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Faith Ed: Teaching About Religion in an Age of Intolerance
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Faith Ed: Teaching About Religion in an Age of Intolerance

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  77 ratings  ·  27 reviews
A look at the debate over religion in public schools—and how to best teach children religious literacy and tolerance
Veteran education journalist Linda K. Wertheimer has traveled the nation listening to all sides of the controversy surrounding the teaching of religion in public schools, interviewing clergy, teachers, children, and parents who are Muslim, Jewish, Christia
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published August 18th 2015 by Beacon Press
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Living in a county that recently experienced a controversy in the teaching about Islam in a public school's world religions course, I was interested to read about similar situations in other parts of the country. This is a terrific book that confirmed for me the need for all Americans to be better educated about world religions and cultures.

Read my full review here: Review of Faith Ed. by Linda K. Wertheimer
Jul 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
You know the cliche "I laughed, I cried, I couldn't put it down?" I don't think I laughed, but I actually did cry reading parts of this—and it *was hard to put down. First of all, I learned so much: Yeah, they teach religion in schools, legally—and that's a good thing! Linda K. Wertheimer answered so many of my questions. I would have liked a little more depth in some spots, but couldn't stop thinking about how I wanted to force an Islamaphobic family member to read this and really understand. T ...more
April Helms
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wertheimer took several years and crossed the country to tackle a sticky issue: teaching religion in the nation's public schools. By teaching, I mean teaching religion in the context of world and national history, and the impact of religion on the shaping of history. This is an issue many districts shy from, and understandably. Aside from abuse or embezzlement, few topics will generate more bad press - deservedly or not- than religion in the classroom, particularly Islam. She illustrates the con ...more
Jennifer Mangler
Jan 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: education
Wertheimer takes a mostly anecdotal look at how public schools teach about religion and at various controversies that have erupted in different schools across the country in response to this. I think anyone who teaches about religion would find this book enlightening and useful.
Patricia M Thompson
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Nicely written book. The question is what is right and what is going too far. Religion is a personal choice. However, I am thankful for my education in different religions it is what formed me with who I am. Being more informed made me more understanding and respectiful to others peoples choice. I may not agree with the grade level to begin but I am glad their are people trying to make things right in education with Faith Education. The last half of the tigle in the Age of Intolerance, personall ...more
Charlie Hersh
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education, religion
Fascinating book! A bit more anecdotal than I was expecting, but learning that the author is a journalist, that makes more sense. I do wish that the penultimate chapter, which looks at the larger picture of secular religious education in the US, was closer to the beginning, to have that historical framework throughout the rest of the text. It takes a while to get to the main practical conclusion -- teachers must walk on eggshells in fear of parents' misunderstandings to teach religion in their c ...more
Ray Grasshoff
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Largely an anecdotal, case study of the challenges faced by public schools as they try to secularly educate students about the world’s major religions, this well-written book provides welcome insights from across the country. The latter part of the book recognizes what seems to be a successful comparative religion course in California, but perhaps a sequel will offer much more, and similarly needed, analysis and conclusions, leading to firm recommendations.
Jo Oehrlein
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: umw-2017, religious
This book is about teaching about world religions in public school, along with the controversies and conflicts that happen. Besides talking about how various places approach teaching about world religions, it talks about why you would want to do so, what the goals of the course are, and how to avoid problems.

Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
These days, especially, call for an understanding of and tolerance for all the world’s religions…starting in the classroom. Linda K. Wertheimer brings her acute observations as a journalist (she was previously the education editor at the Boston Globe) as well as her empathy to this mission. As with all great books, it will open your heart and make you think.
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
how we teach children about other religions in school
Mar 03, 2017 rated it liked it
This book made me angry at times because of the ignorance and intolerance but very hopeful at others that some school systems are doing their best to help educate the next generation with facts and basic information about different faiths. It is hard to truly understand history and discuss current events without some level of understanding of how religion plays such an important role in it all.
Abby Elizabeth
Aug 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
I received this book for free as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.

An interesting look at the difficulties faced by public schools when it comes to religious education. Without knowledge of the world's religions, one cannot be said to have a truly well-rounded education. Particularly in response to the religious intolerance that has taken root in America since 9/11, many public schools have tried to offer classes that somehow incorporate objective, secular lessons about world reli
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Faith Ed is a journalistic look at the state of religious diversity education in the United States. Most of the stories are anecdotal (hence the journalistic) and the ideas seems to be driven from the author's own experience as a Jew in a small school in Ohio which religious diversity wasn't given, only Christian teachings. It is my firm opinion that religious diversity should be taught in ALL schools, public and private, but religion should only be preached at religious schools which is what dr ...more
Feb 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: umw-2017
Argues in favor of teaching about world religions in schools throughout the curriculum (from pre-K or K and up, with special focus at some point in middle school and in high school), generally in association with history or geography lessons.

The book is structured mostly around cases, either of successful/semi-successful religion programs in schools or schools that have had very controversial incidents around the teaching of religion. There are also a couple of chapters that are more personal to
Brad McKenna
Oct 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: sociology, religion, gbg
A series of case studies of when teaching religion in public schools has kicked up a hornet's nest of controversy. Since it's written in the post-9/11 world, the majority of the stories have to to with Islam. There are a few mentions of being Jewish or Atheist in a predominantly Christian country.

The people whom squawked about teaching about other religions really get my goat. (baaa!) If you don't agree with something, that's fine but don't try to censor learning. These people really perpetuate
Jul 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
When Linda Wertheimer was a child, her family moved to rural Ohio, where she and her brothers were the only Jews in their school district. The taunting she received from other kids combined with (and possibly fueled by) the alienating Christian religious schooling integrated into her public school education left a deep scar on her pscyhe. As an adult, she became an education reporter for the Boston Globe and naturally found herself drawn to controversial stories about the intersection of religio ...more
BJ  Brown
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
Faith Ed addresses important questions about how to educate children for the religious diversity that increasingly characterizes the US: Who will teach? What will be taught? How can teachers inform without advocating? When should this start? As early as kindergarten or when critical thinking develops in late middle school and high school? I found Faith Ed's treatment of 'why' disappointing. The book is an awkward mix of memoir and reporting, and focuses more on what's gone wrong, flattening the ...more
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Linda Wertheimer does an excellent job of reviewing several major issues related to education about religion in public schools in a way that is easily accessible for all stakeholders in this discussion: students, parents, teachers, administrators, and policy makers. She is obviously an advocate for educating students about religion in schools, but that doesn't prevent her from problematizing the issue and exploring the messiness of the matter from various angles. She also weaves in plenty of the ...more
Feb 14, 2016 rated it liked it
This is an important topic in the world today as people are exposed to more and different religious beliefs. All too often the instinct is to shun the "outsider" belief system and to hang on to the hate and fear without learning about the similarities or the individuals holding those beliefs. Wertheimer describes how school districts around the US have tried to integrate world religion facts along with history and geography. And that's fine. Teach but don't preach. No religion has been, or can b ...more
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received this book through a GoodReads First Read give-away. I thought the book gave accounts of what teachers went through as they attempted to teach religious tolerance in the classrooms. We all know that religion is a very touchy subject and with world events as they are, people can be judged wrongly. The message repeated with almost every chapter. Other than the book being written more about the intolerance of one or two religions more than others, it was well done. The last couple of chap ...more
Scott Haraburda
Jul 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
An enlightening discussion of what should and should not be discussed about religion in the public school systems within the United States. A useful read for anyone interested in understanding this highly volatile and heated debate.
Jan 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Each chapter is a case study detailing controversies erupting from parents with their child's exposure to certain religions in a World Religion's class. Interesting and informative quick read. Exposes intolerance and how schools must navigate between education and parent concerns.
Jun 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I don't normally read much non-fiction but I really enjoyed this book. So thought provoking.
Sep 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great read about the very diverse country we live in and how some places are doing a better job than others of learning about other faiths in ways that make sense in different settings.
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Oct 08, 2016
Heather Sherwin
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Jul 13, 2017
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May 21, 2017
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Dec 14, 2018
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A veteran journalist, I'm the author of Faith Ed, Teaching About Religion In An Age of Intolerance (published in hardcover by Beacon Press in August 2015. It comes out in paperback in August 2016). The book took me back to a small town in Ohio where I moved in fourth grade and was the only Jew and around the country, where I delved into stories about teachers trying to teach about the world's reli ...more

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