Reviewing the American Commitment to the Common School Philosophy: School Choice in the Early Twenty-First Century


  • Brian Fife Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne


common school philosophy, Horace Mann, school choice, education vouchers, conservatism, public good, charter schools, homeschooling, virtual schools, accountability, individualism, libertarianism, communitarianism


The common school philosophy of the nineteenth century in the United States is revisited from the contemporary perspective. Is the basic ethos of the philosophy of Horace Mann and others still relevant today? This question is examined and applied to the conservative advocacy of free markets, individual freedom, and school choice in order to assess the extent to which the delivery of government-supported education is done in a way that upholds the values of the past while simultaneously addressing paramount issues related to social equity, diversity, and social cohesion today.

Author Biography

Brian Fife, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne

Professor and Chair, Department of Public Policy