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Class Dismissed reviewed in CHOICE

Class Dismissed: Why We Cannot Teach or Learn Our Way Out of Inequality by John Marsh

The following review of Class Dismissed appeared in the February 2012 issue of CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries

Writing as en engaged public intellectual, Marsh (English, Pennsylvania State Univ.) argues that education, from preschool through graduate school, should not be viewed as a panacea for America’s economic and social ills. Instead, he calls for a drastic decrease in poverty and inequality as a more potent elixir. Marsh marshals ample historical and empirical evidence to bolster his case – one he shares with such critics as Samuel Boyles and Herbert Gintis (Schooling in Capitalist America, 1976) and Richard Rothstein (Class and Schools, CH, Sep’05, 43-0465; Grading Education, CH, Jul’09, 46-6339). Marsh’s forceful, erudite treatment lays bare the fact that the U.S. seems largely unwilling to change underlying social structures that sustain poverty and inequitable life chances. Though his thesis is not especially novel (see, for example, Christopher Jencks et al., Inequality: Reassessment of the Effects of Family and Schooling in America, 1972), the drumbeat of his important message needs to be amplified in a nation widely deaf to it. Summing up: Highly Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. – J.L. DeVitis, Old Dominion University

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