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Class Counts: Education, Inequality, and the Shrinking Middle Class


reviewed by Leslie S. Kaplan & William A. Owings - January 28, 2008

coverTitle: Class Counts: Education, Inequality, and the Shrinking Middle Class
Author(s): Allan Ornstein
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham
ISBN: 0742547426, Pages: 355, Year: 2007
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Public education is no longer the engine of social and economic mobility. With increasing income disparities and inequality of educational opportunity, education is no longer society’s “great equalizer.”  While America believes in social mobility – that one generation or individual can and should rise above the previous generation or family’s attainment level – facts show this is becoming increasingly difficult.   In his new book, Class Counts, Allan Ornstein explores the extreme differences in income and wealth.  “Merit…is becoming a diminishing asset,” he writes (p. 172). The democratic system breaks down when inherited wealth becomes entrenched and when the gap between the wealthy and unwealthy (with similar amounts of education) becomes increasingly lopsided. As “the relationship between education and income diminishes – and class, rank, and privilege increasingly outweigh talent, ability, and performance,” public schools become less an engine for meritocracy or social mobility (p. 175). If we reduce mobility based... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: January 28, 2008
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 14934, Date Accessed: 9/21/2019 5:20:56 AM

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About the Author
  • Leslie Kaplan

    LESLIE S. KAPLAN, a retired public school and central office administrator, is an education writer. Together, Kaplan and Owings have co-authored four books, three monographs, several book chapters, and approximately two dozen professional articles in refereed journals. Their writing and research interests include educational leadership, school finance, and teacher quality as they relate to student achievement. They have co-authored American Public School Finance (2006) for Thomson/Wadsworth and are presently writing an educational foundations textbook for Wadsworth/Cengage. Dr. Kaplan serves on the editorial review board for the National Association of Secondary School Principals’ Bulletin.
  • William Owings
    Old Dominion University
    E-mail Author
    WILLIAM A. OWINGS, a former public school teacher, principal, assistant superintendent, and division superintendent is a Professor of Educational Leadership at Old Dominion University. Together, Kaplan and Owings have co-authored four books, three monographs, several book chapters, and approximately two dozen professional articles in refereed journals. Their writing and research interests include educational leadership, school finance, and teacher quality as they relate to student achievement. They have co-authored American Public School Finance (2006) for Thomson/Wadsworth and are presently writing an educational foundations textbook for Wadsworth/Cengage. Dr. Owings serves on the editorial board for The Journal for Effective Schools.
 
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