Education and the Cold War: The Battle for the American School

Paperback | December 15, 2011

byAndrew Hartman

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Shortly after the Russians launched Sputnik in 1957, Hannah Arendt quipped that “only in America could a crisis in education actually become a factor in politics.”  The Cold War battle for the American school – dramatized but not initiated by Sputnik – proved Arendt correct. The schools served as a battleground in the ideological conflicts of the 1950s.  Beginning with the genealogy of progressive education, and ending with the formation of New Left and New Right thought, Education and the Cold War offers a fresh perspective on the postwar transformation in U.S. political culture by way of an examination of the educational history of that era.

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Shortly after the Russians launched Sputnik in 1957, Hannah Arendt quipped that “only in America could a crisis in education actually become a factor in politics.”  The Cold War battle for the American school – dramatized but not initiated by Sputnik – proved Arendt correct. The schools served as a battleground in the ideological confl...

Andrew Hartman is Assistant Professor of History at Illinois State University and the author of numerous published articles in journals such as Race and Class, Third World Quarterly, Poverty and Race, Socialism and Democracy, Teachers College Record, and Zmagazine. He is a former public school teacher.

other books by Andrew Hartman

Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 8.9 × 5.9 × 0.7 inPublished:December 15, 2011Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230338976

ISBN - 13:9780230338975

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: An American Crisis
2. John Dewey and the Invention of Childhood: Progressive Education in the Beginning
3. Education as Great Depression Experience: The Unraveling of the Popular Front and the Roots of Educational Vigilantism
4. From Hot War to Cold War for Schools and Teenagers: The Life Adjustment Movement and the Ideology of Maturity
5. Communist Teacher Problematic: Liberal Anticommunism and the Education of Bella Dodd
6. Progressive Education is Red-ucation: Conservative Thought and Cold War Educational Vigilantism
7. Crisis of the Mind: The Liberal Intellectuals and the Schools
8. From World-Mindedness to Cold War-Mindedness: The Lost Educational Utopia of Theodore Brameld
9. Desegregation and its Discontents: The Perplexities of the Cold War Blackboard Jungle
10. Growing Up Absurd in the Cold War: Sputnik and the Polarized Sixties
11. Conclusion: The Educational Reproduction of the Cold War

Editorial Reviews

“Hartman depicts Cold War educational debates both as inheritors of longer precedents and as politically distinct to the era. He convincingly depicts this story as a political struggle for control of American schools, a conflict that he says radical and working-class constituents lost. At the same time, because this book is primarily an intellectual history, Hartman justifiably eschews tempting claims about what American schools, still largely decentralized, were actually doing. His stimulating exploration of the political and intellectual debates about American education thus invites new social histories that examine how teachers, students, and parents experienced and negotiated national Cold War imperatives in local schools. Hartman's book cautions us not to underestimate its power and permanence in American education.”-- Sevan G. Terzian, American Historical Review “A particular strength of this book is Hartman’s examination of progressive education and the intellectual abuse by conservatives. For readers wishing to examine the crisis in education as America moved into the Cold War, this well-organized synthesis provides an excellent point of departure.”--Ronald Lora, University of Toledo, OH“The work offers a rich blend of documentary evidence and philosophical reflection.”--Samuel Day Fassbinder“In contemporary American culture, ‘the conservative 1950s’ have become something of a cliché. Hartman's smart book gives new historical substance to the term, showing us how--and why--our schools turned Right during the Cold War. Even better, he makes us question whether the schools ever really turned back. The ‘conservative 1950s’ might still be with us, in more ways than we are willing to admit.”--Jonathan Zimmerman, Professor of Education and History, New York University“Anyone who wants to fully understand the failure of American schools to prepare free citizens capable of vigorous participation in a democratic society will find here a complex but accessible map.  Andrew Hartman is a wise and sensible guide through the thickets of historical flow, economic structure, political condition and cultural context.  An encounter with Education and the Cold War is fortification for the important struggles ahead.”--William Ayers, University of Illinois at Chicago; Author of Teaching Toward Freedom"Hartman's study makes a significant contribution to the political, intellectual, and educational developments associated with the rise and fall of progressive education. It will appeal to a wide variety  of readers, including upper-level undergraduates, graduate students, and scholars of education."--Scott Henderson, History of Education Quarterly"He does well to remind educators of the baleful consequences of failing to explore the deeper metaphysical grounds and broader political implications of their pedagogy." --Francis G. Couvares, Modern Intellectual History