The presentation is an overview of Brett’s proposed dissertation research. Brett’s project asks how the personal theological convictions of mid-century Supreme Court Justices, current secondary civics teachers, and curriculum developers in the intervening period (1960-present) shape(d) their professional work involving the Religion Clauses. Brett is particularly interested in how “separationist” or “accomodationist” historical narratives “travel” or are handed down through official or unofficial curricula as well as how educators navigate often conflicting policy landscapes and community cultures.
Brett is a Ph.D. student studying history and philosophy of education. His research interests revolve around the history of standardized testing as well as topics in the intersection of religion and education. His current projects include a history of the implementation of testing programs in rural schools during the 1920s and an analysis of how inherited theological concepts have shaped federal court rulings involving religion and the schools. Before coming to UW-Madison, Brett spent several years as a middle school and high school teacher.