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To Train Up A Child

 - Religious Conservatives and the Struggle over Schooling -


Baker Institute for Public Policy

Rice University

Wednesday, September 19, 2001 7:00 p.m.



In recent years, the movement of conservative Christians popularly known as the Religious Right has attempted  to bring about sweeping changes in American politics and public education.  Among their causes and concerns are vouchers that could be used in private religious schools; opposition to the teaching of evolution and promotion of creationist theories of the universe and human life; opposition to sex education that is not abstinence-based; emphasis on traditional methods of education such as phonics; greater emphasis on the important role of religion in American history; the banning of school-sponsored prayer, devotional exercises, and observance of religious holidays; and the low levels of educational achievement of American students in comparison to students in other developed nations. Efforts to bring about change have included the founding of numerous private Christian schools, a substantial increase in home-schooling, and efforts to gain control of local and state school boards. Some even seek to dismantle the public school system.

The first program in the Fall 2001 series of Chavanne Lectures on Religion and Public Policy will address a number of these important issues. 

Susan Rose

“Christian Schooling: Fundamental, Alternative, Diverse?”

Susan Rose is Professor and Chair of Sociology at Dickinson College. She is author of two books on contemporary Evangelicalism: Keeping Them Out of the Hands of Satan: Christian Schooling in America (Routledge 1988) and Exporting the American Gospel: Global Christian Fundamentalism (Routledge 1996), as well as numerous articles on religion, education, and gender, including those in the Fundamentalisms Observed Series, co-edited by Martin Marty and Scott Appleby (University of Chicago Press 1990-1995). She has served as a consultant and participant on PBS and NPR programs about fundamentalism. Her fieldwork on evangelicalism and fundamentalism has taken her to various parts of the United States, Guatemala, the Philippines, and South Korea.

David Sikkink,

 "Homeschooling 101: The Social Sources and

Implications of the Homeschooling Movement."

David Sikkink is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and a Fellow in the Program on the Social Organization of Schools at the University of Notre Dame. He received a doctorate in sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1998. His dissertation, Public Schooling and Its Discontents, funded by the National Science Foundation, examined the relationship of religion, schooling choices for children, and civic participation. As a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, he currently is studying the role of race and religion in shaping schooling choices for children. He is also studying the role of schools—including religious and home schools—in fostering civic participation among parents and students.

Bruce Biddle

“Varieties of Conservative Thought and Public Schooling”

Bruce Biddle is a social psychologist who is Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri where for 40 years he taught, founded a doctoral program, and directed a research center.  So far he has produced eleven books and more than 70 articles, often working collaboratively with other scholars.  Among educators, he is perhaps best known for his research on the teacher's role, his studies of classroom interaction, his earlier work co-authored with Michael Dunkin, The Study of Teaching, and a book he recently published with David Berliner, The Manufactured Crisis: Myths, Fraud, and the Attack on America's Public Schools.  His current research concerns the utilization of educational research knowledge, the evil effects of poverty and inadequate school funding within education, and educational reform.  

William Martin

Harry and Hazel Chavanne Professor of

Religion and Public Policy,

Department of Sociology,

Senior Scholar, Baker Institute,

Rice University



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Entrance 8 or 12                                      By Monday, September 17




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