Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)

Program

Educational Leadership

Date of Award

May 1985

Abstract

Problem. The problem of this study was to ascertain the extent that education has become a focus of attack by fundamentalist groups during the past two decades in America. Design. The study was designed to consist of five chapters: an Introduction, a Review of Related Literature, Methods and Procedures, Presentation of Data and Analysis of Research Questions, and Summary, Conclusions, and Recommendations. An attempt was made to present a compilation of the literature published relating religious fundamentalism to education in the United States. In Chapter 2, the attempt was to provide a historical overview of the literature to provide a definitive statement on the development of relationships between Church and State and their appendages. Specifically, the literature of the 1970s and 1980s were presented to establish resurgent attitudes and patterns. In Chapter 4, each of four basic questions pertaining to the phenomenon was analyzed. There were: (a) which societal factors have been historically associated with a rise in fundamentalism? (b) How has the role of the media influenced fundamentalist movements in shaping their focus of attack? (c) Why is the educational system so crucial a subject for directing social change?, and (d) Are there parallels between the Neo-Fundamentalist movement and other political movements? In Chapter 5, tentative conclusions were drawn based upon the observations. Conclusions. It was concluded that rapidly changing social, cultural, and technological conditions in society causes a concurrent flux in social institutions resulting in various reactionary trends. Rising pluralism, insecurity and frustration, feelings of individual powerlessness, institutionalization and increasing secularism all give rise to reactionary religious thought. The use of modern media as an instrument of division and conquest by fundamentalists is basic to their attack. The media is used to network all fundamentalists and neutralize those individuals, corporations, political parties, and groups declared in opposition to fundamentalist beliefs. The educational system has been increasingly attacked by the fundamentalist due to a perceived or constructed conflict of purpose, variant emphasis of subject matter, the end goals of the system, and the school's visibility. Finally, there is a substantial similarity between all social movements that pursue varying degrees of totalitarianism in their development of a national fervor, use of propaganda and force prejudice, deception, and hatred for opposing ideas.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

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