Faith Ed: Teaching about Religion in an Age of Intolerance
Former Boston Globe education editor and former Dallas Morning News reporter Wertheimer is shocked when swastikas are painted in the boy’s bathroom at a suburban Boston high school near her home. The March 2014 incident forces Wertheimer to recall similar events more than 40 years earlier, when she and her brothers were the only Jewish students in a rural Ohio public school. With skill and intelligence, the veteran interviewer crisscrosses the country in search of a public school program that teaches religious literacy well. What she finds are sincere instructors with little training in how to teach about religions as an academic subject. Despite more than 70 years of effort and several Supreme Court rulings, Wertheimer writes, “There has never been a nationwide movement to make the world’s religions a more integral part of education.” However, religion and public education do not have to be at odds. In this thorough investigation, Wertheimer makes a strong case for developing a public school pedagogy to promote rights, responsibilities, and respect for the richly woven religious fabric found in the United States. (Aug.