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.

The Social Studies Wars: What Should We Teach the Children? (New York: Teachers College, 2004)

The history of social studies is a story of dramatic turf wars among competing political camps. In this volume, Ronald W. Evans describes and interprets this history and the continuing battles over the purposes, content, methods, and theoretical foundations of the social studies curriculum. This fascinating volume:

* Provides balanced, in-depth coverage of the entire history of social studies education in the modern era, from the late 19th century to the present—the first book of its kind.
* Analyzes the underlying historical, societal, and cultural contexts in which the social studies curriculum has evolved over time.
* Addresses the failure of social studies to reach its potential for dynamic teaching due to a lack of consensus in the field.
* Links the ever-changing rhetoric and policy decisions to their influence on classroom practice.
* Informs all participants of both current and future negotiations, helping to clarify the meaning, direction, and purposes of social studies instruction in schools.

“Evans’ book is a fascinating tour of the competing forces that have shaped social studies curriculum in the United States. It offers one important reminder after another that what schools teach about the nature of society has always been a contested terrain. —Bill Bigelow, co-editor, Rethinking Globalization:Teaching for Justice in an Unjust World

“This history is told through the eyes of an issues-centered educator. It is MUST READING for all social studies educators.” —Anna S. Ochoa-Becker, Professor Emeritus, School of Education, Indiana University

“An engaging, timely, and important historical account. Evans’ book is perceptive and compelling, and should be essential reading for anyone interested in the history of social education.” —Wilson J. Warren, Western Michigan University

“Until now, social studies education lacked a satisfying, comprehensive curricular history… Highly recommended.” —E. Wayne Ross, University of British Columbia