ERIC Number: ED193128
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1963
Reference Count: 0
The Treatment of Religion in Elementary School Social Studies Textbooks.
Harris, Judah J.
This study, undertaken in 1963, analyzed the references made to religion in elementary social studies textbooks. The report was intended to inform authors, publishers, and teachers and enable them to correct errors, supply omissions, and omit irrelevant material. The textbooks used in the study consisted of 120 elementary (grades 1-6) public school social studies textbooks shelved in the Social Studies Division of the Teachers' Central Laboratory of Hunter College, New York City. Major findings included the following. The belief that nothing in the textbooks could violate the religious feelings of public school students was not true. Many books presented Protestantism in a more favorable light than Catholicism and Christianity more favorably than Judaism. There were definite sectarian tendencies in the textbooks. A numerical analysis of the subject matter revealed a disproportionate quantitative predominance of references to Christianity, even after the predominance of Christians in our population was taken into consideration. The texts portrayed present-day religion as no longer being a potent molding force in our society. This impression was conveyed by the tendency of the texts to discuss fully the role of religion in the past, but to give a sketchy, incomplete description of the part played by religion in contemporary culture. Christianity was depicted as being limited in its influence to moral and spiritual matters through church attendance, worship, and welfare work. Virtually nothing was said about Jewish life in America today. The historical facts about religious conflicts and persecutions were being presented in an inadequate fashion by the elementary social studies textbooks. (Author/RM)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: B'nai B'rith, New York, NY. Anti-Defamation League.