Cartoons on the Politics of Schooling

For this month, I have gathered a bunch of cartoons that get at the fact that schools are political institutions. They are wholly dependent upon taxpayers and voters for resources to operate schools. Thus, parents, lobbyists, civic and business leaders, the courts, media, and community groups push, shove, and caress school board members, district administrators and faculties to cut costs while maintaining academic excellence, and embracing the changes they seek. Furthermore, because schools are political, shifts in government, social, and economic changes inexorably spill over to classroom. Enjoy!















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13 responses to “Cartoons on the Politics of Schooling

  1. An old cartoon of an impossible dream. Politics are inherent in public education.

    • From the American School Board Journal, circa 1900 (I have the exact date on file somewhere).

    • larrycuban

      Thanks so much, Thomas, for sending along that cartoon. Had I remembered it, I surely would have included it. David Tyack’s One Best System elaborated on the nature of partisan politics in schools in the late-19th and early 20th centuries. He had also included cartoons similar to the one that you sent along.

  2. I was just re-reading parts of “The One Best System” yesterday. There are one or two other cartoons with related themes from that era in my files. If I quick search locates them, I will share those also.

  3. Pingback: Funny on Sunday: Politics of Schooling | From experience to meaning...

  4. haydenvick


    These are interesting and I think they encompass plenty of concerns over educational policy. I am a student at UNC Chapel Hill and am actually in a class called “The Politics of Reading.” We have discussed several of the issues mentioned in these cartoons, but the one that is probably the most troubling for me is how many educational policymakers have never been teachers themselves. It is ridiculous to think that someone who has never taught in a classroom knows what’s best for teachers. Thanks for these pertinent cartoons!


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