Teaching History Then and Now

Teaching History Then and Now A Story of Stability and Change in Schools

Larry Cuban
paper, 264 Pages
Pub. Date: March 2016
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-886-3
Price: $34.00

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In Teaching History Then and Now, Larry Cuban explores the teaching of history in American high schools during the past half-century. Drawing on his early career experience as a high school history educator and his more recent work as a historian of US education policy and practice, Cuban examines how determined reformers have and have not changed the teaching of history.


Teaching History Then and Now takes us back into the classrooms where Cuban himself taught, in the 1950s and 1960s, then brings us into the same schools today. The result is both a memoir and a history, a tale of one educator’s life and a meditation on what it means for the rest of us. — Jonathan Zimmerman, professor of history of education, New York University, and author, Too Hot to Handle

Cuban has done it again. He has looked deeply into an important topic in a way that both reads well and gets to some critically significant issues. Everyone from would-be or new teachers to policy makers needs to read this from cover to cover. — Deborah Meier, author, In Schools We Trust

With his deft touch for humanizing education history and drawing the links between policy and practice, Larry Cuban offers an intimate and immensely readable look at how history teaching has changed over the past half-century. Touching on everything from the New Social Studies to the role of technology, his deeply personal narrative explores what ‘reform’ ultimately means for teachers and students. — Frederick M. Hess, director of education policy studies, American Enterprise Institute

Larry Cuban draws on his experience as a high school history teacher and educational historian to show how much impact fifty years of school reform have had on American schools. Returning to urban schools where he once taught, he finds that schools remain dynamically conservative organizations, where teachers continue to serve as gatekeepers for policy change and where the grammar of schooling remains strong. — David F. Labaree, professor of education, Stanford University

Teaching History Then and Now: A Story of Stability and Change in Schools is a worthy successor to his invaluable books on how teachers taught, and how little has changed despite the waves of fads and reforms that have periodically washed over America's schools for the past century. Cuban's research is still clear-eyed, careful, and comprehensive; his conclusions, nuanced and precise. — Luther Spoehr, History News Network

Cuban is a careful historian; his study is inventive and insightful. — R. R. Sherman, CHOICE Connect

Those interested in a personal, historical, and policy-informing account of history education would do well to begin with his hard-won treasure trove of insights. — A. J. Angulo, Teachers College Record

Cuban’s book is a study of much more than history education...Historians of education, social studies methods instructors, and current and future history teachers will find this book engaging, informative, and at times even optimistic about the future of US education. — Anne-Lise Halvorsen, History of Education Quarterly

When Cuban waxed philosophical and challenged the status quo in his summary, it made you think about your role as an administrator and/or policymaker. His discussion about the 'grammar of schooling' should be a requirement for aspiring administrators. — Rob Clark, School Administrator

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About the Author

Larry Cuban is professor emeritus of education at Stanford University. He has taught courses in the methods of teaching social studies; the history of school reform, curriculum, and instruction; and leadership.

His background in the field of education before 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 most recent books are Inside the Black Box of Classroom Practice: Change Without Reform in American Education (2013), As Good as It Gets: What School Reform Brought to Austin (2010); Hugging the Middle: How Teachers Teach in an Era of Testing and Accountability (2009); Partners in Literacy (with Sondra Cuban, 2007); Against the Odds: Insights from One District’s Small School Reform (coauthor, 2010); and Cutting Through the Hype: The Essential Guide to School Reform (with Jane David, 2010).