Religion and Public Education
U.S. Religious Landscape Survey -- a 2007 study documenting religious affiliations and patterns of religious involvement and expression in the U.S.
Religions of the World -- graphs and statistics about the major religions of the world.
Religious Identification in the U.S. -- information about religious affiliations in the U.S.
Religious Liberty in Public Schools: An Overview -- an overview essay on this important and sometimes volatile topic.
A Teachers Guide to Religion in the Public Schools -- a 2008 handbook by Charles Haynes that has been distributed by the U.S. Dept. of Education.
Overcoming Religious Illiteracy: A Cultural Studies Approach -- an article that presents both a thoughtful rationale for teaching about religious diversity in schools and guidelines and ideas about how to do this effectively using a cultural studies framework.
Religious Research Articles -- an excellent set of resources and links related to religion and education, located at the First Amendment Center's website.
ABC 20/20 Story about an Athiest Girl Ostracized at School -- A YouTube piece about a 16 yr old girl in a public school in Hardesty, OK school, who was ostracized and eventuall expelled from school for not being willing to recite the Lord's Prayer with other athletes and educators in a public ceremony held on the court after every basketball game. Despite the fact that school officials were/are engaging in an overtly unconstitutional act, this student was ostracized by her peers, and eventually expelled from school, so that she had to be homeschooled rather than attend school.
Divining America: Religion in American History -- essays on the history of religion in the U.S.
Religion in the Public Schools -- a good site that addresses many of the critical questions and issues that arise over the role of religion in U.S. public education -- includes information about all the legal precedents and has many links to other good articles and sites.
Religion in Schools -- a good overview site with an introductory esssay and lots of good links to current articles -- lots of good information about current issues and events related to this topic.
Religion and Public Schools -- a site by the U.S. Department of Education containing "guidelines, publications, and resources on the topics of religious expression in public schools and faith community support of children's learning" -- includes a clear presentation of the governement's perspective on what is constitutional and unconstitutional concerning religion and public education.
Religion in the Public Schools: A Joint Statement of Current Law -- a statement of current law and legal precedents concerning religion in public schools.
Teaching About Religion with a View to Diversity -- a site designed "to assist teachers of middle grades and secondary level history and social science programs in their handling of religion as curricular subject matter. The hope is to facilitate instructional endeavors that will, regarding religion, nourish in students a demeanor and civic understanding that is conducive to public civility and religious pluralism.
Teaching about Religion in Support of Civic Pluralism -- a website that provides background and classroom materials in support of a multicultural approach to teaching about religious diversity.
Teaching About Religion -- an essay from Education Week in which the authors make a case that it's important to teach about religion in order to understand the world -- they also distinguish between teaching about religion and engaging in religious practice.
One Nation, Many Gods -- an article that, among other things, reports research showing a world religions course helped reduce intolerance among students without undermining their religious beliefs.
People for the American Way -- a website that provides information on the controversy over religion in the schools.
Because I Had a Turban -- an article that discusses the experiences of Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh students who are South Asian/Indian Americans and who feel ignored, marginalized, or discriminated against due to their religious cultures and customs.
Texas Schools Scrambling Over Bible Literacy Law -- a Sept. 2009 article about a law, passed in 2007 to go into effect in Sept. 2009, that requires all public schools in Texas to provide instruction for "Bible literacy."
All Sides of the Story: Teaching Religion in America's Schools -- information, lesson plans, and more
Religious Diversity -- a site with many links about different religions.
Religion and Public Education Resource Center -- an organization that "provides general information about the ethical, legal, and educational issues that arise in connection with the topic of religion and public education. The work of the RPERC is based on the conviction that the academic study of the world's religions in public elementary and secondary schools not only makes an indispensable contribution to historical and cultural literacy, it is also an integral part of education for citizenship in a pluralistic democracy."
Finding Common Ground: A Guide to Religious Liberty in Public Schools -- a book by Charles Haynes and Oliver Thomas, available online.
Religious Identification in the U.S. -- presents up-to-date information about the nature of people's religious affiliations in the U.S.
Should Guest Speakers Teach About Religion in the K-12 Classroom? -- an essay response to this critical current question.
Immigrant Religion -- this article focuses on how immigrant groups retain their religion in order to keep their heritage, and it shows how two cities - LA and Pasadena, CA - have been transformed by immigrants and the cultures they bring.
Bible Belt Upside the Head -- this article examines the Staunton, VA school system and its consideration to change their 60 year-old WRE (Weekday Religious Education) program. The author provides both sides of the argument and examines the question from a constitutional standpoint.
Universal Faith -- this article addresses the idea that the issue of religion and secularity is not black and white, but rather the gray area is what makes religion in schools the center of controversy. The idea of dual-use is especially important for teachers to understand, because this proposal blends the idea of accommodation for religious believers while maintaining secularity for nonbelievers as well.
Policy on Religious Holidays Stirs Debate -- this article addresses the limitations of the separation of church and state.
Religious Statistics -- provides many links to sites with data about different religions.
The Religious Tolerance Organization -- a site that provides information about religious diversity in an attempt to promote greater understanding and respect -- includes useful information about specific religions.
Yahoo Search Site -- a number of good links about the role of religion in public schools.
The Evolution Debate -- a collection of articles on this topic that have been published recently in the NYTimes.
Pennsylvania School Officials and Science Groups Split Over Biology Curriculum -- an article about the decision by the Dover, PA school board to require the teaching of "intelligent design" in biology classes.
What's All the Fuss About? Evolution, Intelligent Design, and Science Education -- a good overview of recent developments in the controversy over how we teach about the thoery of evolution and whether we should include information about intelligent design beliefs.
Evolution Education and the Law -- a good website with information about legal cases, precedents, and issues regarding the teaching of evolution in U.S. schools.
Kitzmiller v. Dover School District -- the court ruling in a case brought against the Dover, PA Board of Education for requiring biology teachers to state that the theory of evolution has flaws and that there are alternatives, including the view that the world was created through "intelligent design." The court ruled the district may not require teachers to do this.
Evolution Stickers Go On Trial in Georgia -- an article about controversial stickers placed on science textbooks in an Atlanta-area school district. The stickers state, “Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.” The article also includes discussion of other instances of conflict over the teaching of evolution and creationism.
Evolution Sticker Unconstitutional -- an article about the 2005 judge's decision in the case about the anti-evolution stickers that were placed on textbooks in Cobb County Georgia. The judge ruled the stickers unconstititutional.
Evolution and Creationism in Public Education: An In-Depth Reading of Public Opinion -- results and discussion of a national survey conducted in 2000.
Teacher Expelled Over Religion -- a video that tells the story of a teacher who was fired because she sent out an informal email informing staff about a lecture about evolution.
Teacher Resources about Evolution and Creationism -- articles from a 1998 issue of Rethinking Schools -- still relevant today.
Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science -- a 1998 book (full text available here), by the National Academy of Sciences, offering guidance for teachers about the teaching of evolution -- includes framework material and lesson plans.
Understanding Evolution for Teachers -- a website with information for teachers about how to negotiate the "debate" over evolution and creationism -- includes discussion of what is viewed as a misconception that science and religion are incompatible.
National Center for Science Education -- the website of a group that "defends the teaching of evolution in the public schools."
Adam and Eve in the Land of the Dinosaurs -- an article from the NYTimes about the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky.
Court Rejects Pledge of Allegiance -- an article about the court case in June of 2002, in which a U.S. court of Appeals ruled that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional because it includes the words "under God," violating the separation of church and state.
Supreme Court Weighs "Under God" in Schools -- The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on whether to preserve the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance recited daily by American schoolchildren. Congress added the words to the pledge in 1954, at the height of anti-communist fervor. Now, a California father and avowed atheist is suing, saying the pledge amounts to an endorsement of religion. Listen to a radio segment about this controversial case.
Court Dismisses Pledge Case -- an article about the Supreme Court dismissing the Pledge of Allegiance case in June of 2004 -- they dismissed the case, not based on a decision about the "under god" issue but, rather, on the grounds that the father who brought the case (an atheist acting on behalf of his third grade daughter), did not have the legal standing to do this, because he wasinvolved in a custody dispute with the mother.
A Brief History of the Pledge of Allegiance -- good background information about the Pledge and inclusion of the phrase "under god."
The Pledge of Allegiance: A Short History -- a history of the pledge, written in 1992.
A School Prayer Case -- an article about a 1996 case in Mississippi.
Court Decision about a Recent School Prayer Case -- more information about the 1996 case in Mississippi.
School Prayer: A Community at War -- a site about a documentary film -- includes statements of opinion on this controversial issue.
Religion in the Public Schools -- an essay by the Anti-Defmation League.
Religious Tolerance & Religious Diversity -- this site is about the study of scientology and religion. It explains roles religion has played in history and science, and it presents information about religious diversity.
Obama Breaks Down Why We Need Separation of Church & State -- a YouTube video in which Barack Obama gives his opinion on the issue of religion in schools.
Does Music with a Sacred Text Have a Place in the Public Schools? -- a website that supplies teachers with information about how to introduce religious music into their curriculum.
3 States Still Ban Religious Clothing for Teachers -- a 2009 article about the issue of whether teachers can and should be allowed to wear religious clothing while teaching.
How Far Can Public Schools Go in Accommodating the Religious Needs of Muslim Students? -- a good essay about how to accommodate the needs of Muslim students constitutionally.
Children, Arab Heritage, and Anti-Bias Education -- Great teaching and lesson plan ideas for addressing media and other stereotypes about people of Arab heritage.
The Council on Islamic Education -- the homepage of this organization -- lots of useful information, resources and perspective.
Teaching about Islam and Muslims in the Public School Classroom -- a very useful report published by the Council on Islamic Education.
Indiana School Removes 'Allah' from Holiday Show After Protests -- an article about religious inclusion in the schools.
Introduction to Islam -- some good information about Islam.
An Introduction to Islam -- an online book that provides good overview, history and detail.
Discrimination Against Muslims and What to Do About It -- a webpage at the site of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) about this important issue.
Public Schools Grapple with Muslim Prayer -- this article addresses both sides of the controversy regarding the accommodation of schools when attending to students who practice the Islamic religion.
SoundVision -- extensive resources about Islamic perspective, experience, and issues. Includes discussion of issues such as gender equity and Muslim/non-Mulsim relations, and offers videos, books, and online discussion groups.
Islam Online -- news, views, and perspective rooted in the Muslim experience and the Islamic religion.
The World of Arab and Muslim Children in Children's Books -- a good overview article about books for children that are told from Arab and Muslim perspectives or that sympathethically portray these cultures and avoid stereotypes.
Ramadan on the Net -- a good site about the annual Islamic observance of the Fast of Ramadan.
Essentials of Ramadan -- another good site about Ramadan, a major annual event on the Islamic calendar.
The Jewish Year -- This site provides information about many Jewish celebrations and festivals of the year. Links provide resources for lesson planning.
Jewish Music Resources -- This site provides links to books and articles that you can read online about Jewish music.
The Anti Defamation League -- this site places religion in a global context as well as educational, political, and private contexts.
PBS Online News Hour: Teaching Religion -- this interview covers the various alternatives to teaching religion as well as measures to have religion taught in every public school across the country.
The American Academy of Religions -- this website includes information for teachers with publication information and other various teaching ideas and resources.
SFGate.com: Bush: Intelligent Design Should be Taught -- the article explains President Bush's position on whether evolution or intelligent design or both should be taught in public schools.
LA Times: The Case of Behe vs. Darwin -- this article is an extensive report on a current federal trial in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania that addresses the issue of intelligent design as a mandatory inclusion in the curriculum. The case may serve as a precedent for others around the nation to follow.
The National Education Association On Religion in Public Schools -- a website by this teacher's union with lots of links and information.
The American Academy of Religion -- a website with information for teachers; complete with publication information and other various teaching ideas and resources.
Agnoticism/Atheism:About.Com -- this website provides links to current news stories about the different issues surrounding the role of religion in public schools.
Americans United: Religion in the Public Schools -- this site provides perspective about the issues of religion in public schools from the standpoint of those who believe very strongly in the separation of church and state.
Family Education: Religion in Puboic Schools -- this page addresses the issues surrounding religion in public schools from school prayer to whether or not the Bible can be used as a teaching aid in classrooms.
Religion and Homosexuality in Athletics -- an article discussing the issues of religion and homosexuality in high school sports teams. The article suggests ways for coaches to create an inclusive setting so that athletes who are sensitive to religion’s inclusion in sport are not ostracized.
Books and Articles
Akhavi, S. 2003. Islam and the West in World History. Oxfordshire: Taylor & Francis Ltd.
American Academy of Religion. 2010. Guidelines for Teaching about Religion in K-12 Public Schools in the United States. Atlanta: The AAR Religion in the Schools Task Force.
Anderson, R. 2004. Religion & Spirituality In the Public School Curriculum. New York: P. Lang.
Anderson, R. 2008. Religion and Teaching. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Arkoun, M. 2003. Rethinking Islam Today. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
Bennett, T. & Foldesy, G. 2008. 'Our Father in Heaven': A Legal Analysis of the Recitation of the Lord's Prayer by Public School Coaches. The Clearing House, 81(4).
Chidester, D. 2008. Unity in Diversity: Religion Education and Public Pedagogy in South Africa. International Review for the History of Religions. 55(2/3). 272-299.
Coulby, D. 2008. Intercultural Education: Religion, Knowledge and the Limits of Postmodernism. Intercultural Education. 19(4). 305-314.
DelFattore, J. 2004. The Fourth R: Conflicts Over Religion in America's Public Schools. Yale Univ. Press.
Douglass, S., and Dunn, R. 2003. Interpreting Islam in American Schools. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.
Eyre, E. 2003. Creationists Want Science Lesson Plan Changed. Charleston Gazette, Feb. 14.
Farideh, S. 2006. Religion in Multicultural Education. Information Age Publishing.
Fraser, J. 1999. Between Church and State: Religion and Public Education in a Multicultural America. St. Martin's Press.
Gaddy, B., Hall, T. & R. Marzano. 1996. School Wars: Resolving Our Conflicts Over Religion and Values. Jossey-Bass.
Gamoran, A. 1990. Civil Religion in American Schools. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Greenwalt, K. 2005. Does God Belong in Public Schools? Princeton University Press.
Kafer, K. 2002. How to Teach Religion in Public Schools. The World and I. August, p. 52-57.
Lee, F. 2002. The Secular Society Gets Religion. New York Times, August 24.
Mayrl, D. & Oeur, F. (2009). Religion and Higher Education: Current Knowledge and Directions for Future Research. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religions. 48(2). 260-275.
McCarthy, M. 2009. Beyond the Walls of Separation: Church-State Concerns in Public Schools. Phi Delta Kappan, 90(10).
Miller, K. 1999. Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution. Perennial.
Nanbu, H. 2008. Religion in Chinese Education. From Denial to Cooperation. British Journal of Religious Education. 30(3). 223-234.
Moore, D. 2007. Overcoming Religious Illiteracy: A Cultural Studies Approach to the Study of Religion in Secondary Education. Palgrave Macmillan.
Nord, W. 1995. Religion and American Education: Rethinking a National Dilemma. University of North Carolina Press.
Passe, J. & Willox, L. 2009. Teaching Religion in America's Public Schools: A Necessary Disruption. Social Studies, 100(3): 102-106.
Phi Delta Kappan. The September, 1999; February, 2000; and November, 2003 issues of Phi Delta Kappan have a number of good articles on the issue of religion and education.
Reading, Writing, and Religion? A Debate of Biblical Proportions. Weekly Reader, Vol. 104: 20: 3.
Removal of School's Religious Pictures Sparks Conflict. Church and State, Vol. 58:10: 21.
Rosenblith, S. 2008. Religious Education in a Liberal, Pluralist, Democratic State. Religious Education 103(5): 507-510.
Rosenblith, S. & Bailey, B. 2008. Cultivating a Religiously Literate Society: Challenges and Possibilities for America's Public Schools. Religious Education, 103(2): 145-161.
Schluss, H. 2009. Education and Religion in Times of Secularization: Problems and Possibilities within the German Situation. Religious Education. 104(1). 64-83.
Sears, J. & Carper, J. (Eds.). 1998. Curriculum, Religion, and Public Education: Conversations for Enlarging the Public Square. Teachers College Press.
Silva, P. and Mackin, R.A. 2002. Mind and Heart: Creating the Good High School. New York: Teachers College Press.
Wexler, J. 1997. Of Pandas, People, and the First Amendment: The Constitutionality of Teaching Intelligent Design in the Public Schools. Stanford Law Review 49(2): 439-70.
Young, C. 2002. One Nation, Many Gods. Reason, 34(5): 20-22.
Films & Videos
Kansas vs. Darwin, 2009 -- an excellent documentary about the conflict in Kansas over the teaching of evolution in public schools.
School Prayer: A Community at War, 1999 -- an award winning documentary about a school prayer case in Mississippi.
Inherit the Wind, 1960. -- a film adaptation of the famous play, which analyzes the dynamics of the notorious Scopes trial, wherein a school teacher is brought to court in the Bible Belt region for teaching evolution in the classroom.
Batchelor, M. 1985. Children’s Bible in 365 Stories. Oxford, England: Lion Publishing.
Jeynes, W. H. 2012. Christian Universities and Colleges: The Need to Train Instructors to Teach the Bible as Literature in Public Schools. Christian Higher Education. 11(1) 4-16.
MacCulloch, D. 2009. A Crucified Messiah. In Christianity The First Three Thousand Years. New York, NY: Viking. (pp 77-112)
Meeks, W.A. (Ed.). 1993. The HarperCollins Study Bible. New York, NY: HarperCollins.
Sacred Music In Schools -- This article is the National Association for Music Educators statement on religion in public schools. It explains the importance of incorporating religious music education into classrooms and sets guidelines for music educators to follow when teaching sacred music so that they do not infringe upon the rights of their students.
Religious Studies News -- this article touches upon the importance of music as a cultural component of religions. More importantly, this article explains that this cultural component is what makes teaching religious music so important.
Religious Holidays in the Public Schools --this article explains the debate around religious holidays in schools from the allowance of holiday music to the accommodations that should be made for students observing holidays.
On Religion, Music, and Education -- This journal analyzes the importance of music to various religious cultures, but also addresses how religious minorities feel when their religion is not included in music education.
The Constitutionality of Teaching and Performing Sacred Choral Music in Public Schools -- This journal was written by a law student debates tge legality of performing sacred choral music in schools. Both sides are adequately addressed and supported; however, he concludes that the constitution supports the performance of sacred choral music in public schools.
Aquino, John. 1976. Can We Still Sing Christmas Carols in Public Schools? Music Educators Journal.
Grier, Rebecca. 1979. Sacred Music in the Schools: An Update. Music Educators Journal.
Meints, Donald. 1965. Are We Violating the Constitution? Music Educator's Journal.
Scamman, James. 1967. Music in the Public Schools. Music Educators Journal.
Koetting, J. Randall, and Martha Combs. 2005. Spirituality And Curriculum Reform: The Need To Engage The World. Taboo: The Journal Of Culture And Education 9.1.
Lester, Emile, and Patrick S. Roberts. 2009. How Teaching World Religions Brought A Truce To The Culture Wars In Modesto, California. British Journal Of Religious Education 31.3.
Marshall, Joanne M. 2006. Nothing New Under The Sun: A Historical Overview Of Religion In U.S. Public Schools. Equity & Excellence In Education 39.3.
Passe, Jeff, and Lara Willox. 2006. Teaching Religion In America's Public Schools: A Necessary Disruption. Social Studies 100.3.
Rosenblith, Suzanne, and Scott Priestman. 2004. Problematizing Religious Truth: Implications For Public Education. Educational Theory 54.4.