Okay, It’s Beyond Me: Should the Curriculum of Any Public School Include a Class about “Enduring Beliefs in the World Today” – a.k.a., Religion – that Includes Field Trips to Religious Services?
… though in the case of the Wellesley Middle School, the field trip in question inexplicably included student observation (which turned into something more for some of the boy students; thus, generating keen attention from outside of the school district to this field trip and an apology [PDF] from the superintendent) of the service of only one religion. I have e-mailed the teacher to ask why this was and whether the program would be modified to include observation of the services of the other religions studied in the course.
But for the sake of this discussion, let’s stipulate a hypothetical course that includes observation of the service of all religions studied. Should such a course even be taught at a public (k-12) school?
My initial reaction was “no”, in part, because it strikes me that religion is the primary purview of the parent and mainly because of what happened on this field trip: participation was invited and supervising teachers were too lax or too misguidedly polite to intercede. But is this hindsight casting an unwarranted negative pall on an otherwise good course idea?