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Political Spectacle and the Fate of American Schools

reviewed by Paul Kingston - 2004

coverTitle: Political Spectacle and the Fate of American Schools
Author(s): Mary Lee Smith with Linda Miller-Kahn, Walter Heinecke, Patricia F. Jarvis
Publisher: Routledge/Falmer, New York
ISBN: 0415932009 , Pages: 282, Year: 2003
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In 1996 the Arizona Board of Education met with the intent of approving the Arizona Standards for Reading, Writing and Math. These proposed standards reflected the initiative of Lisa Graham Keegan, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, who had scuttled the efforts of her predecessor – and hoped to lay personal claim to bringing “accountability” to Arizona education, thus advancing her own gubernatorial aspirations. The stage was set for her to shine in the public eye. But of course no self-respecting politician could let a rival dominate this popular “policy”: accountability had become a buzzword that captured the public imagination. So, without notice, just as the proceedings were about to start, Governor Symington entered the room with an entourage of advisors and reporters and proceeded to read  his own press release on what should be done to bring real accountability to Arizona education. Quite clearly, political maneuvering had taken precedence over reasoned debate.  Mary Lee Smith, self-identified “progressive” professor of education at Arizona State, sat in the audience,... (preview truncated at 150 words.)

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 106 Number 5, 2004, p. 968-969
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11248, Date Accessed: 8/3/2021 7:58:30 PM

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About the Author
  • Paul Kingston
    University of Virginia
    E-mail Author
    PAUL W. KINGSTON is a professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia. Recent publications include: The Classless Society (Stanford, 2000); “The Unfulfilled Promise of Cultural Capital Theory” in Sociology of Education (extra issue) 2001,88-99; “Why Education Matters” Sociology of Education , 76(1): 53-70, 2003. With Steven Nock, he is working on a NSF-funded project, The Distribution of Obligations.
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