Some of those enrolled in this course may not have read much history.  This is to be expected and should not present a problem if you approach the work properly.  I suggest that you read each secondary source assignment for this course as if you were preparing to teach what you have learned to someone else.  Make some brief notes, especially after you have read an article or a book.  Focus on the author’s research questions, sources (both primary and secondary), and argument.  Bring these notes with you to class on those days when we will be discussing a particular book.

Most of you enrolled in this course will not have done a research project using historical methodology.  There are many books on the subject of historical methods.  For those of you who might want to consult such books, I recommend two: A Student's Guide to History by Jules R. Benjamin (1998) and The Information-Literate Historian by Jenny L. Presnell (2007).  Patrick Rael has written excellent open source textbook on historical methods that can be found in Course Documents.  We will discuss historical research methods as we work our way through the course.

Course Books


Jack Dougherty.  More than One Struggle: The Evolution of Black School Reform in Milwaukee. (2004)

David Labaree.  How to Succeed in School Without Really Learning (1997)

Paul Peterson, Saving Schools: From Horace Mann to virtual Learning (2010)

Jerald Podair.  The Strike that Changed New York: Blacks, Whites, and the Ocean-Hill Brownsville Crisis (2002)


Daniel Perlstein.  Justice, Justice: School Politics and the Eclipse of Liberalism (2004)

Required Articles

Articles to be read for this course can be found in six different folders on Blackboard under Course Documents. Each folder is associated with a different class meeting and has been programmed to appear two weeks prior to the date on which the articles in the folder are to be read. Please consult the Class Schedule to identify the folder for a particular class meeting. The articles to be read will be found inside.