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ERIC Number: EJ870337
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Sep
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 14
ISSN: ISSN-0141-6200
How Teaching World Religions Brought a Truce to the Culture Wars in Modesto, California
Lester, Emile; Roberts, Patrick S.
British Journal of Religious Education, v31 n3 p187-199 Sep 2009
Despite a growing consensus among scholars and activists about the importance of religion, proposals for teaching about it have often been a source of division rather than unity in American public school districts. Faced with familiar cultural conflicts, Modesto, California, chose to become the first public school district in the USA to require all high school students to take an extended and independent course in world religions. The results of the first, large-scale empirical research on the effects of teaching about religion in USA public schools provides evidence that Modesto's bold approach was worth the risk. Surveys and interviews administered to students show statistically significant increases in students' knowledge about other religions, and levels of passive tolerance--willingness to refrain from discrimination--and active tolerance--willingness to act to counter discrimination. The course has not been the subject of lawsuits or complaints by parents and has gained acceptance among all of Modesto's religious groups. (Contains 1 table and 3 notes.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California