In an article on Joe Giradi (nyer-jgirardi), manager of the New York Yankees baseball team, Gay Talese said: “Like religion, the game of baseball is founded on aspirations rarely met. It generates far more failure than fulfillment” (p.41). Insert “public schools” in place of “the game of baseball” and you have concisely summarized the history of school reform in the U.S.
The similarity between religion, baseball, and public schooling of “aspirations rarely met” is apt since in the U.S. going to school and acquiring credentials is, indeed, a secular catechism invoked daily by parents with their children, teachers with students, and reform-minded U.S. Presidents in debates with opponents.
And “aspirations rarely met” also applies to school reform. Here is John Dewey in 1897:
I believe that education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform.
I believe it is the business of every one interested in education…
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