Publication Date: April 27, 2009
In this provocative volume, the authors argue that public education is a central part of American civil religion and, thus, gives us an unquestioning faith in the capacity of education to solve all of our social, economic, and political problems. The book traces the development of America’s faith in public education from before the Civil War up to the present, exploring recent educational developments such as the No Child Left Behind Act. The authors discuss how this faith in education often makes it difficult for Americans to think realistically about the capacities and limitations of public schooling.
Bringing together history, politics, religion, sociology, and educational theory, this in-depth examination:
Carl L. Bankston III is professor and chair in the Department of Sociology and co-director of the Asian Studies Program at Tulane University. Stephen J. Caldas is professor of education in the Department of Foundations, Leadership, and Policy Studies at Hofstra University.
“An extraordinarily sensible interpretation… I could not agree with them more.”
—Christine H. Rossell, Professor of Political Science, Boston University