This blog will try to understand conservatism, traditionalism, and ”fundamentalism” in American education.
It will not attempt to attack or promote these ideas.
But we will try to make sense of some widely shared ideas that don’t make sense to us. For instance, why do some conservatives get so worked up about
- sex ed?
- prayer in schools?
- teachers unions?
- how can intelligent people believe that the universe is only 6,000 years old?
- How can they want to keep their children from learning about other cultures?
I don’t share these ideas. But for a living [see my work website here] I research and write about the history of conservative activism in culture, politics, and education. In these blog posts, I’ll try to trace the reasons for traditionalist, conservative, “fundamentalist” beliefs about education. I’ll start by tackling the most obvious issues, such as the following:
- Traditionalist pedagogy
- Teaching sex and sexuality
- Child, parent, & state
- The Bible and school prayer
- Vouchers and privatization
There are plenty of other places to read defenses or attacks on conservative school activism. Conservatives such as the folks at Exodus Ministry or Answers in Genesis push fundamentalist policies. Skeptics such as Richard Dawkins or Bill Nye “The Science Guy” attack creationism without really trying to understand it. Education scholars like Michael Apple or Ira Shor analyze conservatism, but only in order to discredit conservative policy.
In contrast, this blog will try to understand conservative education policies from the inside out.