ERIC Number: ED260018
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Jul-15
Reference Count: 0
Religion in American Textbooks: A Review of the Literature.
This section, from a larger report describing a project designed to systematically investigate how religious and traditional values are represented in today's public school curricula, presents a review of the literature focusing on studies that have analyzed the treatment of religion and values in elementary and secondary textbooks. This survey is supplemented by an examination of a sampling of literature anthologies used in upper elementary and secondary English classes, health/sex education textbooks, secondary biology texts, elementary social studies texts and textbooks used in civics/government and history classes. Using a table categorizing types of sex and ethnic bias (McCune, Matthews and Gall) and the "Humanist Manifesto" developed by the author, texts were analyzed to determine whether religious and traditional values and beliefs are accorded equitable treatment. Findings indicate that the literature anthologies contain materials which expose students to traditional religious values, with amounts varying from negligible to significant depending upon whether the texts contain writings from earlier periods. The examination of three health/sex education textbooks and four secondary biology texts revealed the consistent taking of sides on controversial issues in the health/sex education texts and a shift from the traditional focus on biological concepts to controversial socio-moral issues in the secondary biology texts. Analysis of social studies texts also revealed an underrepresentation of the role of religious belief and the church in society as well as a misrepresentation or underrepresentation of traditional values. (LH)
Descriptors: Bias, Controversial Issues (Course Content), Educational Research, Elementary Secondary Education, Equal Education, Ethnic Bias, Literature Reviews, Moral Values, Public Schools, Religion, Science Instruction, Social Studies, Textbook Bias, Textbook Content, Textbook Evaluation, Textbook Research, Traditionalism, Values, Values Education
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: New York Univ., NY. Dept. of Psychology.
Note: Section 1, Part 1 of Equity in Values Education: Do the Values Education Aspects of Public School Curricula Deal Fairly with Diverse Belief Systems? Final Report, July 1985 (SO 016 857).