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Hardcover | Out of Print | December 1973 | ISBN: 9780262180641
Paperback | $34.00 X | £24.95 | December 1977 | ISBN: 9780262680301
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The Urban School

A Factory for Failure


“"Listen to R. Buckminster Fuller describe the American education system: It's a kind of greenhouse where the gardener starts with beautiful little plants in full bloom and then systematically plucks off the leaves and flowers, leaving at the end of 12 or 13 years only the bare twigs of humanity."The Urban School: A Factory for Failure is a modern Gothic horror tale that describes in vivid detail how the stripping off process works in a big city elementary school. Ray C. Rist weaves a grim tale of an entrenched urban system conspiring unwittingly with its professional staff to reinforce a caste system in America. He does it by tracing the progress of a single class of black youngsters in St. Louis from the first day of kindergarten through the third grade—day by day, step by step, demonstrating how the politicized interaction of teachers and principal and how the insensitivity of the teachers melt into a common purpose: to sort winners from losers. From the first day of kindergarten, the kids are seated according to economic status. A.D.C. youngsters are—albeit unconsciously—labeled losers. Middle-class children (offspring of parents not yet having abandoned the ghetto for the suburbs) are seated at the front of the room."It moves from there. The overarching goal is a quiet, passive child; the methodology is control-oriented behavior (five times more prevalent with the losers than with the winners). A-track kids (Tigers) studiously pursue arithmetic assignments; C-trackers (Clowns) cut and paste paper flowers—the rich get richer and the poor get you know what. 'The inequality in American education,' says Rist, 'is accounted for, not so much by differences between schools, but by how the same schools treat different children.'" American School Board Journal