The scholarly literature dealing with the history of Catholic school policy has long been characterized by ideological polarization, given the very political role of the school system. Historians have generally underlined the continuity between the so-called Gentile Reform and Christian Democratic policies, ignoring the innovative elements of the latter. The institutional crisis of the 1970s and the lively pedagogic debate of those years, coupled with the government’s difficulties in reforming the secondary school, furthered research in this field. In the 1980s this research realm adopted its own methodology and became more independent from other disciplines, in particular with the foundation of the Centro italiano per la ricerca storico-educativa (Cirse). A revision of the role of Catholic politicians was only made possible through the same decade, in parallel with the "Concordato" reform - namely, the reform of the agreement between the Italian State and the Holy Seat. This reappraisal, moreover, was carried out thanks to the activity of Luciano Pazzaglia and the collaboration between both Catholic and non-confessional pedagogists and historians. In the past few years, finally, there has been a new revival of interest for Gentile’s school policy aiming at putting back into perspective the achievements of Center-Left reformism.
Keywords: School and politics in Italy, Italian Catholicism, Christian Democracy, reforms in post-war Italy, school policy, Centro italiano per la ricerca storico-educativa