Does God Belong in Public Schools?

Does God Belong in Public Schools?

by Kent Greenawalt
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691130655

ISBN-13: 9780691130651

Pub. Date: 04/16/2007

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Controversial Supreme Court decisions have barred organized school prayer, but neither the Court nor public policy exclude religion from schools altogether. In this book, one of America's leading constitutional scholars asks what role religion ought to play in public schools. Kent Greenawalt explores many of the most divisive issues in educational debate, including

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Overview

Controversial Supreme Court decisions have barred organized school prayer, but neither the Court nor public policy exclude religion from schools altogether. In this book, one of America's leading constitutional scholars asks what role religion ought to play in public schools. Kent Greenawalt explores many of the most divisive issues in educational debate, including teaching about the origins of life, sex education, and when—or whether—students can opt out of school activities for religious reasons.

Using these and other case studies, Greenawalt considers how to balance the country's constitutional commitment to personal freedoms and to the separation of church and state with the vital role that religion has always played in American society. Do we risk distorting students' understanding of America's past and present by ignoring religion in public-school curricula? When does teaching about religion cross the line into the promotion of religion?

Tracing the historical development of religion within public schools and considering every major Supreme Court case, Greenawalt concludes that the bans on school prayer and the teaching of creationism are justified, and that the court should more closely examine such activities as the singing of religious songs and student papers on religious topics. He also argues that students ought to be taught more about religion—both its contributions and shortcomings—especially in courses in history. To do otherwise, he writes, is to present a seriously distorted picture of society and indirectly to be other than neutral in presenting secularism and religion.

Written with exemplary clarity and even-handedness, this is a major book about some of the most pressing and contentious issues in educational policy and constitutional law today.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691130651
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
04/16/2007
Edition description:
ANN
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction 1

PART I: HISTORY AND PURPOSES 11

CHAPTER 1: A Brief History of American Public Schools and Religion 13

CHAPTER 2: Purposes of Public School Education 23

PART II: DEVOTIONS, CLUBS, AND TEACHING RELIGION AS TRUE 35

CHAPTER 3: Devotional Practices: Prayer and Bible Reading 37

CHAPTER 4: Moments of Silence 58

CHAPTER 5: Teaching Religious Propositions 64

CHAPTER 6: Equal Facilities 69

PART III: TEACHING ABOUT RELIGION 77

CHAPTER 7: Teaching and Religion in the Public School 79

CHAPTER 8: Teaching Natural Science I: Relation between Science and Religion 88

CHAPTER 9: Teaching Natural Science II: Evolutionism, Creationism, and Intelligent Design 101

CHAPTER 10: Teaching Natural Science III: What Amounts to Teaching Religion? 116

CHAPTER 11: History, Economics, and Literature 126

CHAPTER 12: Morals, Civics, and Comparative Religion 138

CHAPTER 13: Constitutional Constraints and Other Legal Limits 152

PART IV: RIGHTS OF STUDENTS 161

CHAPTER 14: Student Rights to Religious Freedom and to Free Speech on Religious Topics 163

CHAPTER 15: Excusing Students When They or Their Parents Object 174

Notes 189

Index 257

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