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Wartime Schools

How World War II Changed American Education

Series:

Gerard Giordano

The politically conservative educators of World War II dramatically and rapidly altered policies, programs, schedules, learning materials, classroom activities, and the content of academic courses. They motivated students to salvage materials, sell war stamps, grow crops, learn about wartime issues, and take pride in patriotism. They prepared millions of people for the armed services and the defense industries. These accomplishments were possible because the educators were supported by an unprecedented alliance that included teachers, school administrators, industrialists, military personnel, government leaders, and the President himself. After the war, conservative educators continued to portray themselves as home-front warriors waging a life-threatening battle against enduring global dangers. A terrified public accepted this depiction and continued to back them for decades.