Education and Social Change

Contours in the History of American Schooling, 4th Edition

By John L. Rury

© 2013 – Routledge

284 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415526937
pub: 2012-07-02
US Dollars$53.95
Hardback: 9780415526906
pub: 2012-07-02
US Dollars$155.00

Look Inside Comp Exam Copy

About the Book

This brief, interpretive history of American schooling focuses on the evolving relationship between education and social change. Like its predecessors, this new edition investigates the impact of social forces such as industrialization, urbanization, immigration and cultural conflict on the development of schools and other educational institutions. It also examines the various ways that schools have contributed to social change, particularly in enhancing the status and accomplishments of certain social groups and not others. Detailed accounts of the experiences of women and minority groups in American history consider how their lives have been affected by education. Changes in this new edition include the following:

  • A more thorough treatment of key concepts such as globalization, human capital, social capital, and cultural capital.

  • Enhanced attention to issues of diversity throughout.

  • Greater thematic coherence as a result of dividing chapter 6 into two chapters, the first focusing on the postwar period and emphasizing the themes of equity and social justice and the second focusing on human capital in education, highlighting the standards movement, federal policy changes and neo-liberal reform.

  • A revision of several focal point discussions for greater clarity and thematic releance.

  • Update discussions of recent changes in educational politics, finance and policy, especially the troubles presently facing No Child Left Behind (NCLB).


“Its adept treatment of historical developments with interpretive themes is accomplished

in a remarkably concise and accessible manner.” —Sevan Terzian, University of Florida, USA

“I really like the book’s central question: do schools change society or does society change schools? While students quickly realize the answer is ‘both,’ this interplay throughout the text works nicely for me. It also supports well another central question that I usually emphasize: the ‘education for what purpose’ question.” —Monica McKinney, Meredith College, USA

"I would recommend this book to all educators, administrators, and researchers interested in the historical influences on education and social change. This book is especially important for state, local, and federal policy makers to reexamine the damages of history on marginalized groups." —Education Review

Table of Contents

Introduction: History, Social Change, and Education 1. Colonial America: Religion, Inequality and Revolution 2. Emergence of a Modern School System: The Nineteenth Century 3. Ethnicity, Gender, and Race: Contours of Social Change in the 19th Century 4. Growth, Reform and Differentiation: The Progressive Era 5. Education, Equity and Social Policy: Postwar America to the End of the 1970s 6. Globalization and Human Capital: From "A Nation at Risk" To Neo-Liberal Reform Epilogue: Education and Social Change in Perspective

About the Author

John L. Rury is Professor of Education and (by courtesy) History at the University of Kansas. A past president of the History of Education Society and vice president of the American Educational Research Association, he has also served as an editor of the American Educational Research Journal.

Subject Categories

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

Sample Chapters