Backfile checking Rex and everyone else: the forgotten history of the KKK and the NEA

Ducks and Economics

Last month, retired philanthropist Rex Sinquefield ignited a storm of controversy by claiming that the public school system was a creation driven at least partly by the efforts of the Ku Klux Klan. Sinquefield cited an op-ed in an obscure Missouri publication for support of this claim, but wound up apologizing for his statement. And that is where the debate ended.

It is unfortunate that no one has thought to consider this subject further. That is because there is documented history of the involvement of the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist organizations in the evolution of American public education and the National Education Association. Consider this excerpt from a review of Doug Lawson’s book “The Department of Education Battle, 1918-1932: Public Schools, Catholic Schools, and the Social Order“:

The efforts of the educational trust were supported by a number of organizations that fostered civic progressivism, including…

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