Educational Policy and School Reform, History of Education, Philosophy of Education, Civic Education, Educational Law

I am a scholar of educational policy, history, and philosophy. Although my work covers a broad chronological range, all of it centers on conflicting notions of democracy in American schools. My books include A is for Arson: A History of Vandalism in American Education (Cornell University Press, 2023), which explores the many meanings of property destruction; Spare the Rod: Punishment and the Moral Community of Schools (University of Chicago Press, 2021), in which Bryan Warnick and I examine the history and philosophy of school discipline; and The Fight for Local Control: Schools, Suburbs, and American Democracy (Cornell University Press, 2016), which examines the legal and political controversies around school district  boundaries. I am currently working on a biography of Philip H. Phenix, a philosopher and curricular theorist active during the 1960s. Other interests include civic education, educational law, and conservative educational thought.

Faculty / Student Research Award, University of Maryland (2023)

Postdoctoral Fellow, Spencer Foundation (2018-2020)

Research and Scholarship Award, University of Maryland (2018)




  • Scribner, C. F. & Burris, R. (in progress).  The adolescent philosophy of Philip H. Phenix.

  • Hutt, E. L. & Scribner, C. F. (in progress). School district consolidation and the role of the state attorney general, 1900-1940.

  • Dhingra, N. & Scribner, C. F. (2021). An Aristotelian defense of Affirmative Action: Alasdair MacIntyre, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Grutter v. Bollinger. Journal of Philosophy of Education.

  • Scribner, C. F. (2020). Surveying the destruction of African-American schoolhouses in the South, 1864- 1876. Journal of the Civil War Era 10 (4):469-494.

  • Warnick, B. R. & Scribner, C. F. (2020). Discipline, Punishment, and the Moral Community of Schools. Theory and Research in Education 18 (1): 98-116.

  • Scribner, C. F. (2019). Philosophical and historical perspectives on student boredom. Educational Theory 69 (5): 559-580.        

  • Scribner, C. F. (2017). American teenagers, educational exchange, and Cold War politics. History of Education Quarterly, 57 (4), 542-569.

  • Scribner, C. F. (2015). Beyond the metropolis: The forgotten history of small-town teachers’ unions. American Journal of Education, 121 (4): 531-561.

  • Scribner, C. F. (2012). “Make your voice heard”: Communism in the high school curriculum, 1958-1968. History of Education Quarterly, 52 (3): 351-369.


Invited Essays

  • Scribner, C. F. (forthcoming). The myth of local control. 23 Myths about the History of American Schools: What the Truth Can Tell Us, and Why It Matters. New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Scribner, C. F. (forthcoming). The challenge of boredom in education. Journal of the Philosophy of Education.
  • Scribner. C. F. (2021). Friendship, philosophy, and the history of Black education. Philosophy of Education Journal 77, no. 4.
  • Scribner, C. F. (2020). The dilemmas of Americanism: Civic education in the United States. In A. Peterson, G. Stahl, and H. Soong (Eds.) The Palgrave handbook of citizenship and education. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Scribner, C. F. (2019). Sublime understanding: Cultivating the emotional past. In M. Gross and L. Terra (Eds.), Teaching and learning the difficult past: Comparative perspectives (pp. 42-55). New York: Routledge.
  • Scribner, C. F. (2013). False start: The failure of an early Race to the Top. In B. Justice (Ed.), The Founding Fathers, education, and “the great contest”: The American Philosophical Society prize of 1797 (pp. 69-83). New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

TLPL 250: Philosophical Perspectives on Education

TLPL 681: History of Education

TLPL 682: Philosophy of Education

TLPL 673: Federal Education Policy

TLPL 767: Law, Equity, and Diversity

TLPL 788n: Conservative Educational Thought

TLPL 788x: Contested Control--School Choice, Localism, and Centralization