Friday 56 & Book Beginnings: The Curiosity of School

The story of school begins in antiquity, when there was enough information in the world that someone was needed to copy it down.
- p. 1 (ARC, page may change)
Binet acknowledged he hadn't questioned the foundation of what he was doing, and was simply following "the idea, impressed upon me by the studies of so many other scientists, that intellectual superiority is tied to superiority of cerebral volume." 
- p. 56 (ARC, page may change)

Big brain = smarter? I've just started this book and I am discovering some really interesting things about the roots of education, some interesting, some downright sinister.

I won this book on Goodreads First Reads and am really enjoying it so far! I have a feeling that my teacher friends would really benefit from this, it's so well-researched and engaging!

So, what are you reading / got in your TBR / got in the mail? Would love to check out your post! Happy Friday!

Synopsis of The Curiosity of School by Zander Sherman: It’s one thing we all have in common. We’ve all been to school. But as Zander Sherman shows in this fascinating, often shocking account of institutionalized education, sending your kids off to school was not always normal. In fact, school is a very recent invention. 
Taking the reader back to 19th-century Prussia, where generals, worried about soldiers’ troubling individuality, sought a way to standardize every young man of military age, through to the most controversial debates about the topic of education today, Sherman tells the often astonishing stories of the men and women—and corporations—that have defined what we have come to think of as both the privilege and the responsibility of being educated. 
With clarity, detachment, and wry humour, Sherman presents the story of school through the stories of its most influential—and peculiar—reformers. We learn that Montessori schools were embraced by Mussolini's Italy, that the founder of Ryerson University was a champion of the Canadian residential school system (for which the government apologized a century and a half later), and that Harvard was once a byword for mediocrity.
Along the way, we discover that the SAT was invented as an intelligence test designed to allow the state to sterilize “imbeciles” and in its current state is perhaps equally pernicious, that suicide in the wake of disappointing results in the state university placement exams is the fifth leading cause of death in China, and that commercialized higher education seduces students into debt as cynically as credit card companies do. 
Provocative, entertaining—and even educational—The Curiosity of School lays bare the forces that shape the institution that shapes all of us.


  1. This does sound like a good one! Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

  2. Interesting book! I always knew there was something wrong with schools. Wish this book was published when I was in school. I would show it to my parents the truth about schools and find a great excuse for not going to school;)

  3. I didn't know you could win books on Goodreads. Shows you what I know! lol Interesting subject. Enjoy the weekend!


© guiltless readingMaira Gall