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date: 12 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter traces the Bible’s path through the history of American public education beginning in the colonial period, where it was central to the project of education, through the Common School movement, where its relevance was challenged as Enlightenment and scientific reasoning took hold. By the turn of the twentieth century, the Bible had lost its stronghold on public schools and the contentious relationship was cemented through a series of court cases that continue to impact policy and curriculum to the present time. The chapter concludes by highlighting several contemporary policies implemented to try to return the Bible, in some fashion, to public schools.

Keywords: Common School, pluralism, Horace Mann, John Dewey, Protestant, Catholic, First Amendment, Establishment Clause, homeschooling, New England Primer

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