- The Oxford Handbook of Religion and American Education
- Religion, Privatization, and American Educational Policy
- Secularism and Religion in American Education
- Pluralism in Religion and American Education
- Religious Literacy in American Education
- Religious Liberty in American Education
- Democracy, Religion, and American Education
- Faith Development
- Moral Education
- Religious Education in the Traditions
- Religious Education Between the Traditions
- Private Religious Schools
- Religion and Homeschooling
- Public Funding of Private Religious Schools
- Religiously Affiliated Charter Schools
- Law and Religion in American Education
- Religious Expression in Public Schools
- Religion and the Public School Curriculum
- The Bible and American Public Schools
- Religion, Extracurricular Activities, and Access to Public School Facilities
- Religious Freedom, Common Schools, and the Common Good
- Religion in Mainline and Independent Private Higher Education
- Evangelical Higher Education
- Catholic Higher Education
- Religion and Spirituality in Public Higher Education
- Theological Education
- Religion, Spirituality, and College Students
- Religion, Spirituality, and College Faculty
- Teaching Religious Studies
- Teaching About Religion Outside of Religious Studies
- Campus Ministry
Abstract and Keywords
There is perhaps no better setting that exhibits the perennial tension between the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause than American public schools. The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the US Constitution ensures that students may retain their religious beliefs, practices, identities, and rights when they enter public schools. The free exercise principle also protects government employees; however, the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prevents teachers and administrators, as agents of the state, from entangling the public school in religious activities or engaging in school speech that advances or endorses religion. This chapter illustrates how these two principles––free exercise of religion and non-establishment of religion––form the concept known as religious freedom. Attempting to strike this balance are public schools, which are required to serve the entire public, whether religious or not. Those within the school—both teachers and students—may be religious and wish to express their religion or to express their critique of or nonaffiliation with religion. This chapter explores different forms of religious expression for both students and teachers and details the unconstitutional nature of laws that seek to target religion for regulation or fail to accommodate religion in public schools.
Kevin R. Pregent, originally from central New York, is an instructor at the Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum Institute in Washington, DC, where he previously served as a law and religion fellow. He received his BA from the University of Delaware and is in his final year of a JD degree program at Vanderbilt University Law School. He is a contributing author to Religion in American Education: A Legal Encyclopedia (Rowman & Littlefield).
Nathan C. Walker is the executive director of 1791 Delegates, a consortium of constitutional and human rights experts who consult on issues of religion and public life. Walker is the author of Cultivating Empathy: The Worth and Dignity of Every Person—Without Exception (Skinner House Press, 2016) and Exorcising Preaching: Crafting Intellectually Honest Worship (Chalice Press, 2014). He is the co-editor with Edwin J. Greenlee of Whose God Rules? Is the United States a Secular Nation or a Theolegal Democracy? (Palgrave MacMillan, 2011). He is a contributing author to The Oxford Encyclopedia of Politics and Religion, edited by Paul Djupe (Oxford University Press, 2019); Religion in American Education: A Legal Encyclopedia, edited by Charles J. Russo (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019); and co-author with Lyal S. Sunga of Promoting and Protecting the Universal Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief through Law (International Development Law Organization, 2017). Formerly a resident fellow in law and religion at Harvard Divinity School, Walker received his doctorate in law, education, and religion from Columbia University, where he received his Master of Arts and Master of Education degrees. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary and is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister. His website is www.ReligionAndPubliclife.com.
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.