A new book argues that it’s a mistake to assume education alone can fix our society
By Michael Corbin
PUBLISHED: AUGUST 10, 2011
by John Marsh
Monthly Review Press, paperback
As Baltimore schoolteachers and students return to their classrooms later this month, the enduring tale of America as a land of opportunity will resound again with great fervor. All good teachers will weave into their lesson plans a narrative of hope: If you do this drill on the board, keep your uniform neat, complete your homework, follow the curriculum, make the grade—above all, matriculate upward—you can change your condition, overcome economic insecurity, and procure a spot in America’s bounteous middle class or beyond.
School and civic leaders will broadcast this story with even greater urgency this fall, pointing out that we are in the time of the Great Recession, jobless recoveries, and colossal debt, and we are beset by the Chinese and the whirlwind of global competition. Education may be our only hope.
For Baltimore schools CEO Andrés Alonso, educational attainment has even morphed into something beyond mere hoping. Writing on the Johns Hopkins School of Education’s blog, Alonso offered a more portentous vision of the land of opportunity: “In the hyper-competitive global economy of the 21st century,” he wrote, “education is fate.”
John Marsh, in his important and accessible new book Class Dismissed: Why We Cannot Teach or Learn Our Way Out of Inequality (Monthy Review Press), challenges this widely held, almost mystical American belief in the powers of education….
Read the entire review in the Baltimore City Paper