Making a Mass Institution: Indianapolis and the American High School (New Directions in the History of Education) (Paperback)
Making a Mass Institution describes how Indianapolis, Indiana created a divided and unjust system of high schools over the course of the twentieth century, one that effectively sorted students geographically, economically, and racially. Like most U.S. cities, Indianapolis began its secondary system with a singular, decidedly academic high school, but ended the 1960s with multiple high schools with numerous paths to graduation. Some of the schools were academic, others vocational, and others still for what was eventually called “life adjustment.” This system mirrored the multiple forces of mass society that surrounded it, as it became more bureaucratic, more focused on identifying and organizing students based on perceived abilities, and more anxious about teaching conformity to middle-class values. By highlighting the experiences of the students themselves and the formation of a distinct, school-centered youth culture, Kyle P. Steele argues that high school, as it evolved into a mass institution, was never fully the domain of policy elites, school boards and administrators, or students, but a complicated and ever-changing contested meeting place of all three.
About the Author
KYLE P. STEELE is an assistant professor of educational leadership and policy at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh.
"The details in this valuable case study bring to life the story of discrimination on the basis of race and social class."
— Robert L. Hampel
"Well-written and meticulously researched, Making a Mass Institution impressively examines education in middle America and compels us to revisit the very raison d'être of the American high school."
— Jon N. Hale
"Steele, an assistant professor of educational leadership and policy, writes about how the city of Indianapolis created a divided and unjust system of high schools over the course of the 20th century, and one that effectively sorted students geographically, economically and racially."
— UW Oshkosh Today