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The Dissenting Tradition in American Education [Paperback]

James C. Carper , Thomas C. Hunt
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

June 12, 2007 0820479209 978-0820479200
During the mid-nineteenth century, Americans created the functional equivalent of earlier state religious establishments. Supported by mandatory taxation, purportedly inclusive, and vested with messianic promise, public schooling, like the earlier established churches, was touted as a bulwark of the Republic and as an essential agent of moral and civic virtue. As was the case with dissenters from early American established churches, some citizens and religious minorities have dissented from the public school system, what historian Sidney Mead calls the country’s «established church.» They have objected to the «orthodoxy» of the public school, compulsory taxation, and attempts to abolish their schools or bring them into conformity with the state school paradigm. The Dissenting Tradition in American Education recounts episodes of Catholic and Protestant nonconformity since the inception of public education, including the creation of Catholic and Protestant schools, homeschooling, conflicts regarding regulation of nonconforming schools, and controversy about the propositions of knowledge and dispositions of belief and value sanctioned by the state school. Such dissent suggests that Americans consider disestablishing the public school and ponder means of education more suited to their confessional pluralism and commitments to freedom of conscience, parental liberty, and educational justice.

Editorial Reviews

Review

«James C. Carper and Thomas C. Hunt have long been the preeminent students of dissenting religious traditions in American education. This book is the culmination of decades of scholarship, and it is a monumental contribution to the field of educational history. Anyone interested in the relationship of religion and education will find here an illuminating, provocative, and carefully crafted work. It should be required reading for both historians and policy-makers.» (B. Edward McClellan, Indiana University)
«As informed people have known for some time, systematic public schooling was established in the mid-1800s, primarily because the Protestant majority, deeply concerned about rearing its young as committed Christians, thought that publicly run schools, supplemented by the efforts of churches, would serve that purpose well by remaining mainstream-Protestant (and therefore, in a predominantly Protestant nation, presumably neutral). Equally important, most Protestants assumed that public schools would foster good citizenship in virtually all the nation’s young, partly by counteracting a frightening influx of Catholics and crime-prone immigrants. In this compelling, utterly timely book, Carper and Hunt demonstrate that several leading Protestant thinkers recognized, surprisingly early, that the dream of the ‘neutral,’ basically Protestant public school was not only unfair to Catholics (since it deprived them of the equal right to educate their children, via tax support, in keeping with Catholic principles) but was doomed to backfire as the nation became increasingly diverse, even to the point of much militant secularism. Since every element of a school reflects overarching beliefs and values, agreeing to the public school contract guaranteed, ultimately, the religious mis-education of the descendants of every person of deep faith, with exceptions, often unofficial, where religious parents are very influential. Carper and Hunt demonstrate, with overwhelming evidence, that in every era since Protestants signed the public school contract, some major group has dissented openly and justly from the public school model. That dissent continues and intensifies. Its current forms include open refusal to include theistic interpretation of evidence on evolution in science classes, sex education that violates the deep convictions of many parents, and disciplinary policies that permit behavior many parents regard as morally corrupting, and a great deal more. If all citizens, and especially all people of religious conviction, would read this book, we’d get drastic educational rearrangements mighty soon.» (Donald Erickson, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Los Angeles)

From the Back Cover

"James C. Carper and Thomas C. Hunt have long been the preeminent students of dissenting religious traditions in American education. This book is the culmination of decades of scholarship, and it is a monumental contribution to the field of educational history. Anyone interested in the relationship of religion and education will find here an illuminating, provocative, and carefully crafted work. It should be required reading for both historians and policy-makers." B. Edward McClellan, Indiana University

"As informed people have known for some time, systematic public schooling was established in the mid-1800s, primarily because the Protestant majority, deeply concerned about rearing its young as committed Christians, thought that publicly run schools, supplemented by the efforts of churches, would serve that purpose well by remaining mainstream-Protestant (and therefore, in a predominantly Protestant nation, presumably neutral). Equally important, most Protestants assumed that public schools would foster good citizenship in virtually all the nation’s young, partly by counteracting a frightening influx of Catholics and crime-prone immigrants. In this compelling, utterly timely book, Carper and Hunt demonstrate that several leading Protestant thinkers recognized, surprisingly early, that the dream of the ‘neutral,’ basically Protestant public school was not only unfair to Catholics (since it deprived them of the equal right to educate their children, via tax support, in keeping with Catholic principles) but was doomed to backfire as the nation became increasingly diverse, even to the point of much militant secularism. Since every element of a school reflects overarching beliefs and values, agreeing to the public school contract guaranteed, ultimately, the religious mis-education of the descendants of every person of deep faith, with exceptions, often unofficial, where religious parents are very influential. Carper and Hunt demonstrate, with overwhelming evidence, that in every era since Protestants signed the public school contract, some major group has dissented openly and justly from the public school model. That dissent continues and intensifies. Its current forms include open refusal to include theistic interpretation of evidence on evolution in science classes, sex education that violates the deep convictions of many parents, and disciplinary policies that permit behavior many parents regard as morally corrupting, and a great deal more. If all citizens, and especially all people of religious conviction, would read this book, we’d get drastic educational rearrangements mighty soon." Donald Erickson, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Los Angeles


Product Details

  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Peter Lang International Academic Publishers (June 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0820479209
  • ISBN-13: 978-0820479200
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,436,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Government Institutionalized Education and Democracy January 3, 2008
Format:Paperback
The very institutions we charge with teaching democracy act as dictators. Parents are blamed by schools failures by their own pedogogy of mediocrity. Schools model the militant disciplinary institutions like prisons and asylums. The truth behind organized education like religion is there is only one school of thought and that is the one being taught. Ideas are only acceptable if they are the same ideas that are narrowed and focused as the one who supposedly knows. Education of humans is to include the relevance of self and where we fit in the picture of the world. The truth in goverenment education is to brain wash the public to believe that you don't know what to believe unless they tell you what to think and where you fit into society. Originality is not acceptable and you will be punished if you don't do as your told and fit in the one size fits all.
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