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Demerath publishes book about the role of education in personal advancement in high school

Peter DemerathPeter Demerath, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development has just published a new book, Producing Success: The Culture of Personal Advancement in an American High School (University of Chicago Press, 2009).

Based on four years of research at a Midwestern public high school, the study takes a different approach to understanding the role of education in the perpetuation of social inequality in the United States: it focuses on the construction of advantage. The book examines the many ways in which the community's class cultural achievement ideology shapes educational practices, from students' self-conscious honing of their work ethics, to parents' manipulation of school policies, to the school's naming over forty students valedictorians. Yet Producing Success also describes the toll taken by such an unswerving commitment to individual advancement, including student stress and fatigue, incivility and vandalism, and the alienation of the less successful. Overall, it is an often troubling account of the educationally and morally questionable results of the American culture of success.

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