Midwest Social Sciences Journal


In the 1960s, the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) reported efforts at “infiltration” by conservative extremist groups, including the John Birch Society (JBS). Extremists sought to take over PTA meetings to obtain a mainstream platform for minority opinions. The PTA parried extremists’ efforts with a deluge of activities and publications dedicated to democratic fair play and research-based approaches to education. In spite of a coherent plan for dealing with such techniques in the 1960s, the methods used by the Birch Society and other conservative extremist groups appear to have resumed in contemporary educational discussions. Once again, opinions that appeal to the fringes of the American political and social spectrum have dominated policy discussions, most notably relating to textbook selection.