Task Force: Religion in School
You have been selected to take part in a new initiative that seeks to improve teaching about religion and increase tolerance and acceptance of all religions. Your goal is to try and design a curriculum that teaches about religion while considering past curricula that did not do so effectively.
Why Are We Doing This?
Helen Keller once said, “The highest result of education is tolerance.” Teaching religion and teaching about religion are two very different ideas- the former is devotional and not educational. Public schools are not allowed to teach a religion in order to enforce the constitutional idea of the separation of church and state (the idea that everyone should feel free to practice a faith of their choice without facing government coercion). Here we ask you to try and design a curriculum that teaches about religion to promote tolerance and acceptance.
- Before you begin, research information about how schools in the United States teach religion. Visit this site to learn more about teaching about religion.
- Then, try to come up with a curriculum to teach about religion in schools.
- What does your curriculum look like?
- What religions will be taught about?
- Are there any religions you will focus on the intolerance of in our nation? Which one(s) and why?
- How will you ensure that false stereotypes are not taught through this curriculum?
- Think through the possible objections about your curriculum that someone might have.
- Share with the group and see if you can convince them that your curriculum best teaches about religion and increases tolerance and acceptance of all religions.
Things to Keep in Mind:
- You do not have to come up with an exhaustive list of characteristics for your curriculum. Choose a few that you are prepared to defend.
- Try to brainstorm religions that may have faced discrimination in the United States and how the issue may be addressed in a sensitive manner.