Essay about Does Religion belong in Public Schools?

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When looking at the history of America, it is fascinating to see how the public schooling system even got started. The first schools in America were not public schools, as many would presume. Instead, “the first schools in the United States were religious and not secular” (Elifson 1). Nearly all public schools, up to the 1960’s incorporated religion and prayer in their classrooms; however, in the last 50 years, prayer and religion in public schools has been debated over countless times. Even in Hudsonville, Michigan, which holds the record in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most churches on a single street, there is much debate over prayer and the teaching of Christianity, or any religion, in the public schools. When I was in grade school, I remember the controversy over the valedictorian at Hudsonville High School who wanted to pray with her students at graduation. However, due to recent laws that legislators have passed, the school would not allow her to pray with her classmates. Even with the laws siding more often with the separation of church and state, there are many scholars that still support prayer in schools and believe that it does not violate the constitution but betters the education experience. Others argue that it contradicts the constitution, and that many schools do not follow the constitution when teaching creationism and prayer in public schools.
People who support the teaching of religions in public schools argue that it is essential for the students to learn the background of many religions in order to understand the cultural issues that materialize in the world today. Samuel Ayers and Shelly Reid are two educators at schools in Texas and they agree with this statement. They argue constant...

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...chool: The Experience of One Texas District. Social Studies, 96(1), 14-17. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Boston, R. (2007, June). There Should Not Be Prayer and Bible Study in Public Schools. the Humanist, 67, 38. Retrieved March 4, 2011, from Opposing Viewpoints in Context.
Eric Woodrum; Thomas, H. (n.d). Support for Prayer in School and Creationism. Sociological Analysis, 53(3), Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Kirk W. Elifson; C. Kirk, H. (n.d). Prayer in Public Schools: When Church and State Collide. The Public Opinion Quarterly, 49(3), Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Urbina, I. (2010, January 20). Teacher With a Bible Divides an Ohio Town. New York Times. p. 11. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Walsh, S., & Demere, T. A. (2000, December 7). Creationism Should Not Be Taught in Public Schools. Facts, Faith, and Fairness. Retrieved March 1, 2011, from Opposing Viewpoints in Context.

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