Cover image for Encyclopedia of American education
Encyclopedia of American education
Publication Information:
New York : Facts on File, c1996.



Physical Description:
3 v. (xii, 1235 p.) : ill. ; 25 cm.


Material Type
Shelf Number
Item Notes
Reference book LB17.U54 1996 V.1 1 .GEN_NOTE. $175.00 for three volumes.
Reference book LB17.U54 1996 V.2 1 .GEN_NOTE. $175.00 for three volumes.
Reference book LB17.U54 1996 V.3 1 .GEN_NOTE. $175.00 for three volumes.

On Order



The first historical encyclopedia of education to appear in the United States in more than twenty-five years, the Encyclopedia of American Education covers the entire span of American education from the colonial period to the present.

This three-volume, 2,000-entry set provides a wealth of information on virtually every aspect of education, from the evolution of school curriculum, education funding, church-state controversies, and Supreme Court decisions to the latest debates on multiculturalism, prayer in school, and sex education.

Entries include:
-- Education and reform movements, such as the open classroom and Head Start
-- Legal issues, from student rights to busing and desegregation
-- Theories of education

Entries include:
-- Types of schools and degrees
-- Important educators and benefactors, such as John Dewey and Andrew Carnegie.

Reviews 5

Booklist Review

In 900 alphabetically arranged entries, this title aims to be "a presentation of the social settings in which science and technology have emerged, been developed, and put to use." It is not a technical encyclopedia, per se, but the entries can contain some technical information. It includes articles on a wide range of topics, such as the origin and chemistry of cheese, the historical development of software, and the rise and fall of drive-in movies. The entry on gunpowder "explodes" the myth of its Chinese origins. The focus is on science and technology successes, but there are notable failures as well. For example, polywater was a new form of water "discovered" by a Soviet scientist in 1961; after much international scrutiny, its properties were shown to be caused by contaminants. Examples of other entries include airbags, arches and vaults, Bhopal, bubonic plague, cholesterol, eyeglasses, nylon, quark, resource depletion, space probe, and wheel. Entries were written by more than 90 contributors, almost all of whom have academic affiliations. Most entries are at least a page; a number (e.g., cloning, DNA) are more than three pages. Both U.S. customary and metric units are used for measurements. See also references and, in some cases, suggestions for further reading are listed at each entry's end. Occasionally, these citations are older. For example, the suggested reading at the end of the AIDS article is from 1989. There is a 13-page bibliography in volume 3. The index that concludes each volume is cumulative but refers only to page numbers, not volumes. In the crowded field of science encyclopedias, this title is less technical than McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology [RBB S 15 97] or Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia [RBB My 1 95], but its focus on society and science will give it a niche in public libraries or with freshmen or sophomore undergraduates, particularly nonscience majors.

Choice Review

Focusing on the societal context and impact of advances in science and technology, this is the first encyclopedia of broad scope to merge technical detail with "historical, cultural, economic and sociological aspects" of each topic. Numerous guides/handbooks for STS provide more research guidance but do not give comprehensive coverage (e.g., Handbook of Science and Technology Studies, ed. by Sheila Jasanoff et al., CH, Apr'95). Volti's encyclopedia will provide a useful initial reference for general readers and will sensitize students to the broader effects and the philosophical and political underpinnings of science and technology. About 900 entries, ranging in length from 500 words to two or three double-column entries, are written by the editor, others by contributors including many major STS scholars. The paucity of bibliographies for further study seriously limits the encyclopedia's value; most entries have none, others are limited to a single source. Such references as exist are collected in the bibliography in volume 3, but that idiosyncratic list ignores many major STS interdisciplinary studies. Besides inventions, products, processes, etc., concepts such as "normal accidents" and "spinoffs" are well covered, as is the dark side of science and technology, reflected in accidents and disasters (oil spills, the Challenger accident, and nuclear power accidents). Some major events that have shaped public views of science and technology are strangely absent (Love Canal; sustaining life by technical means--the Karen Ann Quinlan case). Popular culture seems overlooked. There is no entry related to science fiction or to amusement venues as promoters or implementers of new technologies--amusement parks or EPCOT--and while roller skates are included, roller coasters are not. Cheese appears but not hot dogs, frozen food but not fast food. Reprinting the entire index in each volume is very useful, especially for cross-references. The encyclopedia offers limited factual information and sets a basic interdisciplinary context for science and technology issues, but it is better suited for public libraries and secondary education than for colleges. It does not substitute for issue- or discipline-specific encyclopedias that cover such STS topics as the environment, business, and medical ethics. J. A. Adams-Volpe; SUNY at Buffalo

Booklist Review

With each revision of this encyclopedia, which first appeared in 1996, the changes, fads, politics, debates, and realities of educational practice are updated, while the basic history of American education since colonial times is kept intact in clearly written, accessible entries.  Controversial issues of past and present are succinctly and factually described. The breadth of entries, which cover events, projects, educational plans, curriculum approaches, court cases, educational jargon, and selected individuals, makes this an exceptional reference for those reading educational literature or needing definitions of words used in the news media. One can find the meaning of Ceiling budgets, Dream schools, Matthew effect, Petty school, and Talking typewriter as well as descriptions of the U.S. Secretary of Education's job, the activities of influential colleges of education, and the impact of poverty on education. About the only missing topic from the detailed index is school violence though juvenile delinquency is there. The lengthy bibliography is grouped into 41 general subjects with subheadings. Among the  appendixes are a chronology from 1607 to 2001, a list with brief descriptions of significant federal legislation from 1787 to 2006, and a list of significant U.S. Supreme Court decisions on education. The introductory essay is a good overview of the history and substance of the varied aspects of education in the U.S. The close to 1,400 libraries that hold earlier editions will want to add this to their holdings because one-quarter of the entries have been revised and almost 100 new entries deal with technology in teaching. Recommended for academic and public libraries.--Scarth, Linda Loos Copyright 2007 Booklist

Choice Review

Designed as an easy-to-use reference for the entire educational community, especially students of education, the third edition of this encyclopedia covers numerous broad areas of education, including administration, federal and state legislation, court decisions, finance, pedagogy, special education, vocational education, history, school reform, and classroom technology, among others. The encyclopedia examines complex issues that American educators face, ranging from illegal immigrants and ethnic and racial educational achievement gaps to intelligent design, digital libraries, national testing, and financial aid. To keep pace with educational changes, this work has added almost 100 new articles regarding technology, special education, e-textbooks, interactive whiteboards, and various electronic teaching tools. In the process of updating thousands of statistics, Unger (independent scholar) and contributors revised over 750 articles, including information on the history, trends, and quality of education in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The introduction, a new addition to the table of contents, gives readers a strong sense of the history of education in the US and identifies specific sections throughout the volumes with a unique font. Although the information in this set is accurate, concise, and timely, users will find that the placement of the bibliography, references, and appendixes in the last volume makes it difficult to use this material for further research. Summing Up: Recommended. Academic and general collections; all levels. M. L. Melita SUNY College at Cortland

Library Journal Review

The author of this comprehensive encyclopedia, a former professor of English and journalism, has written five books on education, and his column appears regularly in the weekly journal Education. His three-volume set contains over 2000 alphabetically arranged entries covering all aspects of education past and present, including educational movements, biographical information on prominent educators, health issues such as AIDS and sex education, legal issues, publications, organizations, schools, programs, and tests. The final volume includes an extensive bibliography divided into 41 major subject areas, while the four appendixes offer a wealth of information, including a chronology of major dates in the history of education from 1607 to 1994, federal education legislation from 1787 to 1993, and significant U.S. Supreme Court decisions in education. Nothing currently available has the scope of this excellent encyclopedia. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.‘Barbara S. Meagher, Central Connecticut State Univ., New Britain (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Would a man have walked on the moon if the British had not escaped at Dunkirk during WWII? How did an elaborate meal for Charles II lead to the invention of the steam engine? The Facts On File Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Society provides the answers to these and many more fascinating questions, revealing how economics, society, and culture produce scientific and technological advances. This three-volume set explores specific sciences and technologies and focuses on the historical and social dimensions behind each. More than 900 entries depict the interaction between experimentation, change, and community. From canned food to compact discs, paper clips to penicillin, this resource reveals how scientific and technological advances depend more on societal needs and priorities than on the internal forces of the scientist, creator, or discoverer. Each of the more than 900 extensively detailed entries connect a scientific or technological subject with its social causes and consequences. Coverage identifies how scientific and technological changes have modified our lives and emphasizes how outcomes have been both positive and negative, and sometimes even unexpected. Enhanced by 150 photographs and illustrations, diagrams, and a bibliography, coverage also details contemporary issues and controversies and what roles these have had in scientific growth. Among the areas covered are agriculture, biology, communications, construction, electricity, electronics, energy, food, governance, instruments, materials, mechanics, medicine, military, photography, production and commerce, public works, radio and television, scientific principles, space exploration, and transportation. Specific topics covered include air conditioning, amniocentesis, anabolic steroids, area code, atomic bomb, ballooning, ballpoint pen, barbed wire, battery, cable television, clocks and watches, cloning, compact disc, contact lens, cotton gin, cyclotron, deforestation, electron microscope, elevator, flush toilet, freeze drying, frozen food, fusion energy, gene splicing, microwave oven, nylon, paper, paper clip, periodic table, radar, robotics, roller skates, safety bicycle, smart bomb, soap, space shuttle, spray paint, standard time, stirrup, subway, supercollider, supersonic transport, teflon, telephone, typewriter, ultrasound, vaccination, velcro, vending machine, wheelbarrow, widescreen movies, wind tunnel, word processing, X-rays, zipper. Excerpted from The Facts on File Encyclopedia of Science, Technology and Society by Rudi Volti All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.
Praise for the previous edition:Choice Outstanding Academic Title"As the only comprehensive reference on U.S. education, this work is essential for academic libraries and for public libraries seeking to provide thorough coverage of education.--Library Journal, starred review"Overall, this volume is first-rate...highly recommended for all education collections and as a gateway source in all types of libraries.--American Reference Books Annual"…a worthwhile purchase...[for] general and academic collections, all levels."--ChoiceThe only comprehensive reference to the development and present state of American education, Encyclopedia of American Education, Third Edition contains more than 2,000 entries spanning the colonial period to the present. This authoritative three-volume reference provides a wealth of up-to-date information on virtually every aspect of education, from the evolution of school curriculum, education funding, and church-state controversies to the latest debates on multiculturalism, prayer in school, and sex education. Author Harlow G. Unger, one of the country's foremost education experts, has substantially updated existing entries and added more than 40 new entries. Appendixes include significant federal legislation, important U.S. Supreme Court decisions, and lists of undergraduate majors and graduate school programs. More than 10 new photographs have been added to this edition, and more than half a dozen experts in education served as editorial consultants for this encyclopedia. Key updates include: A new introduction providing an overview of the history of American education Current information on education in each state New statistics and other education figures Entries on new legislation and government actions Coverage of the latest controversies and trends in education. New and revised entries include: Academic quality at state universities Campus security Charitable giving College graduation rates Concurrent enrollment Creation science Crime on campus Dropout rates vs. graduation rates Early college Educational outcomes at U.S. colleges Federal intrusion into education For-profit education High school reform movement Intelligent design Interactive whiteboards Islam National Assessment of Educational Progress results The No Child Left Behind law and its effects On-campus military recruitment Online libraries Private foundations Race in college admissions State-by-state academic comparisons State-by-state high school graduation rates Work readiness World Digital Library. Coverage includes: Academic standards Bilingual education Charter schools Classroom and library technology Distance learning Educational gender gap Federal and state education laws Home schooling National and state testing School choice and vouchers U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Excerpted from Encyclopedia of American Education by Harlow G. Unger All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.