is my favorite book that I use with my students. It allows me a lot of creativity in planning the course curriculum and I like that students can learn from the primary sources without me having to search for all of the documents.”—Josephine Tabet Sarvis, PhD, Dominican University

"James Fraser provides an excellent comprehensive collection of primary sources that provide the student with an opportunity for reflecting, constructing meaning, and establishing relationships with the past through the ideas and experiences of thsoe who lived it and helped form American education as we know it."—Sam F. Stack Jr., Professor, Social and Cultural Foundations, West Virginia University

"Fraser has most certainly achieved his goal of providing students ‘with a way to immerse themselves in some of the major debates that have consumed educators over the decades.’ His book enables students to become historians."—Christine A. Ogren, Associate Professor, Educational Policy and Leadership Studies, the University of Iowa

Table of Contents


1. The School in Colonial America, 1620-1770

2. The American Revolution and Schools for the New Republic, 1770-1820

3. The Common School Movement, 1820-1860

4. Schooling Moves West, 1835-1860

5. Slavery, Reconstruction, and the Schools of the South 1820-1937

6. The Emergence of the High School, 1821-1959

7. Growth and Diversity in Schools and Students, 1880-1960

8. The Progressive Era, 1890-1950

9. Schools in the Cold War Era, 1950-1970

10. Civil Rights, Integration, and School Reform, 1954-1980

11. Rights and Opportunities in American Education1965-1980

12. Reform Efforts of the 1980s and 1990s

13. From No Child Left Behind to the Common Core, 2001-2013

Bibliography: For Further Reading

About the Author


About the Editor

James W. Fraser is the 2013-2014 President of the History of Education Society and Professor of History and Education at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University, USA.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:

Instructor Resources