District Administration November 2017 - 39

CONTENT CHECK-Jodi Ide, a
teacher at Brighton High School
in Utah, says parents have
never complained about the
content in her world religion
class-and no students have
ever changed faiths.

TEACHING, not PREACHING
Studying world religions can foster tolerance,
but public schools must also respect students' rights

T

eaching religion in public schools
has been illegal for decades. Teaching about religion, however, is not
only permissible, but is gaining traction as a way to promote greater understanding in a world of conflicting dogmas.
The National Council for the Social
Studies in June published guidelines on
how to study religion "in ways that are
constitutionally sound" and consistent
with accepted standards for what students
should know in history, civics, geography
and economics.
"The study of religion from an aca-

DAmag.me/preach
www.DistrictAdministration.com

By Tim Goral
demic, non-devotional perspective in
primary, middle and secondary school is
critical for decreasing religious illiteracy
and the bigotry and prejudice it fuels,"
the guidelines state.
Around the same time that NCSS
released its guidelines, Kentucky Gov.
Matt Bevin signed a so-called Bible Literacy law that lets local school boards
develop a limited-scope elective as part of
their social studies curriculum.
The class, as described by the law,
would focus solely on the Hebrew scriptures and the Old and New Testaments to
"provide students knowledge of biblical
content, characters, poetry and narratives
that are prerequisites to understanding
contemporary society and culture."
The American Civil Liberties Union

of Kentucky has announced it will
monitor how school boards put the law
into practice.
The group expressed concern about
the omission of non-Judeo-Christian
texts from the scope of the class. Educated citizens need to be religiously literate about all faiths, not just the JudeoChristian faiths, the group believes.
"Right now the language of the bill
is very vague and the Kentucky Department of Education has not yet put
together a curriculum," says Amber
Duke, communications manager for the
Kentucky ACLU.
"The concern," she adds, "is that you
could have a curriculum that is constitutional and could be delivered in a manner that is not constitutional."
November 2017 39

DESERET NEWS / LAURA SEITZ

CURRICULUM ROUNDUP

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

District Administration November 2017 - Cover1
District Administration November 2017 - Cover2
District Administration November 2017 - 1
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