Confessions of a School Reformer

Confessions of a School Reformer

Larry Cuban
paper, 275 Pages
Pub. Date: December 2021
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-695-7
Price: $36.00

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In Confessions of a School Reformer, eminent historian of education Larry Cuban reflects on nearly a century of education reforms and his experiences with them as a student, educator, and administrator.


In this remarkable book, Larry Cuban provides rich insight into nearly a century of American school reform. In chapters that alternate between analysis and memoir, he explores both our persisting faith that schools can fix social problems and our continuing failure to move the needle very far in this direction—drawing on his long experience as a student, teacher, superintendent, and professor. — David Labaree, Lee L. Jacks Professor of Education, Emeritus, Stanford Graduate School of Education

Larry Cuban knows more about school reform than anybody in America. And he knows it from both his personal experience and his historical scholarship, as this bracingly honest book confirms. Over and over, across a brilliant six-decade career, Cuban has urged us to improve our schools and to restrain our expectations of them. If that sounds like a contradiction to you, read Confessions of a School Reformer. You might reform your own ideas about schools, just like Larry Cuban did. — Jonathan Zimmerman, Professor of History of Education, University of Pennsylvania and author of Whose America? Culture Wars in the Public Schools

Confessions of a School Reformer combines personal memoir with a history and analysis of U.S. school reform efforts over the past century, seeking to show how Cuban's own life and career have been entangled with that history and the lessons he has drawn from that junction. This sober-verging-on-glum analysis cannot be termed encouraging, but it’s based on a great deal of experience, reflection, and hard-won wisdom. It’s an ambitious undertaking that is ultimately illuminating and sobering. — Thomas Fordham Institute

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About the Author

Larry Cuban is Professor Emeritus of Education at Stanford University. His background in the field of education prior to becoming a professor included fourteen years of teaching high school social studies in big-city schools, directing a teacher education program that prepared returning Peace Corps volunteers to teach in inner-city schools, and serving seven years as a district superintendent.

His major research interests focus on the history of curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, school reform, and the uses of technology in classrooms. In addition to his HEP books, he is also the author of As Good As It Gets: What School Reform Brought to Austin (Harvard University Press, 2010) and Hugging the Middle: How Teachers Teach in an Era of Testing and Accountability (Teachers College Press, 2009).

Table of Contents


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