In 2008, longtime journalist and U.S. News reporter David Whitman wrote a provocatively titled book, Sweating the Small Stuff: Inner-City Schools and the New Paternalism. His use of the word “paternalism” sparked a raucous debate among education reformers and reform critics about “No Excuses” schools like KIPP, Amistad Academy, and Cristo Rey. Were these schools to be celebrated for their prescriptiveness over matters of student behavior and character, or should they be criticized as racist, classist institutions, not unlike the old boarding schools for American Indian children? We talk with David about the book, the schools he profiled, and the still brewing debate about the meaning of the New Paternalism. Join us for today’s edition of The Education Next Book Club.

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Last updated June 15, 2011