Home Articles Reader Opinion Editorial Book Reviews Discussion Writers Guide About TCRecord
transparent 13

Mismatch: Historical Perspectives on Schools and Students Who Don't Fit Them

by Sarah Deschenes, David Tyack & Larry Cuban - 2001

There have always been students who do not meet the educational expectations of their time—students outside the mainstream mold who do not fit dominant notions of success. The differences between schools and these students can be thought of as a “mismatch” between the structure of schools and the social, cultural, or economic backgrounds of students identified as problems. In this essay we examine the history of these students who have not been able to do what educators wanted them to do. We look at how educators have labeled poor school performers in different periods and how these labels reflected both attitudes and institutional conditions. We then summarize four major historical explanations for why children fail in school—individual deficits or incompetence, families, inefficiency in schools, and cultural difference. Finally, we explore what implications this history has for students in the current standards-based reform movement, including implications for social promotion and the age-graded school. To avoid a mismatch in the standards movement, we argue that educators should focus on adapting the school better to the child, addressing social inequalities that extend beyond the classroom, and undertaking comprehensive changes that take no features of current schools for granted.

To view the full-text for this article you must be signed-in with the appropriate membership. Please review your options below:

Store a cookie on my computer that will allow me to skip this sign-in in the future.
Send me my password -- I can't remember it
Purchase this Article
Purchase Mismatch: Historical Perspectives on Schools and Students Who Don't Fit Them
Individual-Resource passes allow you to purchase access to resources one resource at a time. There are no recurring fees.
Become a Member
Online Access
With this membership you receive online access to all of TCRecord's content. The introductory rate of $25 is available for a limited time.
Print and Online Access
With this membership you receive the print journal and free online access to all of TCRecord's content.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 103 Number 4, 2001, p. 525-547
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10773, Date Accessed: 1/22/2021 7:05:00 AM

Purchase Reprint Rights for this article or review
Article Tools
Related Articles

Related Discussion
Post a Comment | Read All

About the Author
  • Sarah Deschenes
    Stanford University
    E-mail Author
    Sarah Deschenes has a master’s degree in American history and is a doctoral candidate in education policy at Stanford University. She is writing her dissertation on neighborhood reform for youth in San Francisco.
  • David Tyack
    Stanford University
    David Tyack is a professor of education and of history at Stanford University. He is co-author, with Larry Cuban, of Tinkering Toward Utopia: A Century of Public School Reform and author of The One Best System: A History of American Urban Education.
  • Larry Cuban
    Stanford University
    E-mail Author
    Larry Cuban is professor of education at Stanford University and editor (with Dorothy Shipps) of Reconstructing the Common Good in Education: Coping with Intractable Dilemmas (Stanford University Press, 2000).
Member Center
In Print
This Month's Issue