Disrespecting childhood

Although Americans see ours as a child-loving nation, the authors present evidence of policies and practices that are not respectful of children or childhood. They call on us to question the assumptions about our young people that form the basis for our teaching, research, and policies.

What I discovered in Spain was a culture that held children to be its meringues and eclairs. My own culture . . . tended to regard children as a sort of toxic waste.1

In the popular imagination, Americans are a child-loving people. Across the land, selfless parents take classes, read books, create playgroups, and exchange the latest information about how to ensure safe, contented, and productive childhoods. Thousands of contemporary American families indulge their children materially to a degree that may be unparalleled in the world and in our own history. As a society, we have enacted a range of laws designed to protect children from physical and psychological abuse and economic and sexual exploitation. We have legions of pediatricians specially trained to attend to the physical and mental well-being of our children. Even the presence of metal detectors at the entrances of our schools can be taken as emblematic of our collective desire to protect the nation’s children.

The range of public programs and policies benefiting children, directly or indirectly, offers further evidence of the high regard Americans have for their children. Tax credits for children and child care, child nutrition and health-care programs, preschool programs like Head Start, and billions of dollars spent each year to support elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education all demonstrate the desire of federal, state, and local governments to look after the physical, emotional, and intellectual well-being of the young. The prominence we give to educational issues in local, state, and federal elections further supports the assertion that children are indeed a high priority for Americans.

More than 133,000 children are in juvenile or adult correctional facilities on any given day.

 While these commonly held beliefs communicate a consistent and shared regard for children, when we dig beneath the platitudes, we find a far messier and more complex set of assumptions, beliefs, and challenges to this inspiring image of the United States as a child-loving society. Writing over 20 years ago, Letty Pogrebin argued that “America is a nation fundamentally ambivalent about its children, often afraid of its children, and frequently punitive towards its children.”2 Pogrebin cited attacks on the cost of public education and child health and nutrition programs, along with an inclination to pathologize an entire period in children’s lives — that is, adolescence — to support her contention that the country was afflicted by what she called “an epidemic of pedophobia.”3

Novelist Barbara Kingsolver has observed that children have come to hold an increasingly negative position in the economy.4 Children are spoken of as a responsibility, a legal liability, and an encumbrance5 — or they are seen in terms of potential profits. Today’s children and adolescents, weaned on images of McDonald’s and toy companies, are targeted as a ripe segment of the market for building powerful brand loyalty for everything from video games to prescriptions for drugs to treat attention deficit disorders.6 And, if Pogrebin, writing in the early Reagan years, saw child-focused government programs under attack, then Kingsolver, writing 14 years later, had seen many of these same programs ravaged. Funding for virtually every program that benefits children in this country, Kingsolver writes — from “Sesame Street” to free school lunches — has been cut back in the past decade, in many cases cut to nothing.7 Indeed, programs that support children in the U.S. are, in Kingsolver’s words, the hands-down worst in the industrialized world.8

The Kingsolver quote that serves as epigraph to this article is disturbing. After all, it is a rare parent who does not put the needs of his or her children first, and Americans generally do care about their own children. But the evidence suggests that Americans are not consistent in caring for other people’s children, especially children from marginalized populations. Nearly one in six children in the

U.S. lives in poverty, a rate as much as two to three times higher than that in other industrialized nations.9 The data for children of color are even more distressing, as black (32%) and Hispanic (29%) children are far more likely than white children (14%) to live in poverty. And many of these same children attend deteriorating, underfunded schools.10 Here are some additional statistics from The State of America’s Children: more than 133,000 children are in juvenile or adult correctional facilities on any given day; children under 18 are increasingly incarcerated in adult facilities (more than 21,000 youths under 18 are being held in adult correctional facilities); in 2003, youth jobless rates for ages 1619 reached nearly 60%, as compared to the 6% unemployment rate for all ages; in 2002, nearly 9.3 million American children were not covered by health insurance; also in 2003, 2,911 children and teens were killed by gunfire; and in 2002, an estimated three million children in the U.S. were reported as suspected cases of child abuse or neglect.11 While these statistics arise from a complex set of social and economic circumstances, taken together, they challenge the image of American as a child-loving society.

Additional evidence of America’s antipathy toward its youths comes from a Public Agenda survey of the attitudes of adult Americans toward the next generation.12 Only 23% of the respondents had anything positive to say about children and adolescents, while just 37% of the adults surveyed thought that today’s children would grow up to make the world a better place; 61% believed that many young people were failing to learn such values as honesty, respect, and responsibility; and just 12% thought it was common for children and adolescents to treat people with respect. Writing in The Nation, Annette Fuentes observed that policies like zero tolerance really mean that “to be young is to be suspect,”13 and a 1995 U.S. Supreme Court ruling supports the notion that simply being an adolescent is reasonable cause for authorities to suspect drug abuse and demand urine samples.14 Massachusetts is one of a number of jurisdictions proposing widespread “voluntary” drug testing of high school students.15 This negative assessment of the nation’s youths undoubtedly lies behind the willingness of the American public to support a range of “get tough on kids” policies.

America’s ambivalence toward young people manifests itself in the suspicion and fear of adolescents. Although we see children largely as burdens of responsibility, we nonetheless romanticize younger children as pliable potential citizens in need of close adult guidance and care. Various public policies seek to preserve their perceived innocence. Indeed, some have argued that an overly myopic focus on children is an attempt to defer — and potentially avoid — “dealing with” the miscreant tendencies of adolescence.16

Children under 18 are increasingly incarcerated in adult facilities (more than 21,000 youths under 18 are being held in adult correctional facilities).

The nation’s low opinion of its youths is also apparent in the frequent media campaigns that link young people to a host of social “crises,” including youth violence, teen pregnancy, violent and sexually explicit movies and video games, offensive lyrics in popular music, drug and alcohol abuse, smoking, and suicide. Underlying the critiques of the American Decency Association and others who blame popular culture for many of the problems of adolescence are two sets of assumptions. First, young people are assumed to mediate their senses of self through the popular culture of music and films. (Arguably, anyone living in this Information Age engages in that kind of identity work, finding and creating images, sounds, and messages that resonate with a sense of self.) However, the association between young people and the texts of popular culture all but equates the two. This is a misuse and confusion of the terms and concepts of popular culture, youth subculture, and mass-mediated culture. In truth, the variety, breadth, and seemingly endless choices of mass-mediated texts are pervasive throughout the lives of citizens today.

The second assumption underlying the critiques of popular culture’s impact on youths is that young people are so impressionable and shallow that a movie scene, rock lyric, or T-shirt slogan will lead them to violence, promiscuity, or drug addiction. While it is not our purpose here to explore the hotly debated relationships between images, beliefs, and behaviors, we simply note that it is taken for granted that youths in general cannot discriminate, be critical, or add perspectives to these media-based practices. In fact, the disregard of young people has begun to affect even those youths who are largely considered to be fortunate, supported, and well loved: the middle class. As sociologist and journalist Elliott Currie argues, the very culture of middle-class materialism and individualism has all but ensured a context of disconnection and stripped-down communities for young people.17

Fear, suspicion, and resentment toward the nation’s young have led to the appearance of groups of child-free adults, such as No Kidding!, that challenge “family-friendly” public policies seen to (unfairly) favor people with children.18 Advocacy groups for childless adults seek the creation of child-free zones in such public spaces as restaurants, supermarkets, and health clubs.19 If it takes a village to raise a child, many villagers are abdicating their responsibilities. In the face of such examples, we would do well to reconsider our sense of ourselves as a child-loving people. Examining the policies, discourses, and practices that surround children and adolescents sheds light on our ambivalence toward them, at best, and a profound mistrust and disrespect of our youngest charges, at worst. As educators, we have the responsibility to care for and guide our nation’s young people, and so we must be prepared to challenge the policies that frame our work with them. Just as the kind of marketing directed toward adolescents tells us something about how certain economic sectors see them, so does the language of our education policies reveal our societal attitudes. Underlying education reform proposals are sets of assumptions about children and adolescents and about childhood and adolescence as stages of life. Underpinning child-centered and back-to-basics reforms, for example, are fundamentally different beliefs about how children learn and about the nature of childhood. Below, we examine some of the dominant themes underlying two strands of education reform — standards and accountability and safe schools — to see what we can learn about the nation’s respect for its young people and for childhood and adolescence as special times of life. Then we briefly discuss an alternative and, we believe, more respectful vision of school reform that seeks to engage students in the process.

Standards and accountability

Former New York Times education columnist Richard Rothstein distinguishes two meanings for standards-based reform:

Standards-based reform has two contradictory meanings. Some policy makers want minimum standards representing what all students must know for promotion or graduation. Others want high standards as goals toward which all students should strive but not all may achieve. Schools need both, but one standard cannot do both jobs.20

The first of these two strands of standards-based reform, which emphasizes high expectations for all students regardless of who they are or where they live, demonstrates respect for students by assuming that all children can (and should) learn. The second, as Rothstein observes, sets up high expectations by requiring that all students achieve the highest standards in all subjects. We argue below that this version of standards-based reform, which has come to dominate today’s landscape of reform, is not respectful of children or of childhood and adolescence.

In 2003, youth jobless rates for ages 16-19 reached nearly 60%, as compared to the 6% unemployment rate for all ages.

High stakes. Many education reformers assume that the failures of American education alleged in A Nation at Risk can be remedied only by high standards tied to sanctions. Presumably, because they lack the intrinsic motivation to excel in school, students can be motivated by the desire to avoid such sanctions as grade retention, the threat of failing courses, and the withholding of high school diplomas. But the desire to get tough on kids through high-stakes decisions is not supported by research. Neither grade retention nor course failure, for example, appears to be related to improved academic performance; grade retention does, however, increase the chances students will drop out of school.21 Increased dropout rates may also be one of the principal effects of linking high school diplomas to the results of high-stakes tests.22

Education reformers who demand that all students be held accountable to the highest standards often argue that they are motivated by faith in the ability of all children to learn challenging academic material. This logic sits uncomfortably beside the underlying assumption that extrinsic retribution is needed to motivate learning. Furthermore, the evidence indicates that high standards enforced through grade retention, failing grades, and high school exit exams are diminishing the life chances of significant numbers of students, especially poor and minority students, who are more likely to be retained or drop out of school.23

Intensification of schooling. Working from assumptions about needing extrinsic goals to motivate learners, the education reform of “getting tough on kids” has led to an intensification of schooling. Political platforms of more homework, longer school days, and longer school years imply that children need to be pushed to do more of what they’ve been asked to do in the past. Former Republican leader of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich asserted that “every child . . . should be require ed to do at least two hours of homework a night, or they’re being cheated for the rest of their lives.”24

School districts across the country have taken up this challenge as elementary and secondary students in the U.S. are doing more homework than ever.25 In some school districts, even kindergartners are doing up to 30 minutes of homework each night and working toward academic report cards.26 But using intensified homework as a means of increasing academic achievement, especially for elementary students, is unsupported by research.27 Nonetheless, for many children the increased homework demands, by extending the reach of schooling into children’s homes, have significantly reduced the time available for leisure and recreational opportunities.28

Schooling is also being intensified by cutting back on recess for elementary students, as up to 40% of the nation’s school districts have either curtailed or eliminated recess.29 A former superintendent of the Atlanta Public Schools defended the elimination of recess in his district by arguing that academic performance cannot be improved by having kids hanging on the monkey bars.30 Similar reasoning has been used to justify cutting such educational “frills” as art and music. Of course, recess, art, and music are far more likely to be cut in urban schools — populated disproportionately by children of color and children living in poverty — than in suburban schools, suggesting that, as a nation, we believe that art, music, and play time are more important for some children than for others.

In 2002, nearly 9.3 million American children were not covered by health insurance.

 Standardization. Enforcing standards through high-stakes testing demands standards that are specific, measurable, and uniform across jurisdictions.31 Arguably, such uniform standards lead to a focus on those aspects of learning that can most easily be standardized and, inevitably, create a one-size-fits-all curriculum in which students are processed like so many widgets. Put in raw material at one end, treat it all in exactly the same way, and there will emerge at the other end a predictable and standardized product.32

Relegating students to such a passive role — treating them as objects — reveals a fundamental lack of respect for children and adolescents as rational, thoughtful, varied, and interesting people.33 The expectation that standardized approaches to education can lead to “predictable and standardized” products assumes that, at some level, children (the raw material) are, essentially, all the same. This view of learning, which renders differences in students’ learning opportunities, abilities, development levels, background knowledge, and experience irrelevant and even problematic, respects neither children and adolescents nor the homes, neighborhoods, and cultures from which they come.

Focusing relentlessly on academic achievement, as determined by high-stakes tests,34 has turned many American classrooms into dreary workplaces where the basics are translated into worksheets while art, music, and recess games are seen as unnecessary distractions. High standards and high stakes are creating high-stress environments that leave little room for the playful and aesthetic pursuits of children — in or out of school. David Elkind’s words echo across the decades:

The concept of childhood, so vital to the traditional American way of life, is threatened with extinction in the society we have created. Today’s child has become the unwilling, unintended victim of overwhelming stress — the stress born of rapid, bewildering social change and constantly rising expectations.35

Safe schools

As a society, we love children — when they are under control. We hate children who defy us, children who are independent, quirky, free-thinking, nonconforming, idiosyncratic, precocious, or critical of adults.36

Despite evidence of a slight decline in violence in our schools,37 Americans continue to identify lack of discipline, fighting, violence, and substance abuse as serious problems in our schools.38 Certainly, official data on the decreasing incidence of violence in schools have not been as readily available to the public as media reports on school shootings, infighting among adolescent females, or violent plots in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Influenced by sensational reports in the media, most Americans would probably agree that the gravity of youth violence has increased dramatically in recent years.39 Conflicts that used to result in fist fights and end with bloody noses, black eyes, and the occasional chipped tooth are now said to result in the drawing of weapons and to end with life-threatening lacerations and occasional gunshot wounds.

Whatever the actual rate of violence in our schools, no one would dispute that all students are entitled to safe, secure learning environments. There is, however, strong disagreement over the means by which safe schools might be best achieved. Social scientists and professional educators tend to prefer approaches to safe schools that focus on improving the school climate through expanded curricular offerings, decreased school and class size, increased staffing, and teaching the skills of conflict resolution.40 Underlying these initiatives is an assumption that, given an environment that is respectful of their social, emotional, and intellectual needs, children and adolescents will be generally respectful of the needs of teachers and other students. From this perspective, respect begets respect.

Legislators, media pundits, and some segments of the public, on the other hand, are disposed to embrace politically expedient, get-tough-on-kids policies that play on the nation’s generally low opinion and fear of its youths. The surveillance cameras, random locker searches, drug testing, and zero tolerance policies that characterize safe school efforts in many states reinforce the impression of youths as “savage beasts,” a provocative phrase used by Lilia Bartolome in 1994 and a sentiment that is still common in contemporary circles.41 The phrase invokes the image of young people who require nearly constant surveillance and control and justifies denying students any right to privacy or due process.

In the absence of data on the efficacy of various get-tough-on-youth policies, it could easily be concluded that the desire to enact these policies is motivated by a general loathing of youths, especially minority youths. The degree to which such policies predominate in urban schools, which are disproportionately populated by students of color, signals a national fear of minority youths out of control. The desire to control children of color may also underlie the proliferation of heavily scripted learning programs that effectively control the bodies and minds of students in urban schools.42 Whatever the means, control is a quintessentially disrespectful act.

All children and adolescents are entitled to safe schools and challenging curricula. All too often, however, the impulse to create safe and challenging schools is underpinned by an antipathy toward children and adolescents that has resulted in policies and practices that are fundamentally disrespectful of American youths. While the effectiveness of these policies is debatable, they are rarely evaluated at all on the basis of their underlying regard for children and young people. Indeed, a recent book by two fellows at the conservative American Enterprise Institute ridicules school-based practices that attend to students’ emotional well-being because they have no demonstrable link to academic achievement43 — as if students’ psychological and emotional health are beyond the purview of schooling. Other conservative scholars have challenged the efficacy of health and dental care and hot lunch programs because they don’t affect measures of academic achievement.44 Examining the assumptions about our young people that pervade schooling is one way of taking an important step back to consider matters that are often drowned out by the cacophony of agendas, reforms, and platforms.

Including student voices: A demonstration of respect

I’m not adult enough to get a job and have my own apartment, but I’m adult enough to make decisions on my own, know right from wrong, have ideas about the world. That’s why it’s hard to be a teenager — it’s like a middle stage. . . . To a certain extent [teachers] have to have a personality that students respond to. But that doesn’t mean you have to be our best friend, because that will cause our education to suffer. I hate to admit it, but respect and authority are a part of the job. Kids expect adults to give us directions and boundaries, but it’s a balance.45

The debate about reforming schools to make them better places to prepare young people to participate fully in the life of the community has been raging at least since the 1996 Breaking Ranks report from the National Association of Secondary School Principals. In particular, there has been great attention given to redesigning high schools into places that will improve student learning. There have been two main approaches: a policy-oriented, managerial approach and a student-centered approach.46 The former advocates the alignment of standards, curriculum, and assessment. The latter advocates a cultural change in schools that creates an environment supportive of students’ academic and social/emotional development.

Though there is much conversation about improving the relationships between adults and students, neither approach has advocated for including students’ ideas as an essential element in a successful reform strategy. Many policy makers and school personnel believe that students lack the ability to be thoughtful about their own circumstances; therefore, little attention is paid to the knowledge and perspectives that students bring with them to the classroom. The students of What Kids Can Do, Inc. (WKCD) call the adults’ mistrust into question. Vance, quoted above, was a member of a project to listen to students’ thoughts about high school. Their work culminated in the book Fires in the Bathroom: Advice for Teachers from High School Students, from which Vance’s words are taken. As this work demonstrates, young people are quite articulate about their experience of schooling, and they could make meaningful contributions to conversations regarding the reform of school culture, school governance, curriculum, and pedagogy.

The inclusion of the student voice could provide insights that would help policy makers and school personnel understand students’ disengagement from school and how it leads to an increase in the dropout rate. It could provide adults with better insights into the various youth subcultures and young peoples’ varied responses to them. “Meaningful and sustained school reform has at its core the involvement and engagement of students. Student voice can be a powerful mechanism for building school morale, improving school climate, and creating demand for high quality instruction,” according to students in the Boston project Student Researchers for High School Renewal.47

Another WKCD project was the Students-as-Allies Initiative, which was designed to help students and teachers become allies in solving the problems arising in their school communities. In collaboration with the MetLife Foundation, WKCD selected five cities to participate in the project: Chicago, Houston, Oakland, Philadelphia, and St. Louis. WKCD identified local nonprofit organizations in each city to guide the process. The goals of the initiative were to support student voice, to strengthen the relationships between students and teachers in order to bolster school improvement efforts, to provide opportunities for students to serve as resources to their schools and communities, and to model relationship building. The nonprofit partners set the criteria for the development of teams made up of students and teachers to conduct research about their particular schools, to analyze the data, to engage in dialogue, to make recommendations for action, and, finally, to take action.48

One objective was to enlist students who were not usually recognized in their schools as leaders. In Houston, teachers wove the project into their writing classes so that all the students they taught could participate. In St. Louis, teachers recruited students in order to build a team that was representative of the many cliques in the school. In Oakland, students were enrolled in a special class designed to cultivate nontraditional leaders.

The participants decided that surveys would be the best tools for gathering information, and each team designed its own survey after looking at a common core of questions derived from a review of teacher and student surveys that had been conducted by MetLife. The focus was on “areas where knowing the thoughts of students and teachers would help students become actors in improving their schools.” The teams were taught principles of survey research and guided through an analysis of the data. They learned to present the data and to host dialogues in their schools and communities.

The final phase of the project is to engage students in making recommendations for solutions and in taking appropriate actions. Each of the partnerships is in the early stages of taking action. Detailed information about the initiative can be found on the website of What Kids Can Do, Inc. (www.whatkidscando.org/index.asp).

The work of this group of students demonstrates that many young people care deeply about their own education and are capable of contributing to the reform of high schools in ways that could make deep and long-lasting changes for themselves and their teachers. These examples are not intended to serve as simplistic recommendations of actions to be taken at all levels and in all contexts. Rather, we offer them as examples of the kinds of initiatives that can be entertained when children and adolescents are treated as thoughtful participants in the enterprise of American education and not as problems to be overcome — in short, if they are treated with respect.

When we look past the naive belief that we treat our children with undying care, we find a disconcerting mix of policies and practices that are not respectful of children or of childhood. Examining these platforms and actions is far from a simple matter. We must move beyond simple quantitative tally sheets of how much money is devoted to education and the care of our young. We must also ask what kind of institutional spaces are created for children, what we expect from them, and what we have assumed about them that may in fact restrict their abilities to thrive.

In reform after reform, the lens has not been widened enough to consider underlying assumptions about children. In the application of NCLB to students, younger and older, a consistent set of mistakes marks the policy territory: a fundamental lack of explicit, evidence-based knowledge and respect for students coupled with an overwhelming emphasis on control and singular measurements. We must learn to question what forms the basis for our teaching, research, and policy. And in reviewing our practices, necessarily a discursive and recursive process, we must also consider the ways in which we represent, understand, and listen to our children and young people.

How then do we begin the considerable work of truly valuing and respecting our nation’s young? Education is just one institutional site for the enactment, performance, and mediation of values, but it is a multifaceted one. Thus the efforts to reconfigure our beliefs and practices must affect the daily lives of students, teachers, researchers, and policy makers. All of these groups can take the same first step: examining the assumptions we hold about our young.


  1. Barbara Kingsolver, High Tide in Tucson: Essays from Now or Never (New York: HarperPerennial, 1996), 100.
  2. Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Family Politics: Love and Power on an Intimate Frontier (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1983), 42.
  3. Ibid., p. 46.
  4. Kingsolver, 102.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Alissa Quart, Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers (Cambridge, : Perseus, 2003).
  7. Kingsolver, 102.
  8. Kingsolver, 101.
  9. The State of America’s Children, 2004 (Washington, D.C.: Children’s Defense Fund, 2004), 3; and “Young Children in Poverty Fact Sheet,” National Center for Children in Poverty, 1999, available at www.nccp. org, click on Fact Sheets.
  10. Jonathan Kozol, Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools (New York: Crown, 1991).
  11. The State of America’s Children, 2004.
  12. Ann Duffet, Jean Johnson, and Steve Farkas, Kids These Days: What Americans Really Think About the Next Generation (Washington, D.C.: Public Agenda, 1999).
  13. Annette Fuentes, “The Crackdown on Kids,” The Nation, 15/22 June 1998, 20-22.
  14. Mike Males, The Scapegoat Generation: America’s War on Adolescents (Monroe, Me.: Common Courage Press, 1996).
  15. John Knight, “An F for School Drug Tests,” Boston Globe, 13 June 2005, p. 15.
  16. Allan Luke and Carmen Luke, “Adolescence Lost and Childhood Regained,” Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, July 2001, 91120.
  17. Elliott Curie, The Road to Whatever: Middle-Class Culture and the Crisis of Adolescence (New York: Henry Holt, 2005).
  18. Scott Lehigh, “No Kidding,” Boston Globe, 21 May 2000, E-1, E-5.
  19. Elinor Burkett, The Baby Boon: How Family-Friendly America Cheats the Childless (New York: Free Press, 2000).
  20. Richard Rothstein, “In Judging Schools, One Standard Doesn’t Fit All,” New York Times, 8 December 1999, A-20.
  21. See, for example, Eugene Johnson et al., “The Effects of Early Grade Retention on the Academic Achievement of Fourth-Grade Students,” Psychology in the Schools, October 1990, pp. 333-38; William A. Owings and Susan Magliaro, “Grade Retention: A History of Failure,” Educational Leadership, September 1998, pp. 86-88; Melissa Roderick, “Grade Retention and School Dropout: Investigating the Association,” American Educational Research Journal, Winter 1994, pp. 729-59; Melissa Roderick and Eric Camburn, “Risk and Recovery from Course Failure in the Early Years of High School,” American Educational Research Journal, Summer 1999, pp. 303-43; Lorrie A. Shepard and Mary L. Smith, “Synthesis of Research on Grade Retention,” Educational Leadership, May 1999, pp. 84-88; and C. Kenneth Tanner and F. Edward Combs, “Student Retention Policy: The Gap Between Research and Practice,” Journal of Research in Childhood Education, Fall/Winter 1993, pp. 69-77.
  22. Walt Haney, “The Myth of the Texas Miracle in Education,” Education Policy Analysis Archives, August 2000, available at http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v8n41.
  23. Ibid.
  24. Joel Spring, Political Agendas for Education: From the Christian Coalition to the Green Party (Mahwah, N.J.: Erlbaum, 1997), p. 16.
  25. Sandra Hofferth, “Healthy Environments, Healthy Children: Children in Families,” University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, ERIC ED 426779,
  26. Diane Loupe, “Value of Homework Comes Under Question,” Atlanta Constitution, 22 April 1999, 5JA.
  27. Harris Cooper, Homework (New York: Longman, 1989).
  28. Etta Kralovec and John Buell, The End of Homework: How Homework Disrupts Families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning (Boston, : Beacon Press, 2000).
  29. Donald B. Gratz, “High Standards for Whom?,” Phi Delta Kappan, May 2000, 681-87; and Anthony D. Pellegrini and Catherine M. Bohn, “The Role of Recess in Children’s Cognitive Performance and School Adjustment,” Educational Researcher, January/February 2005, pp. 13-19.
  30. Susan Ohanian, One Size Fits Few: The Folly of Educational Standards (Portsmouth, H.: Heinemann, 2000), pp. 13-14.
  31. Anne Lockwood, Standards: From Policy to Practice (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin, 2000).
  32. Frank Smith, The Book of Learning and Forgetting (New York: Teachers College Press, 1998).
  33. Alfie Kohn, The Schools Our Children Deserve: Moving Beyond Traditional Classrooms and “Tougher Standards” (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999).
  34. Marc S. Tucker and Judy B. Codding, Standards for Our Schools: How to Set Them, Measure Them, and Reach Them (San Francisco, : JosseyBass, 1998).
  35. David Elkind, The Hurried Child: Growing Up Too Fast, Too Soon, ed. (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1988), p. 3.
  36. Pogrebin, cit.
  37. Michael Heaney and Robert J. Michela, “Safe Schools: Hearing Past the Hype,” High School Magazine, May/June 1999, pp. 14-17.
  38. Lowell Rose and Alec M. Gallup, “The 37th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/ Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools,” Phi Delta Kappan, September 2005, p. 44. The figures for disruptive behaviors have fallen slightly since their peak around the turn of the century.
  39. Paul Kingery, Mark B. Coggeshall, and Aaron A. Alford, “Weapon Carrying by Youth: Risk Factors and Prevention,” Education and Urban Society, May 1999, pp. 309-33.
  40. James Fox and Jack Levin, “The Hard (but Doable) Job of Making Schools Safe,” Boston Globe, 22 August 1999, pp. F-1, F-3.
  41. Lilia Bartolome, “Beyond the Methods Fetish: Toward a Humanizing Pedagogy,” Harvard Educational Review, Summer 1994, pp. 173-94; and Nancy Lesko, Act Your Age! A Cultural Construction of Adolescence (New York: Routledge, 2001).
  42. Jonathan Kozol, “Confections of Apartheid: A Stick-and-Carrot Pedagogy for the Children of Our Inner-City Poor,” Phi Delta Kappan, December 2005, 264-75.
  43. Christina Hoff Sommers and Sally Satel, One Nation Under Therapy: How the Helping Culture Is Eroding Self-Reliance (New York: Martin’s Press, 2005).
  44. Gary Adams and Siegfried Engelmann, Research on Direct Instruction: 25 Years Beyond DISTAR (Seattle: Educational Achievement Systems, 1996).
  45. Kathleen Cushman, Fires in the Bathroom: Advice for Teachers from High School Students (New York: New Press, 2003).
  46. Lynn Olson, “Report Points Out Lack of Clarity for High School Reforms,” Education Week, 19 May
  47. School Climate in Boston’s High Schools: What Students Say (Boston, : Boston Plan for Excellence, 2004).
  48. Students as Allies, Breaking Ranks: Changing an American Institution (Reston, V: National Association of Secondary School Principals, 1996).
CURT DUDLEY-MARLING is a professor of education at the Lynch School of Education, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass.,
JANICE JACKSON is an assistant professor at the Lynch School of Education, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
LISA PATEL STEVENS is an assistant professor at the Lynch School of Education, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass

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WP_User Object ( [data] => stdClass Object ( [ID] => 730 [user_login] => cdudleymarling [user_pass] => $P$BeLLwRMZgrMTwywuCKaAcMYTigGxsl0 [user_nicename] => cdudleymarling [user_email] => cdudleymarling@fake.fake [user_url] => [user_registered] => 2019-03-22 15:31:52 [user_activation_key] => [user_status] => 0 [display_name] => Curt Dudley-Marling [type] => wpuser ) [ID] => 730 [caps] => Array ( [author] => 1 ) [cap_key] => wp_capabilities [roles] => Array ( [0] => author ) [allcaps] => Array ( [upload_files] => 1 [edit_posts] => 1 [edit_published_posts] => 1 [publish_posts] => 1 [read] => 1 [level_2] => 1 [level_1] => 1 [level_0] => 1 [delete_posts] => 1 [delete_published_posts] => 1 [author] => 1 ) [filter] => ) WP_User Object ( [data] => stdClass Object ( [ID] => 731 [user_login] => jjackson [user_pass] => $P$Bbj5QX.WO25f2.Aw6NVMWeaLx/u3ed/ [user_nicename] => jjackson [user_email] => jjackson@fake.fake [user_url] => [user_registered] => 2019-03-22 15:34:17 [user_activation_key] => [user_status] => 0 [display_name] => Janice Jackson [type] => wpuser ) [ID] => 731 [caps] => Array ( [author] => 1 ) [cap_key] => wp_capabilities [roles] => Array ( [0] => author ) [allcaps] => Array ( [upload_files] => 1 [edit_posts] => 1 [edit_published_posts] => 1 [publish_posts] => 1 [read] => 1 [level_2] => 1 [level_1] => 1 [level_0] => 1 [delete_posts] => 1 [delete_published_posts] => 1 [author] => 1 ) [filter] => ) WP_User Object ( [data] => stdClass Object ( [ID] => 732 [user_login] => lpstevens [user_pass] => $P$BIqiVTUC364neh4t8xwlki0iZ0NyLa0 [user_nicename] => lpstevens [user_email] => lpstevens@fake.fake [user_url] => [user_registered] => 2019-03-22 15:36:38 [user_activation_key] => [user_status] => 0 [display_name] => Lisa Patel Stevens [type] => wpuser ) [ID] => 732 [caps] => Array ( [author] => 1 ) [cap_key] => wp_capabilities [roles] => Array ( [0] => author ) [allcaps] => Array ( [upload_files] => 1 [edit_posts] => 1 [edit_published_posts] => 1 [publish_posts] => 1 [read] => 1 [level_2] => 1 [level_1] => 1 [level_0] => 1 [delete_posts] => 1 [delete_published_posts] => 1 [author] => 1 ) [filter] => ) 730 | 730


Students speak up 

Childhood, then and now 

Kappan authors on children and youth