The full-scale assault on public education threatens not just public education but American democracy itself. Public education as we know it is in trouble. Derek W. Black, a legal scholar and tenacious advocate, shows how major democratic and constitutional developments are intimately linked to the expansion of public education throughout American history. Schoolhouse Burningis grounded in pathbreaking, original research into how the nation, in its infancy, built itself around public education and, following the Civil War, enshrined education as a constitutional right that forever changed the trajectory of our democracy. Public education, alongside the right to vote, was the cornerstone of the recovery of the war-torn nation. Today's current schooling trends -- the declining commitment to properly fund public education and the well-financed political agenda to expand vouchers and charter schools -- present a major assault on the democratic norms that public education represents and risk undermining one of the unique accomplishments of American society.
Derek W. Black is a professor at the University of South Carolina Law School where he teaches constitutional law, civil rights, and education law. He is a well-known and outspoken advocate of the importance of public education and his work has been published in both professional legal journals as well as the mainstream media.