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Schooling, Childhood, and Bureaucracy

Bureaucratizing the Child

Schooling, Childhood, and Bureaucracy by Tony Waters
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This book uses sociological explanations to describe how the school system in the United States developed, and why reform is a constant.  The explanation is rooted in the rationalized nature of bureaucracy, the ideals underlying society, and childhood.   Highlighted is the tension between the love that parents feel for their individual children, and the rational demands of a bureaucracy to manage a mass produced product—education.

The American public school system is elemental to the reproduction of society's ideals.  Such ideals in turn effect how relationships between teachers, parents, children, schools, and the state develop.  Most notably, this results in chronic demands for reform when inevitably the high ideals for individual children in terms of 'school success,' defined as test scores, student behavior, equity, and so forth, are never quite achieved.  The reasons why are embedded in a tension between bureaucracy, and the love individual parents have for individual children.

In exploring the relationship between bureaucratic schooling and the individual child, my book describes the persistence of educational inequality, child development, and the nature of bureaucracy.  The conclusions point out how education bureaucracies frame both schooling and childhood as they relentlessly seek to create ever more perfect children.

Palgrave Macmillan; September 2012
269 pages; ISBN 9781137269720
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Title: Schooling, Childhood, and Bureaucracy
Author: Tony Waters
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