Wednesday, Jun 23, 2021 6:00p -
Boston Public Library (Online)
700 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02116
History, Lectures & Conferences, Social Good, Virtual & Streaming
The Boston Public Library welcomes Cristina Viviana Groeger, author of The Education Trap: Schools and the Remaking of Inequality in Boston, for an online talk in conversation with Hilary Moss, professor of History and Black Studies at Amherst College. This program, presented in partnership with the GBH Forum Network, is part of the BPL's Repairing America Series.
This program will happen over Zoom webinar. People who are interested in attending are kindly asked to register at the following GBH Forum Network page: https://wgbh.zoom.us/webinar/register/3116214586090/WN_PPNo3EduTCu_TDAYFzYslQ
About The Education Trap
For generations, Americans have looked to education as the solution to economic disadvantage. Yet, although more people are earning degrees, the gap between rich and poor is widening. Cristina Groeger delves into the history of this seeming contradiction, explaining how education came to be seen as a panacea even as it paved the way for deepening inequality.
The Education Trap returns to the first decades of the twentieth century, when Americans were grappling with the unprecedented inequities of the Gilded Age. Groeger’s test case is the city of Boston, which spent heavily on public schools. She examines how workplaces came to depend on an army of white-collar staff, largely women and second-generation immigrants, trained in secondary schools. But Groeger finds that the shift to more educated labor had negative consequences—both intended and unintended—for many workers. Employers supported training in schools in order to undermine the influence of craft unions, and so shift workplace power toward management. And advanced educational credentials became a means of controlling access to high-paying professional and business jobs, concentrating power and wealth. Formal education thus became a central force in maintaining inequality.
The idea that more education should be the primary means of reducing inequality may be appealing to politicians and voters, but Groeger warns that it may be a dangerous policy trap. If we want a more equitable society, we should not just prescribe more time in the classroom, but fight for justice in the workplace.
“Groeger challenges America’s central myth that education can substantially counteract social and economic inequality. This subtle, finely grained analysis of Boston schools and economic development from the Gilded Age to World War II offers a provocative rereading of social class, technological innovation, and racial and gender differentiation in the nation’s public and private classrooms.”―Leon Fink, author of The Long Gilded Age: American Capitalism and the Lessons of a New World Order
To order The Education Trap from Harvard Book Store, please visit this link to their website: https://www.harvard.com/book/the_education_trap/
. Harvard Book Store is a locally owned, independently run Cambridge landmark since 1932. This bookstore is known for an extraordinary selection of new, used, and remaindered books; an award-winning author event series; and a history of innovation—including print-on-demand services, local partnerships, and digital media.
Cristina Groeger is an Assistant Professor of History at Lake Forest College. Her primary research interests are the historical construction of work, education, and labor markets in the modern United States. Her first book, The Education Trap: Schools and the Remaking of Inequality in Boston, was published with Harvard University press in Spring 2021. Her research has been funded by the National Academy of Education / Spencer Foundation, and published in the History of Education Quarterly, The Journal of Urban History, and The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. Before beginning graduate school, she was a high school history teacher in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She grew up in Boston, and completed her A.B. in Social Studies (2008) and PhD in History (2017) at Harvard University.
Hilary Moss is professor of History and Black Studies, and soon to be Education Studies, at Amherst College. Presently, she is also a fellow at the Stout Centre for New Zealand Studies at Victoria University. As an historian of education and the African American experience, her research explores how communities have allocated educational opportunity in its many forms. At Amherst College, she teaches courses on African American history and foundational courses in Education Studies. She is especially proud of her efforts to help create a program in Education Studies at Amherst, which will begin Fall 2021. In 2022, she will be the incoming Vice President/President for the History of Education Society (HES). Hilary is the author of Schooling Citizens: The African American Struggle for Education in Antebellum America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), which received the Outstanding Book Award from the History of Education Society in 2010. She has also published essays in the History of Education Quarterly, the Journal of Urban History, and New England Quarterly, among others. While Schooling Citizens traced the origins of segregation in American education, her current research explores the re-segregation of public schools, particularly through the adoption of policies like choice and zoning. Her next book, "There Goes the Neighborhood School: A Comparative and Transnational History of Zoning and Choice in late 20th century New Zealand and the United States," explores how ideas about the neighborhood school evolved during two experiments with public school choice and de-zoning that unfolded during the late twentieth century — one in Cambridge, Massachusetts and the other in New Zealand.
The Repairing America Initiative is the Boston Public Library's pledge to focus its 2021 programming and services on bridging the gaps that divide America. By prioritizing economic recovery, civic engagement, COVID-19 recovery, racial equity, workforce development, and youth engagement, the BPL is working to help Americans rise above the challenges they face.