Precocious little Albert is right...the campaign, which I gather is trying, rather vaguely, to get "religion back into schools" because it's allegedly knowledge like any other, is not. Public schools should teach ABOUT religions - emphasis on the plural - they should not proselytize or promote one over any other. That is absolutely not the place of public education, for a myriad of reasons. If parents want their children to learn about their own religion, they should either teach it to them themselves or send them to parochial school, or both. Is this a PSA for the purpose of re-instituting school prayer? It's not really clear. Maybe it's there in a code that I no longer speak.It seems to be arguing that schools are worse off for discontinuing the prayer practice, and I simply can't get behind that statement. This IS a multi-religious nation; public schools are one of the cornerstones of our democracy; to have students subjected to any kind of religious practice is just wrong. If people want to pray on their own, who cares? They've been doing that all along, it's not like anyone can stop what's in your head. What's the need for pushing it on others? This isn't Saudi Arabia.Stuff like this riles me.
Wow, I struck a nerve, Molly! If you go to the YouTube page where the video is posted, it says that it was created by the New Movement New Ideas Company for the Government of the Republic of Macedonia. I don't think it has much to do with the issue of prayer in schools - in fact, all it says in the overview is, "Religion is knowledge, too" and "Knowledge is power". But about the role of public schools: it's not their place to broach the topic of religion, or emphasize one over the others, what is their role? I'm not suggesting that their primary role ought to be teaching kids about religion; rather, I'm trying to understand what you think public schools ought to be doing for kids.
I should have looked further into who was behind the PSA and what exactly their purpose is before I posted, although I admit I'm still a little confused about it. I certainly do think it's the place of the public school to broach the topic of religion, but to do so in an ecumenical, even-handed way for an informational rather than evangelical goal. All the YouTube page says is "Headline of commercial: Religion is knowledge, too. Bringing religion back to school. Headline of campaign: Knowledge is power." I guess I'm still just bothered by the vagueness of "bringing religion back to school". That could mean a lot of different things. I apologize if I took this in a way it wasn't meant to go; I googled the company you mentioned and couldn't find anything, so this is all I have to go on. I also wrongly assumed that this commercial was aimed at American education, when apparently it's about those of Macedonia...not a place I know much about, but a quick Wikipedia search informs that the population is a third Islamic and the rest, largely Macedonian Orthodox. I wouldn't purport to tell them how to run their school system, but it's not a theocratic nation, so I guess I feel my comments still apply.I believe public schools ought to prepare students for the global environment they're going to face; so in addition to reading-writing-arithmetic, I believe there should be a place for the study of world religions/cultures (as many as possible) and languages (as many as possible, although in my experience unless you attend a very large school, the offerings are limited). I just think that's part of globalization; the world is, simultaneously, so much bigger and smaller than it used to be.
Though Dan Dennet deals with several topics in this talk at TED, part of it is relevant to this discussion. Check it out: http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_dennett_s_response_to_rick_warren.html.Although, I unequivically disagree with his basic foundation of evolution and unbelief in God, I think his proposal to educate school children more on religions in general is good. Even if you're an athiest, you have to admit that the Bible pervades so much of our culture and in many ways is the foundation of our culture, history, and law (even if America is not governed BY the Bible, our historical political roots are still grounded in Biblical ideas that have helped develop our political system over hundreds of years). And Biblical literacy would be beneficial to Americans. Equally, I think that Americans could greatly benefit from being knowledgable about the Qur'an, hadiths, and other books of religions, and their subsequent developments.As Dennett observes, democracy depends on informed citizenship and consent, and frankly, as a nation we're pretty illiterate when it comes to religion.
We're pretty illiterate about it a lot of things, when you get right down to it, but Ryan and Molly, you both make great points - instruction about world religions would be a great asset to public school education. No disagreements here!
Post a Comment