Tom Ultican here reviews Johann Neem’s history of public schools in early America: “Democracy’s Schools: The Rise of Public Education in America.”

Neem, a historian of American education, is an immigrant to the United States from India. He attended public schools. He met students from many different background. From his own life experience, he understood the genius of public education in fostering a democratic culture.

Ultican found Neem’s history to be especially relevant in understanding debates today.

He reviews important topics in the book and sees how they relate to today’s battles over curriculum, pedagogy, religion, and charter schools.

He writes:

My main take away from this read is that in developing universal free public education in America the foundation for democracy was forged. That foundation is under attack today. Read this book and you will deepen and reinforce your own need to protect America’s public schools.