Every month we publish two articles on “Shady Oak Best Practices,” our favorite approaches to education and why they work. If friends ask why you send your kids to Shady Oak instead of a “regular” school, refer them to this series—and the science backing us up—for starters.
Time was when the Bible was routinely taught in public schools—not just as classic literature but as a guide to life—and prayer opened every school day. While that may not be practical in a modern public school with students from a diversity of faith traditions, the approach of “eliminate all mention of religion to avoid offending anyone” hasn’t proven practical either. Besides generating some truly ludicrous situations (schools vs. families have gone to court over innocuous religious quotations on T-shirts and religious books kept in lockers), it robs everyone of any objective frame of reference for behavior. There’s now an increasing awareness of need, in even the most diverse schools, to teach universal moral traditions and allow students to freely express their own beliefs.
If you’re a public-school teacher, you can give religion its fair say without being intolerant, by:
Private schools have more leeway in choosing to emphasize one particular religion and include that religion’s sacred texts and prayer approaches in the official curricula. If you teach at a religious school, remember to:
At Shady Oak, we emphasize chapel and Christian morals because they help students learn integrity, understanding, peace of mind, and a sense of higher purpose.