Common Sense Schools: The Origins of American Public Education

It’s odd to see the statue still standing there outside the Massachusetts State House, blithely repeating the myth that Horace Mann was the “Father of the American Public School System.” It’s even stranger to see that myth reprinted by journalists and scholars who should know better. Historians such as Carl Kaestle, William J. Reese, Kabria … More Common Sense Schools: The Origins of American Public Education

Fundamentalism and Education in the Scopes Era: God, Darwin, and the Roots of America’s Culture Wars

Palgrave Macmillan, 2010 Among historians, the Scopes Trial of 1925 hogs all the attention.  In my first book, I wondered what else conservative evangelical Protestants wanted out of American education.  The answers I found surprised me.   This book was the result of my dissertation research at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, guided by educational historian … More Fundamentalism and Education in the Scopes Era: God, Darwin, and the Roots of America’s Culture Wars

Teaching Evolution in a Creation Nation

University of Chicago Press, 2016 What do we want out of America’s schoolchildren? . . . out of America’s creationists?  In Teaching Evolution in a Creation Nation, my co-author Harvey Siegel and I tackle these difficult questions head-on. Harvey and I review the historical and philosophical involved in America’s long culture-war battle over evolution and … More Teaching Evolution in a Creation Nation

The Other School Reformers: Conservative Activism in American Education

Harvard University Press, 2015 [UPDATE: More good news!  I just heard that this book has been awarded the History of Education Society’s Outstanding Book Award for 2015.  Wow!  I’m very grateful to HES and to the selection committee.] What have conservatives wanted out of America’s schools? What has it meant to be “conservative” about American … More The Other School Reformers: Conservative Activism in American Education

Fundamentalist U: Keeping the Faith in American Higher Education

Oxford University Press, 2018 If you want to run for President as a Republican these days, there seems to be a new requirement. In addition to shaking hands, kissing babies, and eating barbecue, every GOP hopeful since Reagan has added a stop at a conservative evangelical college. Why? What do these schools mean in the … More Fundamentalist U: Keeping the Faith in American Higher Education

Creationism USA: Bridging the Impasse on Teaching Evolution

Who are America’s creationists? What do they want? Why do they think Jesus rode around on a dinosaur? In my new book, I argue that common misconceptions about creationism have led us into a full century of hapless and unnecessary culture-war histrionics about evolution education and creationism. In fact, tough as it might be to … More Creationism USA: Bridging the Impasse on Teaching Evolution

Mr. Lancaster’s System: A Failed Reform and the Birth of American Public Schools, 1800-1840

The story begins about 200 years before Mark Zuckerberg went on Oprah with Cory Booker. You may remember Zuckerberg’s story, as told so powerfully in 2015 by Dale Russakoff in The Prize. Zuckerberg met Cory Booker at a conference in 2010. At the time, Booker was mayor of Newark, and the two of them hatched … More Mr. Lancaster’s System: A Failed Reform and the Birth of American Public Schools, 1800-1840

The Ink Is Dry!

Good news, sports fans: I’ve signed a publishing contract for my upcoming book.  I’m delighted to announce that Fundamentalist U: Keeping the Faith in American Higher Education will be published by Oxford University Press.  It will join other terrific Oxford titles such as Dan Williams’ Defenders of the Unborn and God’s Own Party, as well … More The Ink Is Dry!