About the Blog

I will post a new entry every few weeks. Some will be new writing and some will be past work that has relevance today. The writing will deal in some way with the themes that have been part of my teaching and writing life for decades:

•teaching and learning;
•educational opportunity;
•the importance of public education in a democracy;
•definitions of intelligence and the many manifestations of intelligence in school, work, and everyday life; and
•the creation of a robust and humane philosophy of education.

If I had to sum up the philosophical thread that runs through my work, it would be this: A deep belief in the ability of the common person, a commitment to educational, occupational, and cultural opportunity to develop that ability, and an affirmation of public institutions and the public sphere as vehicles for nurturing and expressing that ability.

My hope is that this blog will foster an online community that brings people together to continue the discussion.


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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My New Book: Back To School

I have a new book coming out in about two weeks and want to let my readers know about it. It’s called Back to School: Why Everyone Deserves a Second Chance at Education. The publisher added this “reading line” to the cover An Argument for Democratizing Knowledge in America. The title and reading line give a pretty good sense of the book’s purpose: To both champion and improve those institutions that provide a second chance at educational success, particularly the community college and adult school. This purpose is embedded in a broader purpose: to remind us in these budget cutting times how fundamental such institutions are to our nation’s definition of itself as an egalitarian, second-chance society, and to our social and economic vitality. I reprint below the short preface and the table of contents.


Preface to Back to School

            This is a book about people in tough circumstances who find their way, who get a second… or third… or fourth chance, who, in some cases, feel like they are reinventing themselves. Education can play a powerful role in creating that second chance.
            At a time when public institutions are held in low regard, and schools at all levels are under assault – for good reasons and bad – Back to School demonstrates what education can do…even though it was often earlier schooling that let people down. The stories in this book affirm the transformational potential of the college classroom, the occupational workshop, the tutoring center, the mentoring relationship.
            One of the defining characteristics of the United States is its promise of a second chance; this promise is central to our vision of ourselves, and to our economic and civic dynamism. When we are at our best as a society, our citizens are not trapped by their histories. Sadly this possibility is contracting, partly because of a damaged and unstable economy but more so because of our political response to the economy. There are better ways to respond and to foster the growth of a wider sweep of our population. I hope Back to School points us in that direction.


Table of Contents

Preface. Second Chances

Introduction. Why Going Back to School Matters

Chapter One. Adult Education and the Landscape of Opportunity

Chapter Two. Who Should Go to College?: Unpacking the College-for-All Versus Occupational Training Debate

Chapter Three. Full Cognitive Throttle: When Education for Work Ignites the Mind

Chapter Four. Who We Are: Portraits from an Urban Community College

Chapter Five. Overcoming Bad Ideas: Toward Success with Remedial Education and Bridging the Academic-Vocational Divide

Chapter Six. Improving the People’s College

Conclusion. A Learning Society

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  1. Looking forward to reading the book Mike. You always inspire.

  2. Congratulations on the new book! I received my copy and I look forward to reading it. Your insights are always valuable and informative.

  3. Your post is great to read. I was wondering if you have tried school tutoring?