Church/State Issues, Update on Faith Ed

Thought you’d enjoy my latest piece of writing – a post for The Huffington Post in response to a school district that advertised for a superintendent with Christian values. Yes, some school systems have not yet realized that it’s unconstitutional to promote one religion. You can find that article at this link.

Meanwhile, in other news, my new Writing About Religion class at Grub Street is just about full. There are just four spots left. The class will be next Tuesday, March 31, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Grub Street in Boston. I’m looking forward to sharing some of what I’ve learned writing and reporting about religion the last several years and also learning from the participants as well.

As for Faith Ed, the book is moving along. I posted the description before, but I’ll post it here again for the new subscribers to my reader list:

A look at the debate over religion in public schools—and how to best teach children religious literacy and tolerance

Veteran education journalist Linda K. Wertheimer has traveled the nation listening to all sides of the controversy surrounding the teaching of religion in public schools, interviewing clergy, teachers, children, and parents who are Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Sikh, and atheist. In Lumberton, Texas, a hundred people filled a school board meeting to protest a teacher’s dress-up exercise in which a girl was allowed to try on a burka during a lesson on Islam. In Tampa, the head of a Muslim civil rights group spoke to high school history classes about Islam, sparking debate about which guest speakers are appropriate. In Wichita, a Messianic Jewish family’s opposition to an elementary school’s display about Islam led to such upheaval that the school hired extra security. But in Modesto, the heart of California’s Bible Belt, teachers have avoided problems since 2000, when the district began requiring high school freshmen to take a world religions course. Students learn to fight for their rights and those of religious minorities who once seemed alien. Wertheimer’s fascinating investigation reveals a public education system struggling to find the right path forward and offers a promising roadmap for raising a generation of religiously literate Americans.

You can see that same description now anywhere books are sold. Faith Ed is available for pre-order. (Some missing elements of the description: One chapter looks at the controversial Wellesley Middle School field trip to a mosque in 2010 and the school’s sixth-grade curriculum that focuses on the world’s religions. Another chapter tells my own story of going back to Ohio where I was the only Jew in my public school in the ’70s and ’80s. You’ll see a little snippet of those experiences in the article posted above.

Thanks, as always, for reading.


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