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The 9% Challenge: Education in School and Society


by Lauren A. Sosniak — May 06, 2001

At graduation from high school, a youth would have spent, at most, 9% of his or her lifetime in school. Given the low dose of schooling in relation to the lives children and youth live outside of school, we can hardly justify holding schools essentially responsible for what students know and can do, or for what they don't know and can't do. Although more school, and school- plus-school (for example, on weekends and during the summers), are the typical responses to the current limits we must acknowledge, I contend they are not necessarily the most appropriate or helpful for our children or our society. Instead, I suggest that we consider two alternatives. First, we might reinvent education as society's mission, in and outside of school, and develop policies, practices, funding streams and mechanisms for accountability consistent with this altered vision. Second, we might reinvent schooling, too; we would need to identify the unique mission of schools, and develop appropriate expectations regarding what schools might do in the 9% of youth time allotted to them.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: May 06, 2001
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10756, Date Accessed: 10/19/2017 11:12:31 PM

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About the Author
  • Lauren Sosniak
    San Jose State University
    E-mail Author
    Lauren Sosniak is a Professor of Teacher Education at San José State University. Her research emphasizes work in curriculum studies, including attention to curriculum enactment, curriculum theory, and talent development. Her recent publications include “Professional and subject matter knowledge for teacher education,” in Gary A. Griffin (Ed.) (1999), The Education of Teachers: Ninety-eighth Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
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