In this book Peterson interprets the history of American schools by placing major educational reformers in the context of their times and relates their thinking to our own era by scrutinizing the often unanticipated consequences of their commitments and ideas. These extraordinary individuals provided the critical ideas and articulated the ideals that motivated many others to search for ways to save the schools from the limitations in which they were embedded: Horace Mann, John Dewey, Martin Luther King, Al Shanker, William Bennett, and James S. Coleman. The drive to centralize was pervasive despite repeatedly expressed reform desire to customize education. Peterson argues that education has become an increasingly labor intensive industry that must reverse direction and become more capital intensive or it will descend in quality. Fortunately, technological change is making it possible radically alter the way in which education services are delivered, providing a new chance to save our schools.