We are living through the time when public education as we have known it in America will be forever transformed unless concerted action is undertaken to reverse the trends described in this book. If nothing is done to stop these trends there will be no going back. The great American dream for a common school which would serve all the children of all the people under the umbrella of fostering the common good will vanish forever.
These were the schools in which I was educated and my mother and father worked as public school teachers. They were the schools my own children and grandchildren enjoyed. Our grand children may be the last generation to experience the fruits of Horace Mann’s hard fought legacy when he said toward the end of his struggle for public education, “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity” (Messerli, 1971, p. 549.) It is Mann’s admonition that has prompted this book as my NCPEA Living Legend Award speech for 2013.
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