Molding the Good Citizen: The Politics of High School History Texts

Hardcover | March 1, 1995

byRobert Lerner

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A series of culture wars are being fought in America today; Lerner, Nagai, and Rothman contend that one key battleground is the nation's high school history texts. The authors argue that today's textbook controversies, as exemplified in the proposed National Standards for the Study of United States and World History, reflect changes in American public philosophy and the education profession. Conventional wisdom among students of the curriculum is that the major threat to freedom in the schools comes from the religious right. While this may have been true at one time, Lerner, Nagai, and Rothman assert that the major thrust today involves the imposition on schools of the ideology of particular groups that seek to use education as a mechanism for changing society. The authors document the growing influence of these groups, and their supporters among educators, in two ways. First, they present an extensive quantitative content analysis of leading high school history texts over the past 40 years, demonstrating in detail the feminist and "multicultural" perspectives that have come to dominate them. Second, they provide a historical analysis of how this outlook and the willingness to impose it became part of educators' conventional wisdom, tracing current policies back to the influence of the Progressive education movement led by John Dewey. This controversial book will be of exceptional interest to the general public as well as to researchers and students of education, public policy, and American intellectual history.

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From the Publisher

A series of culture wars are being fought in America today; Lerner, Nagai, and Rothman contend that one key battleground is the nation's high school history texts. The authors argue that today's textbook controversies, as exemplified in the proposed National Standards for the Study of United States and World History, reflect changes in...

Format:HardcoverDimensions:200 pages, 9.41 × 7.24 × 0.98 inPublished:March 1, 1995Publisher:Praeger Publishers

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0275949192

ISBN - 13:9780275949198

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"Through painstaking research and statistical analysis, the authors demonstrate that history textbooks have maintained a negative view of corporate capitalism and the 'robber barons, ' while bowing to feminism and left-wing black politics by overstating the importance of [some] historical figures....We are fortunate to have Molding the Good Citizen to point out the problems [with these texts]."-National Review