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As a nation we have perennially conceived of our schools as “in crisis” since the first compulsory school laws in Massachusetts, continuing through Emancipation, immigration in the late 19th century, Sputnik, and, now, standardized testing and Common Core. Our view of education seems always to be, in part, a projection of our current fears onto the rising generation we are charged to educate. What is this history, how has it led to the schools we now have, where is education in the United States headed, and what can we do about those aspects with which we’re unhappy?

Stephen Keith Sagarin, Ph.D., is Associate Professor and former Director of the M.S.Ed. Program in Waldorf Teacher Education at Sunbridge Institute, NY. He is also Executive Director, co-founder, and teacher at the Berkshire Waldorf High School, MA. Dr. Sagarin is the former Editor of the Research Bulletin of the Research Institute for Waldorf Education.He has taught history of education at Teachers College, NY; human development at the City University of New York; and U.S. and world history at Berkshire Community College. He is the author of “The Story of Waldorf Education in the United States: Past, Present, and Future” and has written dozens of articles. His blog “What is Education?” may be found at ssagarin.blogspot.com.