VOYA - Rachelle M. BilzThis volume in Enslow's Issues in Focus series is an excellent introduction to the issue of school prayer in the United States. In just ninety-five pages of text, Andryszewski ably exposes the reader to various sides of the school prayer controversy. The book opens with a collection of quotations from varied sources, from the First Amendment to George Wallace to Bill Clinton, and covering the years 1791 to 1995, an intriguing way to give the reader a historical overview of the issue. The author then proceeds to follow the principle of separation of church and state in this country, from the development of the Constitution through current national policy. With clear, concise language, difficult and often ambiguous concepts, such as tolerance, equal access, and separation of church and state, are delineated and elucidated. Using the "Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses" of the First Amendment as her starting point, Andryszewski proceeds through the Engel v. Vitale and Abington v. Schempp cases in the 1960s to establish the history of the school prayer debate. Important figures such as Justice William O. Douglas are placed in historical context, and potentially difficult terms, such as "posited," are defined. This book offers an intelligent, even-handed overview of the history of the school prayer debate, thus making a potentially cumbersome topic manageable for the young adult reader. This is a very good resource for any student researching the topic. Index. Photos. Source Notes. Further Reading. VOYA Codes: 5Q 2P J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 7-9An excellent general introduction to civil rights, how the judicial and legislative branches of government work, and the dynamic nature of law in the United States. Andryszewski opens this informative overview with quotations that trace the history of the school prayer debate. The next chapter is a factual review of the mindset of political thinkers and of the decision-making process that led to the Constitutional separation of church and state. The text then reviews several challenges to school prayer, public reactions, and the institution of equal access. The author then brings readers into the current debate and discusses the causes, concerns, and leaders speaking out for and against school prayer today. A list for further reading, thoroughly documented source notes, and an excellent index are appended. Average-quality black-and-white photographs appear throughout. Overall, a successful installment in the series and an opportunity to examine how the thoughts that shape our present are tied to elements of the past.Joan Soulliere, University of Pittsburgh
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