Review: Liberty and Learning: The Evolution of American Education

Liberty and Learning: The Evolution of American Education
Liberty and Learning: The Evolution of American Education by Larry P. Arnn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is not quite what I expected as I first approached it. Rather than a history of “the Evolution of American education” as the subtitle seems to promise, we are instead treated primarily to a defense of the conservative stance of Hillsdale College, of which the author is president. Hillsdale College has faced criticism from and even some persecution by various educational institutions and government bureaucracies as well as others because of its refusal to accept government funds and to modify its curriculum in line with the current anti-Western trends in academia. Arnn’s book gives the history of Hillsdale College and its relationship to both government funding of educational institutions and these current trends in academia. The defense he offers is sound and I believe that he makes his point. The most valuable part of the book, by far, is the appendix which contains a number of primary source documents related to education in the United States. All of it makes for fascinating reading, even when you disagree with Arnn’s position on a given issue.

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