Fertilizers, Pills, and Magnetic Strips: The Fate of Public Education in America
"We shape our tools and then they shape us." With these words, Kenneth Boulding captured one of the great truths of the modern world. In Fertilizers, Pills, and Magnetic Strips, Gene V Glass analyzes how a few key technological inventions changed culture in America and how public education has changed as a result. Driving these changes are material self-interest and the desire for comfort and security, both of which have transformed American culture into a hyper-consuming, xenophobic society that is systematically degrading public education. Glass shows how the central education policy debates at the start of the 21st century (vouchers, charter schools, tax credits, high-stakes testing, bilingual education) are actually about two underlying issues: how can the costs of public education be cut, and how can the education of the White middle-class be "quasi-privatized" at public expense? Working from the demographic realities of the past thirty years, he projects a challenging and disturbing future for public education in America. Fertilizers, Pills, and Magnetic Strips is attracting the attention of the nation's foremost education scholars. Reviews: "This is the first credible book of the 21st century to anticipate the future of public education." David C. Berliner ."a wake up call to America about the disastrous consequences of current policies that shortchange the education of the coming majorityLatinos and other 'minority' studentson whom the very future of the nation rests. " Patricia Gandara "The book makes such impressive sense that one has to believe that its clarity, command of the facts, eye for absurdity, and concern for justice will garner greater support for public education as a common and noble cause." John Willinsky "This is the most original book about education in years." Ernest R. House"
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Gene Glass in "Fertilizers, Pills and Magnetic Strips: The Fate of Public Education in America" has finally exposed in a brilliant analysis the ugly truths that Americans have been living beyond their means, that credit card companies, hiding behind layers of anonymity, have been gouging citizens, and that Congress is in bed with the banking industry. He has not only thought outside the education box in this book, he has created new geometries to demonstrate the relationships with domestic social and economic issues and the deleterious influence of misguided government policies.
His thesis that economic and political realities have been transforming the schooling process is refreshingly novel. Glass's macro-thinking gives educational reformers a new impetus for considering how federal and state policies and the dynamism of economics have shaped educational movements.
Glass tells us how result of financially injurious personal choices, corporate excesses, and neglected federal policies, have systematically eroded essential funds for public expenditures like schools, libraries and transportation needs. Credit card companies have been diverting excessive interest funds into corporate coffers that might have been voted in by citizens into necessary public services.
Gene Glass has raised the intellectual bar for the discourse on schools and education policy. This is a thoughtful book, reflective of decades of his study of policy research patterns, and now ingeniously aligned with the shifts in government policies and the dynamics of economics. I stand in admiration and ask rhetorically, as Huxley did after reading Darwin, "How stupid not to have thought of that myself.