Fear and Schooling: Understanding the Troubled History of Progressive Education (London: Routledge, 2020)

Fear&SchoolingBy exploring the tensions, impacts, and origins of major controversies relating to schooling and curricula since the early twentieth century, this insightful text illustrates how fear has played a key role in steering the development of progressive education in the United States.

Through rigorous historical investigation, Evans demonstrates how numerous public disputes over specific curricular content have been driven by broader societal hopes and fears. Illustrating how the population’s concerns have been historically projected onto American schooling, the text posits educational debate and controversy as a means by which we struggle over changing anxieties and competing visions of the future, and in doing so, limit influence of key progressive initiatives. Episodes examined include the Rugg textbook controversy, the 1950s “crisis” overs progressive education, the MACOS dispute, conservative restoration, culture war battles, and corporate school reform. In examining specific periods of intense controversy, and drawing on previously untapped archival sources, the author identifies patterns and discontinuities and explains the origins, development, and results of each case. Ultimately, this volume powerfully reveals the danger that fear-based controversies pose to hopes for democratic education.

This informative and insightful text will be of interest to graduate and postgraduate students, researchers, and academics in the fields of educational reform, history of education, curriculum studies and sociology of education.