In early American history, a literate and well-educated majority of Americans thrived without a national, tax-funded educational program. In fact, few of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence and drafted the U.S. Constitution had ever seen a public school, and yet they benefited from a free system of education vastly superior to the imagined benefits of today's state-controlled schooling. What happened over the course of the last and a half centuries? Why did Americans surrender the educational freedom that produced such widespread academic excellence to embrace a state of functional illiteracy under complete government control? In his seminal book Is Public Education Necessary?, Samuel Blumenfeld unpacks two centuries of source material to present an accurate history of the religious and philosophical transformations that gave birth to the educational statism controlling America's children today. From the New England Puritan experiments in compulsory schooling to the Unitarian crusades to perfect man with the "strong arm of government", Blumenfeld shows that public education in America has always been more about religion than literacy. A colorful history full of fascinating characters and incisive commentary, Is Public Education Necessary? challenges American parents to discard the common wisdom concerning public schools to reshoulder the responsibilities that are rightfully theirs, to fight to keep the liberties they inherited, and to teach their children to do the same.
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