I’m always at a loss trying to balance structural elements from American educational history with the actual experiences of students. I was thinking yesterday about how rewarding it would be to read a series of books like this:
William Corsaro, We’re Friends Right: Inside Kids’ Culture
Linda Perlstein, Linda, not much, just chillin’: the hidden lives of middle schoolers
Annette Lareau, Unequal Childhoods
Mike Rose, Lives on the Boundary
It’d be great to move through childhood in this way — from pre-k to high school — and I’m sure the students would enjoy reading these sorts of ethnographies much more than the primary source documents I usually assign. With the exception of Lareau, though, these books are more about children/students than the external factors that shape education in the United States. But I can justify dropping three of these texts by claiming that my students’ lab experiences will give them the time with kids that they need and they ought to contextualize the labs in terms of the other historical readings we’re doing.