Cover: The Education Trap: Schools and the Remaking of Inequality in Boston, from Harvard University PressCover: The Education Trap in HARDCOVER

The Education Trap

Schools and the Remaking of Inequality in Boston

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Product Details


$35.00 • £28.95 • €31.50

ISBN 9780674249110

Publication Date: 03/09/2021


384 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

24 illus., 1 map


Incisive… Groeger makes a persuasive case that education is not necessarily the ‘great equalizer’ it’s often touted to be. Policymakers, economists, and education reformers will want to take note.Publishers Weekly

Does education always bring more equality? Not necessarily: sometimes education is used to legitimize unfair inequality in pay and power and to promote a pseudomeritocratic and deeply inegalitarian ideology. By looking at early-twentieth-century Boston, this fascinating book teaches a lesson about today: a more equitable society requires a fight for justice, not only in education, but in the workplace and in the tax system.—Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Challenging conventional wisdom, Cristina Groeger shows how increased educational opportunities can reinforce inequality when political and social elites deploy credentialism to generate new occupational hierarchies based on gender, race, ethnicity, class, and citizenship. Her probe of Boston a century ago uncovers the deeper historical roots of the ‘education trap.’—Eileen Boris, author of Making the Woman Worker: Precarious Labor and the Fight for Global Standards, 1919–2019

Groeger challenges America’s central myth that education can substantially counteract social and economic inequality. This subtle, finely grained analysis of Boston schools and economic development from the Gilded Age to World War II offers a provocative rereading of social class, technological innovation, and racial and gender differentiation in the nation’s public and private classrooms.—Leon Fink, author of The Long Gilded Age: American Capitalism and the Lessons of a New World Order

This exquisite book forces us to question one of our most firmly held assumptions: that education is the pathway to equality. Through a closely told history of Boston, Groeger’s work compels us social scientists, historians, and the public to rethink our vision of how to achieve a more equitable society.—Shamus Khan, author of Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul’s School

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