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ERIC Number: EJ910550
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
A Courageous Look at the American High School
Peterson, Paul E.
Education Next, v10 n2 p24-29, 31, 33 Spr 2010
Excellence was seldom to be found in 2006, when David Ferrero, an officer of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, reviewed five firsthand, book-length accounts of teaching and learning at individual high schools. In one account, a rookie teacher, telling her own story, "struggles to establish authority in her classes and generally fails;...her students ritually defy her, going so far as to openly declare their intention to get her fired for the sheer sport of it." A powerful but hostile peer group seemed in charge of the learning process. According to Cornell economist John Bishop, the problem begins in middle school, where "nerds" are harassed. The problem did not appear suddenly at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Fifty years earlier James Coleman, reflecting on his own adolescence, had detected something quite similar and then provided a sociological explanation for the phenomenon. In this article, the author provides an account of sociologist James Coleman's research and its role in history. He recalls the bitterness of the controversy provoked by Coleman's writings and reveals how Coleman's insights were rooted in his own high-school experiences.
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A