Political Agendas for Education: From the Christian Coalition to the Green Party

Political Agendas for Education: From the Christian Coalition to the Green Party

Political Agendas for Education: From the Christian Coalition to the Green Party

Political Agendas for Education: From the Christian Coalition to the Green Party

Excerpt

Pick up any newspaper today and you will find some political group demanding the censorship of school materials or the inclusion in schools of their pet ideas, or they will be proposing another quick fix for educational ills or making claims that their educational plans will be panaceas for all economic and social problems. Educational disputes range across a political spectrum from the agendas of the crusading Religious Right to the separatist feelings of Afrocentrism and Indiocentrism.

My goal in this book is to describe and analyze the educational agendas of major political organizations. This volume begins with the outrage of evangelical parents at what they perceive to be the anti-Christian curricula of public schools. Galvanized by religious zeal and working with the well- oiled machinery of the Christian Coalition, evangelical Christians are affecting schools and American politicsas described in chapter 1. Bordering the region of the religious right is the shadowy world of conservative think tanks that buy intellectuals to sell to the public and to politicians a school reform agenda of free market competition between public, private, and for-profit schools; this is the focus of chapter 2. The Heritage Foundation and the Hudson Institute are the most influential of these conservative think tanks in spreading ideas about choice plans, charter schools, and the necessity of national academic standards and tests.

The Republican Party is strongly affected by the demands of the religious right and the powerful influence of the conservative think tanks. As I explain in chapter 3, the educational programs of George Bush's presidency reflected the plans of conservatives, whereas the Christian Coalition dominated the 1996 National Republican Platform.

Suffering from the loss of "angry white males," Bill Clinton and the New Democrats broadened the appeal of the Democratic Party to middle-class voters by promising to increase their chances for attending college and to provide lifelong opportunities for upgrading job skills. Chapter 4 analyzes . . .

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