The subjects covered so far, following a historical progression, include Liberty and Literacy: The Jeffersonian Era; School as a Public Institution: The Common-School Era; Social Diversity and Differentiated Schooling: The Progressive Era; and Diversity and Equity: Schooling, Girls, and Women. It is all the sort of thing which is interesting once you get into it, though on the surface it seems an unbearable bore. (Rather like a jelly donut, come to think of it.)
School & Society is a dense and not altogether lively text, but there are some redeeming insights. Hopefully the verbosity is not viral; if my writing starts to seem like a wiffle ball in a north wind, someone please let me know.
I also checked off John Taylor Gatto's Dumbing Us Down, and found it engaging and on target. Gatto, though a teacher himself, gives no quarter to the institution and passionately decries the wreckage his profession has made of the human spirit. He quotes other social thinkers - from Aristotle to Wendell Berry - and presents a clear, if controversial, case for de-centralized, organic schooling.
"Whatever an education means, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist; it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges..." -Ch. 4, We Need Less School, Not More
Images courtesy of thejoyofshards.co.uk and skylarksings.com