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Religion in public schools....

Started by wpaolini, 06/15/2011 02:29PM
Posted 06/15/2011 02:29PM | Edited 06/15/2011 02:30PM Opening Post
Of course teaching of religion in public schools in a violation of separation of church and state. However, religious programs usually heavily emphasize morals and ethics, neither of which is emphasized in public schools (based on my experience).

An interesting thing of late is some of the rise in religious schools to educate our children instead of public schools. As example, Islamic schools in the U.S. has grown 25% since 2006. And in a 1999 poll American's felt private schools (religious included) better educated children than public schools.

So what should we do with public schools in terms of moral and ethical education? Do you think it would be an improvement overall if public schools K-12 were required to have in addition to the basics teaching in ethics and morals appropriate to the American culture as a way of putting back this loss with no religious education allowed in public schools?

Given the typical news these days with the immoral and unethical antics of Hollywood stars and Congress staff, I think we sorely need this in America. When looking at college for our daughter we ended up having her attend Loyola University that system, which is run by the Jesuits, although totally secular in their curriculum they have as a requirement a core set of classes in ethics in society as part of the charter of the system is to raise business leaders who will have both a higher ethical standard and also give back to the community. So this was unique to the colleges we looked at and favored well with us.

So what about our hurting grade and high schools where moral and ethical example and education is a wasteland??
Posted 06/15/2011 02:42PM #1
William Paolini said:


So what should we do with public schools in terms of moral and ethical education? Do you think it would be an improvement overall if public schools K-12 were required to have in addition to the basics teaching in ethics and morals appropriate to the American culture as a way of putting back this loss with no religious education allowed in public schools?


It would be fine if we left religion out of it. Do you think that would happen?

Uncle Rod

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Posted 06/15/2011 02:45PM #2
William Paolini said:

Of course teaching of religion in public schools in a violation of separation of church and state. However, religious programs usually heavily emphasize morals and ethics, neither of which is emphasized in public schools (based on my experience).

An interesting thing of late is some of the rise in religious schools to educate our children instead of public schools. As example, Islamic schools in the U.S. has grown 25% since 2006. And in a 1999 poll American's felt private schools (religious included) better educated children than public schools.

So what should we do with public schools in terms of moral and ethical education? Do you think it would be an improvement overall if public schools K-12 were required to have in addition to the basics teaching in ethics and morals appropriate to the American culture as a way of putting back this loss with no religious education allowed in public schools?

Given the typical news these days with the immoral and unethical antics of Hollywood stars and Congress staff, I think we sorely need this in America. When looking at college for our daughter we ended up having her attend Loyola University that system, which is run by the Jesuits, although totally secular in their curriculum they have as a requirement a core set of classes in ethics in society as part of the charter of the system is to raise business leaders who will have both a higher ethical standard and also give back to the community. So this was unique to the colleges we looked at and favored well with us.

So what about our hurting grade and high schools where moral and ethical example and education is a wasteland??

I would not approve of moral and ethics training in K-12 grades. The issue is that, I, as the parent will likely have a different moral and ethics code than the government school as well as a different source for the basis and foundation of that moral and ethical code. I don't want competition in this area from purely humanistic insitution. Colleges and universities already have business and medical ethics classes and that is fine. The responsibility for imparting morals and ethics to children K-12 is the parents and their rights as parents to impart this to thier children should not be infringed.

I don't think it would be an improvement. Parents have given up to much of their responsibility as it is, so if anything parents need to be re-educated as to proper raising of kids. One contributing factor to the erosion of the transfer of parental morals and ethics is the fact that many parents have turned over the raising of thier kids to indifferent strangers in daycare centers. This is a shame. Also, the decline started in the mid 1960's after the removeal of bible and prayer from public schools. Until we get back to our judeao-christian foundation, nothing will improve.

Doug Matulis
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"I need something to put here, can you help? wink "
Posted 06/15/2011 04:28PM #3
Morals and Ethics should not be taught but shown by all adults surrounding children.
Posted 06/16/2011 04:40PM #4
I think ethics, morals, and character education should absolutely be embedded in school curricula. Perhaps not in formal classes, but in class discussions: English-class reading assignments, history classes, sportsmanship discussions in PE, and discussions about whether frogs really need to be dissected in biology. I think lots of kids are being raised poorly by parents and are growing up with big moral and ethical blind spots (i.e. Michael Vick).

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Posted 06/17/2011 04:23AM #5
I would not be in favor of adding another subject to the public school system as a solution to the problem. Basic morality and ethics are something that is already known to all people, and they are reinforced in the child by the parents who believe in them. They have to be not only taught, but shown in action by the example of the parent. What makes a moral different is that you have to believe a moral in order to follow it. Knowing a fact that stealing is wrong doesn't change someone's behavior. As long as they believe they might get caught, they probably won't steal. But if they don't really believe in their heart that stealing is wrong, and they can get away with it, they will steal when the opportunity presents itself.

Of course the child may not have parents that are doing this, and that is the point you are making. That's when the community needs to help. If a child doesn't have a parent, then we should step up to the plate when possible. For instance, we have single moms at out church that need help. They have to work to support the family, and can't always be there with the kids. As a church body, we help out. A lot of secular organizations could do similar things.
Posted 06/17/2011 12:23PM #6
The best way for teachers to teach morality and ethics is by example. No need for a K-12 class for it. If the teachers have some basic training in it, they can lead by example in any of the myriad situations that come up in school where moral/ethical choices have to be made.

As far as religion, it's not a violation of the Constitution to teach ABOUT religion. Obviously, lots of schools do that, teaching comparative religions or whatever they call it to grade schoolers all over the country. Of course it's full of PC BS, like only teaching the 'nice' Surahs of Mecca and not the hyperviolent Surahs of Medina.

As long as they don't teach religion in science class, I'm OK with it. No creation science, or creation for that matter. It has no place in science, regardless of how they spin it or minimized evolution as a 'theory'. Put up a Christmas tree and call it a Christmas tree, that's fine with me.
Posted 06/17/2011 02:02PM #7
Let me cite a revealing case. Somewhere about 30 years ago, the local law school where I lived decided to add some questions about ethics to its exams. They had never done that before, and the faculty wasn't sure how the questions should contribute to the exam results. They came up with 4 questions. Most of the faculty felt the questions were so obvious that any student who missed any of them should be failed. However, since this was the first time this had been tried, they decided to include them on the exam, but not count toward the final grade. That was maybe a good decision because, as it turned out, over 80% of the students got all 4 questions wrong! That does not exactly support the notion that people have a natural sense of ethics -- or maybe it's just people who want to become lawyers who don't.
Posted 06/18/2011 07:41AM #8
Posted 06/18/2011 01:05PM #9
I'll jump in. I am not sure that teaching about religion is prohibited in public schools. I think that teaching a comparative religion course or a course on mythology is permitted. (Naturally, some may think these are synonymous courses, others have different opinions.) What is prohibited is advocating a particular religious belief.

Ed