Religious Diversity in Public Education

David Basinger

in The Oxford Handbook of Religious Diversity

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780195340136
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Religious Diversity in Public Education


In the United States, the number of public school students with non-Western cultural values and religious traditions is increasing. The country has a Constitution that ensures, in principle, free exercise of religion. This article discusses religious diversity in public education in the United States, focusing on kindergarten through twelfth grade (K-12). It comments on two common challenges that increasing religious diversity poses for school administrators and school boards. The first is whether religious exemptions or modifications should be granted to students from non-Western religious traditions when the religious norms of these traditions conflict with standard school policy. The second is the fiscal implication of increasing student exposure to religious diversity. The article focuses primarily on the pedagogical question of how the public school teachers ought to respond to the increasing religious diversity to which the children in their class are exposed.

Keywords: United States; religion; public education; teachers; school administrators; school boards; religious exemptions; religious traditions

Article.  6214 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Comparative Religion

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribeRecommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »