Episode 2 – Graduation




Ahh… the sweet, sweet freedom that is high school graduation. Or at least for Paul it was. In this episode we try to figure out when and how 17 became the year teenagers could be let loose on the world. We look at the history of high school in America, including HBCU’s and Indian Schools, and explore some of the mixed messages that make American education history so interesting to talk about.

Pop Quiz Quote: “This is not an accurate description of the ordinary graduate of the American [high school] today. There are so many children who have been given the high-school diploma for serving time “four years” and accumulating “fifteen units” of credit with “passing marks” that high-school graduation has lost its significance.”

In this episode, blame Paul’s love for the movie Hot Fuzz for an incredibly obscure, barely detectable joke.


Dorn, S. (1996). Creating the Dropout: An Institutional and Social History of School Failure. Praeger Publishers, Westport, CT

Goldin, C. (1998). America’s graduation from high school: The evolution and spread of secondary schooling in the twentieth century. The Journal of Economic History, 58(02), 345-374.

The Carlisle Indian School, Wikipedia, accessed April 7, 2016.


Episode 1 – Compulsory Ed



In our first episode, we explore the history of compulsory education in America. We look at the first group of students who were compelled to learn particular things, the ideas and decrees that led to towns being compelled to build schools, and then the rapid rise of the “common” and then public schools. Please blame my accent or the glass of wine for the fact I can’t pronounce “compulsory” correctly.

Reference list:

The quote from the end is from Carl F. Kaestle in the book School: The Story of American Public Education:

In our society, that we provide common public schooling is inherently a compromise – We must therefore strive continually to find a creative balance between local and central direction, between diversity and standards, between liberty and equality.

The answer to the pop quiz is from the book, The Testing Wars by William Reese.