Cover of National Differences, Global Similarities by David Baker and Gerald LeTendre
National Differences, Global Similarities
World Culture and the Future of Schooling
David Baker and Gerald LeTendre


216 pages.

Paperback ISBN: 9780804750219


Excerpts and More

Using American schools as a reference point, this book provides a comprehensive, comparative description of schooling as a global institution. Each chapter develops a story about a particular global trend: continuing gender differences in achievement, new methods nations employ to govern their schools, the rapidly increasing use of private tutoring, school violence, the development of effective curriculums, and the everyday work of teachers, among other topics.

The authors draw on a four-year investigation conducted in forty-seven countries that examined many aspects of K-12 schooling, such as how schools are run, what teachers teach, and what students learn in mathematics and science. Baker and LeTendre present the results of the study in a non-technical and accessible fashion, outlining the implications of current trends for both education policy discussions and theoretical explorations of the role of education in society. Running throughout the book is a discussion of how world educational trends and the forces behind them will work to change and shape the possible directions education may take in the future.

About the authors

David Baker is Professor of Education and Sociology at Pennsylvania State University, and publishes widely on comparative education, the organization of schools, and sociology. Gerald LeTendre is Associate Professor of Education Policy Studies at Pennsylvania State University, and is the author of Learning to Be Adolescent.

"TIMSS represented a quantum leap over previous cross-national surveys of education achievement. The United States and other countries wanted to provide high-quality data that could be used to compare their education systems beyond the initial "horse-race" results. Baker and LeTendre's far-ranging analyses offer clear evidence that this goal was achieved."

—Laura Salganik, Director, Education Statistics Services Institute, American Institutes for Research

"National Differences, Global Similarities is filled with cogen insights, counter-intuitive findings, convincing policy recommendations, and lucid predictions....Maybe Baker's and LeTendre's greatest accomplishment will be inspiring readers to think more deeply about seemingly well understood education topics."--Teachers College Record

"In this collaboration with several colleagues, David Baker and Gerald LeTendre provide their readers with a lucid, thoughtful report and interpretation of several cross-national indicators....a major merit of this book is the many questions it raises, inviting exciting discussions in educational foundations classrooms."

"Reading this book is like cycling through Tuscany on tree-shaded lanes—the ride is smooth, the going is easy, and the eye is repeatedly pleased by both great vistas and striking close-up views."

Contemporary Sociology