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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

How Young is Too Young? Teaching About Religion in Public Schools

Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

Liberalism vs Libertarianism

Linda K. Wertheimer
Journalist and Author

Date: Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Time: 4:30pm - 6:00pm
Location: Campion 139 (LSOE Faculty Lounge)

Co-sponsored by the Lynch School of Education


Abstract: The place of religion in public schools is a passionately debated topic in American society. While there are some on the right who have grown incensed by the inclusion of Islamic history in the curriculum of some school districts, many have called on government leaders to reserve a place in the public curriculum for discussions about different faith traditions. Stemming from a Boston Globe Magazine cover story about the controversy surrounding a Massachusetts' middle school's field trip to a local mosque, Linda K. Wertheimer chronicles the public debate about religion in America's public schools in her newest book. 

Linda Wertheimer

Linda K. Wertheimer is the author of Faith Ed: Teaching About Religion In An Age of Intolerance(Beacon Press). The book chronicles public schools’ efforts to teach about the world’s religions in several regions of the country and stems from a Boston Globe Magazine cover story she wrote about Wellesley Middle School’s challenges after it faced controversy for taking children on a field trip to a mosque. She worked full-time for major metro newspapers for more than 20 years, including serving as education editor of The Boston Globe and as a reporter at The Dallas Morning News and The Orlando Sentinel. She has won numerous awards for her writing, including second prize from the Education Writers Association. She was a 2014 finalist in the Massachusetts Cultural Council artist fellowship awards for an excerpt from Faith Ed.

Wertheimer holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and lives in Lexington, Massachusetts, with her husband and son. She teaches at Grub Street, a writers’ organization in Boston, and teaches journalism part-time at Boston University.

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In the News

Last month, former education editor of the Boston Globe, Linda K. Wertheimer spoke about the importance of comparative religious education in our public schools in an interview with Radio Boston. Next month she will speak on the topic at Boston College in an event organized by the Boisi Center and the Lynch School of Education.  

The debate about the place of religion in public schools is renewed every September when students return to the classroom. In recent years, many conservatives have grown outraged by the inclusion of Islamic history in the curriculum of some schools. In a country that has grown increasingly diverse in the religious sphere, others have called on school districts to respect the faith traditions of all students. In a Nov. 10 talk at the Boisi Center, journalist and author Linda K. Wertheimer will argue that discussions of and respect for different faith traditions deserve a prominent place in the public curriculum.