Yeah I actually own Nienuhr's Christ and Culture, but I have yet to read it.At the beginning of the 20th century, we had highly esteemed religious scholars like H. Richard Niebuhr. Going back further, many of the Protestant reformers were staunch advocates of a thorough education. Martin Luther, for example, condemned parents who neglected their childrens' education as "despicable dogs".
Let's not forget the new england primer which sold 2 million copies in the 18th century. The level of grammar and understanding of english and theology that was expected of youngsters far exceeded the expectations of grade schoolers today that read the likes of "See Spot Run."
kids were taught words like: Abomination, Gratification, Humiliation, Imagination, and Edification.