The Constitution states that every individual has the right to practice whatever... 3. The majority of faith schools do not teach from one single faith perspective, but incorporate an element of comparison between religions. At the minimum, children realize the world has many religions. Far from being self-regarding, segregated institutions that deepen division, faith schools encourage openness to others, emphasising that the thing we all have in common is our humanity, which is of infinite value. Faith is irrelevant in everyday life, they claim: keep it in church for the few who attend. It is only when young people have grappled with these enormous questions that they can begin to make sense of what they themselves believe and think. But they tend to miss the rest of that ruling, which emphasized that teachers have always been allowed to teach about religion academically. Middle and high school world history teachers often get instruction about religion as part of history courses in college. On the contrary – religious education is more important now than it has probably ever been. Some universities and organizations offer continuing education programs and courses — and Wellesley, Modesto, and Core Knowledge schools also can serve as models. How can anyone understand what’s happening in the world without basic knowledge of world religions? And if young people are encouraged to recognise their own uniqueness and value, they will flourish both as individuals and as citizens in a pluralistic society and global community. Religious Freedom The constitution dictates that every person has the right to practice whatever religion they would like, at anytime and anywhere that they would like. Faith in schools and education in general may be under the microscope, but there should always be a place for religion in education, writes the Headteacher of Stonyhurst College. Teachers tell me that many students start middle or even high school not knowing that Catholics are Christians, too. In our diverse society, children need an understanding of other principal religions and other world views. Here are seven reasons it’s time to start the instruction earlier — and make sure it goes deeper, Around the country, I heard numerous stories from children being bullied because of their faith. Teenage pregnancy, school violence, school shootings, and drugs … Jewish children talked about middle school peers throwing pennies at them as a jab at the stereotype about Jews and money. The Christian share of the population declined from nearly 80 to 71 percent between 2007 and 2014, and the percentage of people from other faiths and the unaffiliated rose, according to a Pew demographic study released this year. Religion may be presented as part of a secular educational program. Some schools cling to old traditions of celebrating Christmas by holding Christmas concerts with sacred music and taping Christmas decorations to the classroom door. High school students in Modesto, California take a world religions class in order to graduate — the only public high school with such a requirement. In teaching about the beliefs and traditions of other people, the subject promotes discernment and enables pupils to combat prejudice. More than half of Americans know that the Koran is the holy book of Islam. For more than a decade, most states have required world religion to be taught as part of social studies and geography standards. A young Sikh man recalled his first week in kindergarten and how his peers tore off his patka (the religious head covering he wore). Many people wrongly view religion as a taboo subject, not to be discussed in America’s public schools. The educators complained, and the school responded by posting a tiny “Happy Hanukkah” sign in the office and leaving “Merry Christmas” on the marquee. In a pluralist and diverse society, religion offers only segregation and ignorance. Yet, the examples above are rare. Critics argue that it has no place in schools, which should be ‘neutral’ – free from the intolerance, extremism and illiberalism which they say religion engenders. School Report is brought to you by ©2020 Archant. They take field trips to a mosque and Jewish temple. Please also opt me in for Exclusive Offers from Beliefnet’s Partners, From time to time you will also receive Special Offers from our partners. But less than a third could answer this: What is the religion of most people in Indonesia? As education becomes increasingly utilitarian, viewed often as a means merely of contributing to a skills-based economy, religious education can encourage pupils to think, and to develop their own sense of identity. According to a 2010 survey by the Pew Research Center, a little more than half of those polled thought teachers were prohibited from offering a class comparing the world’s religions, while only 36 percent (correctly) thought it was legal to offer such courses. Sure, most Americans know that a 1963 Supreme Court ruling prohibited public school teachers from leading a class in prayer. Does it make a difference? One pair of educators ran into conflicts with their high school’s front office staff, who kept putting “Merry Christmas” on the outside marquee. Religious Knowledge shows that adults fared poorly on a quiz about the world’s religions. Typically, schools teach about religion briefly in secondary social studies. 3 Promotion of Religious Aspects One of the key arguments in allowing the teaching of religion in schools is that it promotes the beneficial aspects of religion, not sectarianism. On a grander scale, the 2010 Pew survey on U.S. We heard somewhere that teaching about religions was a violation of church and state, but it is not. Improved Morals Public schools are dealing with some very heavy issues in the recent years. Religious education is perhaps one curricular subject which asks more questions than it answers. Teachers in the suburban town of Wellesley, Massachusetts spend half the school year teaching the world’s religions to sixth graders. The educators showed the school administrator what his handbook said — that educators cannot give preference to one faith over another in a public setting. Insights, features and interviews from Britains best independent and boarding schools. Beliefnet is a lifestyle website providing feature editorial content around the topics of inspiration, spirituality, health, wellness, love and family, news and entertainment. The answer: Muslim. It helps kids develop psychologically. Most didn’t know that Friday evening was the start of the Jewish Sabbath or that the Dalai Lama was a Buddhist. They debate the pros and cons of not having school on Muslim holidays. Even in faith schools, which promote the tenets and values of a particular religion, pupils are encouraged to question rather than to accept passively any given creed. Programs that "teach about religion" are geared toward teaching students about the role of religion in the historical, cultural, literary and social development of the United States and other nations.
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