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 whenor whetherstudents 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 religionboth its contributions and shortcomingsespecially 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.
|Publisher:||Princeton University Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)|
Table of Contents
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