“This is the perfect book for both undergraduate and 'graduate' students of education and curriculum studies (yes, graduate students!). In fact, it is one of the best books I have read detailing the four main `ideologies' of curricula, namely, the Essentialist, the Social Efficiency, the Progressive, and the Social Reconstruction models of curriculum.
The back of the book contains the following quotation: "A clear, unbiased, and rigorous description of the major curriculum philosophies that have influenced educators and schooling over the last century..." It is all of this, and more!
(1) It is written to appeal to theorists (academics) and practitioners. Although it is a thorough and in-depth study of the ideologies, it is devoid of dense, academic jargon; the idiom is clear, direct, and accessible (all technical terminology is thoroughly explained). E.g., students and practitioners having difficulty with the convoluted writings of contemporary scholars of curriculum, will find this book a welcome change!
(2) It adopts a `historicist' approach to the presentation of its subject-matter, which means that the author defines and analyzes the various `ideologies' in light of their contextual emergence and importance. This book is not simply presenting `facts' for memorization; the positions `live,' as it were, as historical realities!
(3) It provides the rigorous foundational knowledge needed in order for students to truly grasp the writings of contemporary philosophers of education and curriculum studies, e.g., when juxtaposing these `ideologies' a student sees more clearly `why' it is that proponents of the `scholar academic ideology' are opposed to the `child-centered ideology.' This allows the student to situate the views of Adler and Dewey within a legitimate historical context, which emerge as a product of a particular ideological world-view, of which education and curriculum are inextricably a part.
If you're a curriculum planner, evaluator, advocate, developer, or burgeoning theorist, you must have this book! “