In the Front Door: Creating a College-Bound Culture of Learning

Book Info

  • Length: 224 pages
  • Trim size: 6" x 9"
  • Rights: World

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  • ISBN: 978-1-61205-104-8
  • Publish date: November 2012
  • List Price: $30.95
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  • ISBN: 978-1-61205-221-2
  • Publish date: May 2012
  • List Price: $146.00
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  • ISBN: 978-1-61205-103-1
  • Publish date: May 2012
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Gordon C. Chang, Makeba Jones, and Season S. Mussey


This book provides a critical analysis of the origins, nature, development, and transformation of the state and society historically and today, examining the class nature and social basis of politics and the state in different societal settings. The book emphasizes the centrality of class relations in explaining political power and the role of the state in class-divided societies by providing powerful theoretical and empirical analyses of themes in political sociology in an era of globalization. It examines in detail the major political issues and events of our time, and makes them relevant to the study of power and politics today.

Students from many ethnic minority backgrounds and low-income families are underrepresented in American colleges and universities. This book describes and assesses educational policies and practices that seek to rectify this important manifestation of structured inequality. Inspired by a commitment to providing a pathway to college and beyond, Mehan and his team document the innovate practices developed and implemented at the nationally recognized schools created by The Center for Research in Educational Equity, Access, and Teaching Excellence (CREATE) at the University of California–San Diego: the Preuss School, a 6–12 charter school on the UCSD campus for underrepresented minority students; and nearby schools located in economically depressed neighborhoods. Based on long-term research, Mehan’s book makes important contributions to the literature on educational achievement disparities that exist—and are growing—within the United States. He sheds light on how we can improve public policy for the futures of secondary school students.

Author Info

Hugh Mehan is Professor Emeritus of Sociology and founding director of The Center for Research on Educational Equity, Access, and Teaching Excellence (CREATE) at UC–San Diego. He is a member of the National Academy of Education, and is the author of six books. In 2008 he was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the AERA.


"In The Front Door" is a must read. Few American scholars have done as much as Bud Mehan, the lead author, to build real schools that work for low-income children. This book tells the story of how he and an imaginative team of educators created two ground-breaking charters, Preuss and Gompers, and restructured Lincoln High School in San Diego. Preuss has been near the top of my annual list of the most challenging high schools for many years, even though 100 percent of its students are low-income. How did that happen? Mehan and his co-authors explain the forces they harnessed, and how their work could be duplicated around the country.
—Jay Matthews, The Washington Post


Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: The Context of the Study

Chapter 3: Pushing Back Against the Power-Preserving Tendencies of Bureaucracies

Chapter 4: Trying to Bend the Bars of the Iron Cage: The Possibilities and Limitations of Charter Schools as Models for Successful School Reform

Chapter 5: Changes in Students’ Aspirations and Conduct: The Role of Institutional Arrangements

Chapter 6: Conclusions: Contributions to a Theory of Educational Inequality, Social Policy, and Educational Equality

Appendix 1: Theoretical Orientation

Appendix 2: Contributions to a Theory of Social Policy


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