Religion and American Education: Rethinking a National Dilemma / Edition 1

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Overview

Warren Nord's thoughtful book tackles an issue of great importance in contemporary America: the role of religion in our public schools and universities. According to Nord, public opinion has been excessively polarized by those religious conservatives who would restore religious purposes and practices to public education and by those secular liberals for whom religion is irrelevant to everything in the curriculum. While he maintains that public schools and universities must not promote religion, he also argues that there are powerful philosophical, political, moral, and constitutional reasons for requiring students to study religion. Indeed, only if religion is included in the curriculum will students receive a truly liberal education, one that takes seriously a variety of ways of understanding the human experience. Intended for a broad audience, Nord's comprehensive study encompasses American history, constitutional law, educational theory and practice, theology, philosophy, and ethics. It also discusses a number of current, controversial issues, including multiculturalism, moral education, creationism, academic freedom, and the voucher and school choice movements.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
It is hard to imagine a more reasonable book, yet it is also full of fresh insights.

Teaching, Theology, and Religion

[A] thoughtful analysis of religion's role in public education.

Commonweal

Nord clearly wants to engage the interested general reader, not the specialist, and his conversational writing style helps him succeed.

Christian Science Monitor

An important achievement that should become a standard reference in years to come.

Washington Times

This is a book and a set of proposals to be taken very seriously indeed.

Washington Post

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Nord argues for the teaching of religion in public schools and universities, not to indoctrinate students but to help them take religious worldviews seriously in the pursuit of knowledge. His reasoning is convincing, but his writing is laborious and repetitive. To put his proposals in context, he attempts to summarize all relevant Supreme Court rulings, religion's role in the intellectual history of Europe and the United States, and major contemporary philosophical movements and worldviews. Three long chapters, more than a third of the text, are devoted to such background material, much of which is summarized again in later chapters. The end result is a thin argument with more background than development: require courses in religious studies, but don't institutionalize school prayer. Nord directs a program in the humanities and values at the University of North Carolina. While his historical knowledge is broad, he appears not to have concrete information about contemporary U.S. secondary education other than that gleaned from having analyzed the textbooks used in North Carolina schools, and he seems ignorant of current experiments in teaching religion and values in schools. (May)
Library Journal
In this comprehensive study, Nord (philosophy, Univ. of North Carolina) addresses religion in the curriculum in American public schools and universities. Although he professes that public institutions should not promote religion, he takes to task those secular liberals who discount its importance in the curriculum. He concludes by strongly suggesting that "a little humility is in order" when tackling this issue. Nord also discusses such other relevant topics as multiculturalism, creationism, and academic freedom. His timely work should appeal to a wide academic audience, as it incorporates history, law, educational theory and practice, theology, philosophy, and ethics. Recommended for academic libraries.Samuel T. Huang, Northern Illinois Univ. Libs., DeKalb
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807844786
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 5/31/1995
  • Series: H. Eugene and Lillian Youngs Lehman Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 502
  • Product dimensions: 6.17 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 1.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Warren A. Nord is director of the Program in the Humanities and Human Values and teaches in the department of philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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