This one-of-a-kind, comprehensive history of moral education in American schools provides an invaluable historical context for contemporary debates. McClellan traces American traditions of moral education from the colonial era to the present, illuminating both debates about the subject and actual practices in public and private schools, colleges, and universities. He pays particular attention to changing fashions in pedagogy, to church–state conflicts, to the long decline of character training in the schools, and to recent efforts to restore moral education to its once-honored place. The book concludes with a thorough examination of recent theorists, including Lawrence Kohlberg, William J. Bennett, Carol Gilligan, and Nel Noddings, and an appraisal of current practice in American schools.
“In an age of specialists who quite productively write books on relatively narrow subjects imbedded in short time periods, McClellan writes effortlessly about the grand themes and social practices in the history of moral education and character training over several centuries.”
—From the Foreword by William J. Reese
“I would highly recommend this work to anyone interested in educational policy in general and moral education in particular. . . .There is nothing presently available that is comparable in scope, balance, intellectual coherence, and readability.”
—Ray Hiner, University of Kansas