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American Education: A History, 5e is a comprehensive, highly-regarded history of American education from pre-colonial times to the present. Chronologically organized, it provides an objective overview of each major period in the development of American education, setting the discussion against the broader backdrop of national and world events. The first text to explore Native American traditions (including education) prior to colonization, it also offers strong, ongoing coverage of minorities and women.

This edition includes more visual illustrations as well as new or expanded attention to the Jacksonian era and the politics surrounding the Common School, the McGuffey Readers, church-school-immigrant conflicts and accommodations, the Morrill Acts, community colleges, youth organizations, the impact of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl years, education and the Civilian Conservation Corps, National Youth Administration, and the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Race to the Top (RttT) legislation. Also, a new epilogue provides closing comments on the present and future prospects for American education.

Balanced Perspective – The authors provide contrasting views of American educational traditions, reforms, and theories in order to maintain a balanced view of events. They also set discussions against the broader backdrop of national and world events.

Pre-colonial Focus – A unique and much praised opening chapter discusses the educational traditions of Native Americans and the two-way learning exchanges that occurred between two distinct "old world" cultures, that is, between Native American and European cultures. The Indians taught as well as learned from the colonists. No other text has this feature.

Cultural Conflict Focus – Throughout the text attention is paid to the cultural conflicts embedded in the majority-minority struggles of Native Americans and various immigrant groups throughout the nation’s history. Chapter 5, Class, Caste and Education in the South, concentrates on the subjugation of African Americans and the use of education to both facilitate and fight that subjugation.

Readability – Reviewers have labelled this the "best written text on the market" in terms of style, clarity and interest. "It’s clarity and readability differentiate it from other books."

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