James W. Guthrie, ed. Encyclopedia of Education. New York: Macmillan Press, 2002. 4,000 pp. $850.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-02-865594-9.
Reviewed by Jennings L. L. Wagoner (University of Virginia)
Published on H-Education (August, 2003)
The purpose of the new Encyclopedia of Education is to "provide a comprehensive description of the enterprise of education, both within the United States and throughout the world" (vol. 1, p. vii). Like the 1971 edition, the second edition offers a view of the most significant institutions, people, processes, roles, and philosophies associated with educational thought and practice. Editor James Guthrie (Peabody College, Vanderbilt University) and a seven-member editorial board, while keeping in focus the importance of broad historical coverage, took on the challenge of addressing the societal and institutional changes that have both influenced and been influenced by educational development over the past three decades. Reflecting both the need for this updated edition and a recognition of the magnitude of the educational enterprise in modern societies, Guthrie notes in the preface, "the United States now spends more money annually on education than it spends on any other publicly subsidized practical activity, except health care. Not even national defense spending exceeds the $3 billion per operating day the nation appropriates to support its schools and colleges" (vol. 1, p. vii).
Education truly became "big business" over the course of the twentieth century, and especially since World War II. This second edition of the Encyclopedia of Education, premiering at the dawn of the twenty-first century, is thus a much needed and welcome resource providing authoritative essays on topics ranging from the early beginnings of education in the United States to contemporary international educational developments to the No Child Left Behind Act signed into law by President George W. Bush in January, 2002.
Nearly 1,000 scholars, representing a variety of specializations and organizations in education and related fields of study, provided essays for this new edition. All but three articles--biographies of John Dewey by Jonas Soltis, Edward L. Thorndike by Geraldine Joncich Clifford, and William James by Jacques Barzun--were newly commissioned. The 8 volumes contain 850 articles, arranged alphabetically, that range in length from 500 to 5,000 words. Entries include 121 biographies of influential educators; profiles of historic colleges and universities; discussions of educational policies, judicial decisions, and legislation; and descriptions of organizations active in the field.
Volume 8 in particular marks a substantial departure from past efforts. This volume consists of five appendices, a thematic topical outline that regroups all entry terms into logical categories, and the index for volumes 1 through 7. Appendix 1 is an annotated listing of assessment and achievement tests, complete with publishers' addresses. Appendix 2 is a state-by-state directory of Departments of Education. Appendix 3 features fifteen selected court cases (from the Kalamazoo case in 1874 to Bakke in 1978), thirteen notable federal acts pertaining to education (from the 1785 Land Ordinance to the No Child Left Behind Act) and a like number of international treaties, charters, and declarations (beginning with the 1945 charter of the United Nations). Appendix 4 is a four-page listing of topically arranged Internet resources. Appendix 5 is an all-too-brief three-page general bibliography of questionable value. Appendix 6 is a twenty-page conceptual "Outline of Contents." The final section of volume 8 is a 138-page comprehensive index of names, concepts, and terms that are designed to enable readers to locate topics throughout the encyclopedia. This index is invaluable in terms of referencing items that are not featured as separate entries in the list of articles that serves as the table of contents at the beginning of volume 1. Indeed, many researchers will find the index to be one of the most helpful and essential features of the set.
The Encyclopedia has several other features worthy of note. All articles have useful bibliographies featuring print resources and, in some instances, references to helpful websites. Articles also have a "see also" feature that cross references related topics included elsewhere in the Encyclopedia. In addition to the list of articles, that identifies topics (in alphabetical order) and the author(s) of each entry, volume 1 also provides a separate list of contributors, in alphabetical order, identified with their institutional affiliations. The articles themselves are authored by both established and emerging scholars in various educational fields, although, unlike the first edition, this new edition does not contain biographical briefs on the authors. Tables and charts accompany some essays, but there are no illustrations or photographs. The typeface is easily readable with two columns of print per page and subheadings in bold print. The hardcover volumes are attractive and physically durable. Macmillan Reference USA also offers the Encyclopedia of Education as an eBook. The eBook version is delivered through netLibrary at http://www.netLibrary.com/. Buyers can purchase the eBook version separately or in conjunction with the print copy.
A thirty-one year hiatus between editions has afforded the editors of the new edition an opportunity to make a significant contribution toward documenting the evolving field of education. Did they? In most respects, the answer is a definite "yes." Educational technology, for example, is interwoven in articles throughout the eight volumes as well as being the subject of nine specific articles. Articles on assessment, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, core knowledge curriculum, and gay and lesbian studies only begin the list of new entries and new fields covered in this second edition. While there are no separate topical entries on charter schools or voucher plans, these and many other "current" issues are treated as aspects of other related articles in the set--although, curiously, there is no mention in the index of tuition tax credits. The 1971 edition of the Encyclopedia contained a hundred articles describing educational systems in individual nations. Some of these nations have ceased to exist since the first edition was published and new ones have emerged. In consideration of massive global changes that have transpired in recent years as well as the current state of flux in international affairs, the second edition features descriptions and comparisons of global regions rather than country-by-country profiles. Articles on South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, for example, describe developments in many countries that in the previous edition were given separate treatment. Also, cross-cultural comparisons of educational systems are contained within selected articles scattered throughout the volumes. However, if readers are looking for country-specific information, they will need to supplement this publication with a source such as the World Education Encyclopedia (2002).
Biographical selections are somewhat uneven in treatment and puzzling in terms of the criteria for inclusion. While recognizing that this or any encyclopedia (which, by definition, must be broad in scope and coverage) cannot be expected to include everything or everyone of significance, one wonders why some educational leaders merit inclusion while others do not. Why, for example, are Johann Pestalozzi, Johann Amos Comenius, Johann Friedrich Herbart, and Jean Jacques Rousseau included while Friederich Froebel and John Locke are not? What rationale was used to determine the inclusion of Noah Webster but the exclusion of Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin? What accounts for an article on Scott Buchanan but no separate treatment of Stringfellow Barr or Mortimer Adler? And why did Alice Putnam make the cut while Catharine Beecher and M. Carey Thomas did not? Raising this concern should not suggest that these "omitted" educational leaders are entirely missing from this edition of the Encyclopedia of Education. Of the several examples cited here, all but M. Carey Thomas find mention in other essays in the volumes. However, the matter of selectivity of names, concepts, and terms illustrates again the extreme value of the index in volume 8 as a guide to research. This concern suggests as well the need to consult other, more specialized reference works such as the Historical Dictionary of American Education (1999), the Historical Dictionary of Women's Education in the United States (1998), or Philosophy of Education: An Encyclopedia (1996).
One of the more curious features of volume 8, which is otherwise full of helpful information logically arranged, is the bibliography that spans less than three pages. The intent was to list "classic works in the field," (vol. 1, p. xii) admittedly a significant and daunting undertaking. Divided into five sections ("Elementary and Secondary Education," "Postsecondary Education," "History and Biography," "Community and Social Context," and "Miscellaneous"), the seventy-three books listed seem less a collection of "classics" than an odd assortment of sources, old and new. The six books listed in the postsecondary section, for example, consist of only one work written before 1990, Robert Birnbaum's How Colleges Work: The Cybernetics of Academic Organization and Leadership (1988). There is no mention of undisputable classics such as John Henry Cardinal Newman's The Idea of a University (1927), Thorstein Veblen's The Higher Learning in America (1918) or Robert Hutchin's 1936 book by that same title. Clark Kerr's The Uses of the University, initially published in 1963 and now in its fifth edition (2001), is conspicuously absent as well. In the "History and Biography" listing, two books are cited by John Dewey (School and Society and Democracy and Education) while William Holmes McGuffey merits four citations and Horace Mann leads the pack with eight listings. Although Lawrence Cremin's three-volume set American Education is deservingly listed, his Bancroft Prize-winning The Transformation of the School: Progressivism in American Education is not. Fortunately, bibliographies accompanying individual entries on specific topics in the other seven volumes do contain references that compensate for some of these omissions. Those bibliographies, therefore, will serve a much more useful purpose than will this catch-all listing in volume 8.
An especially interesting series of sections, both in terms of defining education broadly and providing information, centers on the concept of youth. Volume 7 contains an essay by Harold Hodgkinson on "Youth Demographic Trends," followed by an entry on "Youth Development Programs" co-authored by Donna Van Alst and N. Andrew Peterson. Extending and updating a feature begun in the first edition, these entries are followed by nearly two dozen concise essays by a variety of authors on "Youth Organizations," ranging from Boy and Girl Scouts, to YMCA and YWCA, to the B'nai B'rith Youth Organization and the American Field Service. Cross references to other entries such as "Clubs," "Community Education," "Neighborhoods," "Urban Education," and "Youth Organizations" add both breadth and depth to this and similar conceptual realms featured in this new edition.
In spite of the inevitable questions about the criteria used to determine which items were included and which were omitted from these volumes, this second edition of the Encyclopedia of Education will prove to be an essential and extremely valuable resource for educators, parents, policy makers, students, and the general public. Libraries at universities offering programs in education would find the eBook version a welcome edition to their collection. The editors, authors, and publication staff at Macmillan can take pride in a job well done.
. James W. Guthrie, ed. Encyclopedia of Education, 2nd edition. $950.00 (eBook), ISBN 0-02-865882-5.
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Jennings L. L. Wagoner. Review of Guthrie, James W., ed., Encyclopedia of Education.
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