Cover: Places for Learning, Places for Joy: Speculations on American School Reform, from Harvard University PressCover: Places for Learning, Places for Joy in E-DITION

Places for Learning, Places for Joy

Speculations on American School Reform

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$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674424968

Publication Date: 01/01/1973

167 pages


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“Fundamental changes are needed in American formal education,” writes the former Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, “yet the resistance to these changes is neither mindless nor conspiratorial.” Generally speaking, Americans are content with schools as they are, convinced that they well serve society’s (albeit ill-defined) symbolic and economic needs. Most people who do complain are protesting the schools’ failure to deliver on their existing promises; they are not demanding that schools change their basic goals. Theodore Sizer suggests that the sloppy drift of purpose prevalent in American education today could be corrected by carefully articulating the ends of education, relating these to public aspirations and beliefs.

Sharpen the focus of the schools, he recommends, and separate the different kinds of learning in different places. A single school cannot simultaneously provide for the learning of intellectual power, personal agency (the ability to “make it”), and joy (the capacity for pleasure). What is required, he argues, are multiple schools, each focusing on limited ends. His book is not a noisy indictment but a dispassionate exploration that moves beyond outrage to a balanced appraisal of why American education is the way it is and how it might be different. His argument is both reasonable and provocative.

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Jacket: The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America, by Khalil Gibran Muhammad, from Harvard University Press

“Predictive Policing” and Racial Profiling

While technology used in policing has improved, it hasn’t progressed, says Khalil Gibran Muhammad, if racial biases are built into those new technologies. This excerpt from his book, The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America, shows that for the reform called for by the current protests against systemic racism and racially-biased policing to be fulfilled, the police—especially those at the top—will need to change their pre-programmed views on race and the way they see the Black citizens they are supposed to “serve and protect.”