The Business of Reforming American Schools

By Denise Gelberg

Subjects: Education
Series: SUNY series, Restructuring and School Change
Paperback : 9780791435069, 329 pages, October 1997
Hardcover : 9780791435052, 329 pages, October 1997

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Table of contents

List of Figures



List of Abbreviations


Part One: 1895-1925

1. The Tenor of the Times

2. The Pro-Efficiency Reforms Transplant Business Methods to the Schoolhouse

3. An Alternative Reform Agenda—Education for Individual Development and Democracy

Part Two: 1961-1995

4. The 1960s and the Challenge to the Schools

5. A Renewed Sense of Crisis and a New Management Model Spur Education Reform, 1983-1995

6. The New Model for Efficient Education

7. Rochester, New York, a Laboratory for the New Pro-Efficiency Reforms

8. The Choices We Face


Selected Bibliography


A critical look at the influence of the business community on the school reform movement, specifically how popular business management theories have been used as "tools" to produce a "workforce" for the 21st century.


Focusing on the influence of the business community on schools, this book describes how popular business management theories and production processes have been imported into schools during periods of societal upheaval in order to create a sense of order and efficiency while meeting the objective of producing a workforce that meets the specifications set down by employers.

Unlike other books that say why schools need to be reformed or how that reform should proceed, this study takes a critical look at the latest call to restructure schools in light of the economic, social, and political forces that affect the education establishment and the children of our nation.

Denise Gelberg has been a classroom teacher for twenty years and currently teaches in the Ithaca City School District, Ithaca, New York.


"Unlike many studies that focus on only one strand of reform, Dr. Gelberg takes up the difficult challenge of comparing three reforms in different eras. The book clearly depicts the broader societal forces that shape reform ideas, documents the intellectual origins of the visions, and specifies the key proponents of each of the perspectives. " -- Ken Wong, University of Chicago

"The author helps us understand how, once again, business not only drives education reform but also derails us from focusing on underlying social problems that correlate highly with poor school outcomes for children. " -- Marilyn Tallerico, Syracuse University