The Education Trap: Schools and the Remaking of Inequality in Boston

WED, JUN 23, 2021 (59:39)

Although more people are earning degrees, the gap between rich and poor in America is widening. Historian Cristina Groeger delves into the history of this seeming contradiction, explaining how education came to be seen as a panacea even as it paved the way for deepening inequality.

Groeger returns to the Gilded Age in Boston, a city that spent heavily on public schools. She examines how workplaces came to depend on an army of white-collar staff, largely women and second-generation immigrants, trained in secondary schools, and the negative consequences for many workers.

The Repairing America Initiative is the Boston Public Library’s pledge to focus its 2021 programming and services on bridging the gaps that divide America. By prioritizing economic recovery, civic engagement, COVID-19 recovery, racial equity, workforce development, and youth engagement, the BPL is working to help Americans rise above the challenges they face.

+ BIO: Hillary Moss

Drawing on social, cultural, intellectual, and political history, I teach about the African American experience from the slave trade to the present. I offer courses in Black Studies, African American history, Urban History, and Education. Students in my seminar “Slavery and the American Imagination” explore historical and literary depictions of the “peculiar institution” to uncover connections between America’s racial past and its racial present.

+ BIO: Cristina Groeger

Cristina Viviana Groeger is a historian of education and work in the modern United States.

She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Lake Forest College. She studies the historical construction of work, schools, and labor markets, and how these institutions have created a society with one of the highest levels of social inequality across the Global North. She is the author of, “The Education Trap”

Boston Public Library
Repairing America