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The Impossible Dream: Education and the Search for Panaceas


reviewed by Sonia E. Murrow — 2004

coverTitle: The Impossible Dream: Education and the Search for Panaceas
Author(s): Thomas C. Hunt
Publisher: Peter Lang Publishing, New York
ISBN: 0820437476, Pages: 301, Year: 2003
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Since its inception, American schooling has been charged with the immense responsibility of improving the nation’s social, political, and economic life. Referred to by Horace Mann as “the great equalizer” and by Lyndon B. Johnson as “the thing that can answer to all our national problems,” schooling in America is and has been perceived as the great cure-all.   Historians and other scholars have attempted to determine why Americans place such enormous faith in schooling. Labeling schooling in America as a “great crusade,” Diane Ravitch proclaimed, “no other idea has seemed more typically American than the belief that education could cure society’s ills” (Ravitch, 1983: xii).  Hannah Arendt argued that education occupies such an important position in American life because of its role in the continual assimilation of immigrants (Arendt, 1958).  Henry Perkinson maintained that American schooling, from its early beginnings, has been equated with the task of socialization, and thus, serves as a crucial arbitrator of the status quo (Perkinson, 1991). All of these perspectives posit education as essential... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 106 Number 2, 2004, p. 311-314
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11197, Date Accessed: 10/24/2017 3:27:47 AM

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About the Author
  • Sonia Murrow
    Long Island University - Brooklyn
    E-mail Author
    SONIA E. MORROW is an assistant professor of Urban Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning, Long Island University – Brooklyn. Her areas of interest include social foundations, curriculum and pedagogy, social studies education, and urban school reform. Her paper, “Learning from Recurring Debates in Education: Teacher Education Students Explore Historical Case Studies” is forthcoming in Educational Studies. She is currently doing research, with Mary Rose McCarthy, on the presentation of educational history in foundations of education texts over time as a way to understand history’s potential to foster a critical perspective among future teachers.
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