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.

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Constructivism and the New Social Studies: A Collection of Classic Inquiry Lessons (Charlotte, NC: Information Age, 2018)

Geoffrey Scheurman and Ronald Evans, Editors

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The New Social Studies refers to a flurry of academic and commercial activity during the 1960s and 1970s that resulted in the mass development and dissemination of revolutionary classroom materials and teacher resources. In science as well as social studies, a spirit of “inquiry-based teaching” filled the air during this time, resulting in the development of curricula that were both pedagogically innovative and intellectually rigorous. Constructivism and the New Social Studies contains a collection of classic lessons from some of the most successful projects of the era, providing a resource of exceptional ideas and materials that have stood the test of time.

These revealing artifacts are presented with commentaries from some of the original directors of major projects, including Edwin Fenton, Barry Beyer, and Suzanne Helburn. In addition to American and World History, groundbreaking lessons are represented in Economics, Government, Sociology, and Geography, including the Public Issues Series (Fred Newmann), The Amherst History Project (Richard Brown and Geoffrey Scheurman) and Teaching American History: The Quest for Relevancy (Allan Kownslar, Gerald Ponder, and Geneva Gay), and Man: A Course of Study (Peter Dow). With a Foreword by Jerome Bruner, the volume not only provides a resource of exceptional curriculum ideas and actual materials, it also builds a lucid bridge between the theoretical ideas of constructivism and the pedagogical principles of inquiry learning.