Molding the Good Citizen

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9780275951009: Molding the Good Citizen

A series of culture wars are being fought in America today; Lerner, Nagai, and Rothman contend that one key battleground is the nation's high school texts. The authors argue that today's textbook controversies, as exemplified in the proposed National Standards for the Study of United States and World History, reflect changes in American public philosophy and the education profession. Conventional wisdom among students of the curriculum is that the major threat to freedom of the schools comes from the religious right. While this may have been true at one time, Lerner, Nagai, and Rothman assert that the major thrust today involves the imposition on schools of the ideology of particular groups that seek to use education as a mechanism for changing society. They document the growing influence of these groups, and their supporters among educators, through an extensive quantitative content analysis of leading high school history texts over the past 40 years and a historical analysis of how this outlook and the willingness to impose it became part of educators' conventional wisdom.

The authors document the growing influence of these groups, and their supporters among educators, in two ways. First, they present an extensive quantitative content analysis of leading high school history texts over the past 40 years, demonstrating in detail the feminist and multicultural perspectives that have come to dominate them. Second, they provide a historical analysis of how this outlook and the willingness to impose it became part of educators' conventional wisdom, tracing current policies back to the influence of the Progressive education movement led by John Dewey. This controversial book will be of exceptional interest to the general public as well as to researchers and students of education, public policy, and American intellectual history.

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Book Description:

An examination of the culture wars being fought in and over America's history textbooks.

About the Author:

ROBERT LERNER is a Center Fellow at the Center for the Study of Social and Political Change at Smith College.

ALTHEA K. NAGAI is a Center Fellow at the Center for the Study of Social and Political Change at Smith College.

STANLEY ROTHMAN is Director of the Center for the Study of Social and Political Change at Smith College. Among their earlier collaborative works is Giving for Social Change: Foundations, Public Policy, and the American Political Agenda (Praeger, 1994).

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