The Failed Century of the Child: Governing America's Young in the Twentieth Century

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Cambridge University Press, 2003 M11 3 - 374 pages
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Between 1900 and 2000 an unprecedented American effort to use state regulation to guarantee health, opportunity, and security to the country's children failed to reach its goals. The achievements envisioned were enormously ambitious and reflected entrenched but self-contradictory values and Americans' inconsistent expectations of government. As such, a "failed" century deserves a mixture of rebuke and cautious admiration.

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I am Carol Grant, the 12 year old student who severely injured her back in. Gymnastics class almost fifty years ago. Judith Selanders description of what occurred that day at Lake Oswego Junior high school are completely false and are apparently based on an unreliable source. Fact checking would have revealed a different account of how the accident occurred. An Appellate Court ruled in my favor and found Ms Toni Burke, the gymnastics teacher, to be negligent.
I was not an irresponsible child who disobeyed orders. I know, I was there.

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I am Carol Grant, the student in Toni Burke's PE class at Lake Oswego Junior High School who allegedly disobeyed Ms. Burke's "explicit" instructions to "tip the springboard onto its side" and who jumped from the springboard into the cinderblock doorway. I did not break "two bones in (my) face," rather, I suffered a broken back and concussion. After having a mistrial declared because an attorney (for the school district) threatened a witness outside the courtroom, and subsequently appealing (and overturning) the decision, I received a settlement that barely covered my first years' college tuition. Now, forty-five years later, and because of chronic pain I experience in my 3rd and 4th thoracic vertebrae, I am frequently brought back to the sequence of events leading to a determination of negligence on Ms. Burke's part.
Judith Selander's account of what transpired that day is inaccurate and biased. I should know. I was there.

Selected pages


Juvenile Justice From Child Saving to Public Accountability
The Pontius Pilate Routine Government Responses to Child Abuse
Illusory Promises State Aid to Poor Children
Inducting into Adulthood State Reactions to the Labor of Children and Adolescents
Laying Down Principles in the Dark The Consequences of Compulsory Secondary Education
The Return of the Infant School TwentiethCentury Preschool Education
Public Education of Disabled Children Rewriting One of the Saddest Chapters
Shaped Up by the State Government Attempts to Improve Childrens Diets Exercise Regimes and Physical Fitness
Mandatory Medicine TwentiethCentury Childhood Immunization
Two Cheers for a Failed Century

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