2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College Columbia University

TC Media Center from the Office of External Affairs

Section Navigation

Larry Cuban Explores 'Good Schools' in the Sachs Lectures - Annual Report 2001

Larry Cuban, Professor Emeritus of Education at Stanford University, who teaches methods of teaching social studies, the history of school reform, and instruction and leadership, was the 2001 Sachs Lecturer. Cuban, Visiting Professor in Educational Leadership, focused on the question of "Why is it so hard to get good schools?" in his lecture series.

The first lecture, "Why Have American Schools Become an Arm of the Economy?" dealt with why the business community-twice in this past century-has created one version of a good school that basically undermines all the different kinds of good schools.

Cuban argued in his second Sachs lecture, "that reducing the notion of a 'good' school and 'good' teaching to an age-graded school with a uniform curriculum, one brand of instruction, and one kind of testing-the current official ideology-undermines public education in a democracy."

What really matters in public schools, said Cuban in his third and last lecture of the semester, is "not the promise of success but doing something that is worthwhile." He called for "restoring the centrality of civic engagement to American public schools and reducing social inequities."

"Current efforts at state litigation to secure more funding for schools enrolling low-income minority children," said Cuban, "expanding federal housing vouchers to let poor families relocate to suburbs, and providing adequately-paying jobs for the working poor are only a few out-of-school initiatives that need broader political support."

"The long-term evidence of a positive linkage between desegregation and academic achievement, between decreasing poverty and test scores can no longer be ignored by school reformers," he added emphatically.

Prior to becoming a faculty member at Stanford, Cuban spent 14 years teaching high school social studies in urban schools, directing a teacher education program that prepared returning Peace Corps volunteers to teach in inner-city schools and serving seven years as a district superintendent. Trained as a historian, he received his B.A. degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1955 and his M.A. from Cleveland's Case-Western Reserve University three years later.

previous page