District Administration September 2017 - 18

BeyondtheNews

By Tim Goral
Whether and how religion should be
taught in public schools is one of those
perennial hot buttons in America that
seems to defy consensus. So when the
National Council for the Social Studies
this past June released new guidelines
for teaching religion in schools, it raised
questions. The council's goal, however,
was not to simply "teach religion," but to
increase religious literacy by having students study the social and political roles
that various religions play in society.
Effective citizenship in diverse world
Nearly 315 religions and denominations
exist in the U.S. alone, and NCSS has
long held that they should be a key part
of the social studies curriculum-as
long as the instruction is constitutionally and academically sound. "Knowl-

edge about religions is not only a characteristic of an educated person but is
necessary for effective and engaged citizenship in a diverse nation and world,"
the council notes in the guidelines.
"Religious literacy dispels stereotypes,
promotes cross-cultural understanding,
and encourages respect for the rights of
others to religious liberty."
John Camardella, a social studies
teacher at Prospect High School in a
Chicago suburb, has taught world religion electives in public schools for the
last dozen years, and notes a crucial distinction in the wording used.
"For example, if you say you 'teach
religion' in a public school-that's dangerous," Camardella told the Chicago
Tribune. "It's not descriptive enough.
The key to this is we teach about reli-

GETTYIMAGES.COM: PETERHERMESFURIAN

NCSS offers new guidelines
for religious studies

gion in public schools."
The NCSS guidelines are a supplement to its 2014 College, Career, and
Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social
Studies State Standards. The updated
guidelines (DAmag.me/c3rs) were developed to support states in creating
standards that prepare young people for
effective and successful participation in
college, careers and civic life.
Tim Goral is senior editor.

MOVERS AND SHAKERS
Superintendent Bilal
Tawwab of Flint
Community Schools in
Michigan has expanded
staff to support
students harmed by
lead-tainted water.
Tawwab introduced
meditation classes in
order to calm students suffering from
anxiety, and has focused on hiring
additional social workers, school
psychologists, speech pathologists
and behavior specialists. Students also
receive free breakfast that includes
lead-mitigating foods, such as fruits
and vegetables, and receive hand wipes
if they can't wash up at home due to
polluted water. During Tawwab's twoyear tenure, the district's graduation
rate, test scores and enrollment have
improved.
18 September 2017

Thelma Meléndez de Santa
Ana became state-appointed
administrator for Texas' Inglewood
USD in August. Meléndez comes
to the district amid financial
troubles, mismanagement and
high leadership turnover. A
priority for district leaders is to
boost enrollment and academic
performance. She also plans
to support new dual-language
programs to keep students from
leaving the district. Meléndez
previously
served in
Los Angeles
USD, and was
superintendent
of Pomona
USD and Santa
Ana USD.

In his first year,
Superintendent
Robert Manahan
of Peninsula
School District in
Washington has
increased staffing
so more teachers
can serve as instructional facilitators
and instructional coaches to support
developing new educators.
Manahan has also added two CTE
programs for juniors and seniors. The
first, a pre-apprenticeship course,
prepares students for construction,
masonry, plumbing, electrical
work and welding. The second, a
teacher academy, allows students
to shadow teachers in classrooms,
design learning projects and earn
paraeducator certification.

District Administration


http://www.GETTYIMAGES.COM http://www.DAmag.me/c3rs

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration September 2017

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