While many Americans have understood “school reform” as a perennial issue for the Left, Adam Laats shows that the cause has been championed by the Right as well, though to remarkably different ends. The Other School Reformers explores the political and pedagogical stakes of “educational conservatism,” an understudied strand of modern life that Laats aptly describes as “the long and vibrant tradition of defending tradition itself in American schools” (p. 3).

To illustrate the ways educational conservatives struggled to advance the ideas and ideals of patriotism, public religion, and American exceptionalism across the twentieth century, Laats focuses on four important flash points in the struggle. He ably provides close studies of each while using their specific details to illuminate broad trends. In the first...

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