Is the pandemic to blame for lower college enrollments? We should question, then, the purpose of these celebrations in schools. Why we go to synagogue, even though I’m an atheist>, What does God mean? While these celebrations and traditions are a part of the fabric of American society, they have the potential to exclude students for a variety of reasons. Quote: "To evaluate (this) claim ... we must venture into the often-dreaded and certainly murky area of Establishment Clause jurisprudence..." 4 th U.S. We've got the platform you need. Sponsored link. ! Improved Morals Public schools are dealing with some very heavy issues in the recent years. Because the Supreme Court has not ruled on the issue, there are no final or definitive answers. Recently there has been a lot of debate on whether or not public schools should celebrate or even acknowledge Christmas. While these celebrations and traditions are a part of the fabric of American societ… For some families, the winter holiday times can bring anxiety, sadness and fear, as family dysfunction or loved ones who have passed are remembered. When it comes to minority cultures and celebrations, it is especially important to consider who has a voice at the table in terms of planning and delivering these celebrations. Many people are against having prayer in school, why take out prayer, but leave in religious holidays? Religious Holidays and Public Schools: A Brief Legal Analysis Although many controversies have arisen over religious holidays in public schools, the case law is scant. Here’s how. In a changing America, getting holidays right in public schools isn’t easy. These questions are critical to take into account. Similarly, holidays such as Mother's Day and Father's Day can bring painful reminders of parents who are no longer living, are absent or who have been abusive — not all students have a loving relationship with their parents. Students may have family and ancestors from various parts of the world, and may have grown up in the United States, but are not necessarily ambassadors or representatives of the culture that their ancestors come from. Dr. Jerry Falwell, president of the Faith and Values Coalition, in an interview with CNN commented that he had a list of 40 areas where “other holidays may be talked about, such as Kwanza or Hanukah, et cetera, but Christmas has be berated.” However, we should be thoughtful about how we approach the subject, and create inclusive dialogue about how, when and why we celebrate each other. Muslim families in New York City have been requesting official recognition for Islamic holidays in public schools for years now, but they may finally see some changes under new Mayor Bill de Blasio. Your Industry Needs YOUR Expert Voice St. Joseph Communications uses cookies for personalization, to customize its online advertisements, and for other purposes. : Answering the tough questions> Others include nonacademic activities such as food or movies. However, they can't require kids to attend school over those holidays, particularly those kids who observe those holidays. Religious Holidays should be celebrated in public schools. Recognition of and information about holidays may focus on how and when they are celebrated, their origins, histo- If compelled to balance competing claims from all religious believers (and, for the sake of fairness, nonbelievers) with practical matters such as weather, national civic holidays, […] To many, these are just regular school or work days. However, according to this CBC article, it doesn’t prevent teachers from neglecting to inform parents their kids are exempt on those days to observe their holiday. 36. Schools should recognize non-Christian religious holidays – … GOVERNMENTS . Seeing as how they have a right to believe and a right to observe a religious holiday, they can't be prohibited from taking time off. However, my three kids will miss out on classroom assignments on Monday since they’ll be at home, celebrating the Jewish New Year. The CCSS state: "Students appreciate that the 21st-century classroom and workplace are settings in which people from often widely divergent cultures and who represent diverse experiences and perspectives must learn and work together. Just like language, it is difficult to imagine a society without them. Just 17% think there should be no religious holiday celebrations in … I’m not arguing that all religious dates should be holidays for staff and students. The leading source for targeted, industry specific news briefs. Not only does it give the days off to Muslim and Jewish students, but it brings increased awareness to the holidays celebrated by other faiths. Students actively seek to understand other perspectives and cultures through reading and listening, and they are able to communicate effectively with people of varied backgrounds. Public school officials need to be especially conscious at this time of year that Christmas is not recognized or celebrated … These guidelines are intended to reflect current law in this area, though on some questions there may be no controlling Supreme Court opinion and the lower courts may be divided. Perhaps one of the first considerations should be which holidays and traditions are celebrated in school — and why. On the other hand, if you have struggling students in your classroom, this could also have the effect of taking away key learning opportunities. How does this activity serve the academic goals of the course, or the The job of public schools is to not to celebrate religious holidays, but to teach students about Christianity and other religions in history, literature, art, and music or wherever in the curriculum study about religions is necessary for a good education. Should public schools celebrate holidays? Emma Waverman is a writer, blogger and mom to three kids. Is there a particular threshold for a number of students or community members when choosing which traditions or holidays to celebrate? Are they meant to bring awareness of the history of the holiday, to bring fun and excitement to the classroom, or to bring unity and assimilation to U.S. culture? Add religion into the mix of considerations and rational planning becomes impossible. Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice), one of the most significant holidays for Muslims, both happen a week later. Religious Holidays in 8 the Public Schools 108 Tips for Planning Religious Holidays in Public Schools Before planning a religious holiday activity in a public school, ask the following questions: 1. Many, if not most, educators hold these celebrations as a welcomed break from academics, and as a way to introduce students from other countries and cultures to the cherished traditions and celebrations of the United States, and introduce students from the U.S. to other cultures, their traditions and celebrations. Every December, public school students, parents, teachers and administrators face the difficult task of acknowledging the various religious and secular holiday traditions celebrated during that time of year. On Monday he discussed the issue on the Brian Lehrer Show, declaring that he planned to move forward with closing schools for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha , as well as for the Lunar New Year. There are Atheists who used to be religious (I know a few) and they used to celebrate holidays according to their tradition, beliefs, or how their religion demands that it be celebrated (such as Catholics or Jews and how they celebrate in December), now they don't anymore but instead just recognize those as days where "Gifts for me!! The same can be said of holidays and traditions that are commonly celebrated in the U.S. Are people who do not celebrate Christmas or Halloween, or another holiday or tradition, present and able to give their input, thoughts and opinions about the subject in a way that is recognized and heard? Religious Holiday Celebrations in Public Schools - Important Reminders (December 2019 School Leader Update) Hmmm, well, perhaps not for everyone. This Monday, September 14, is Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), one of the two most important holidays in the Jewish calendar. At other times a "culture night" may be celebrated, with teachers, parents or students sharing cultural artifacts or traditions in a variety of ways. It’s never easy negotiating the Jewish holidays, and I often find myself disappointed that schools (and workplaces) often need constant reminders about Rosh Hashanah. Building the toolkit for paraprofessional success, Want to use videos to boost your sales? Specific holidays and traditions such as Dia de los Muertos or Kwanza are sometimes celebrated or discussed in schools as well. by "New York Times Upfront"; News, opinion and commentary General interest Public schools International aspects Social aspects Religion Religious beliefs They have. But that is not necessarily the right way to solve the "December Dilemma." Typically, major national holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Mother's Day and Father's Day are discussed and celebrated, with affiliated presentations, parties, and at times art or writing projects affiliated with them. : Answering the tough questions>, Why is my tween suddenly interested in faith?>. Even though my family is not particularly observant, I feel strongly that major religious holidays should be treated equally at school and in the workplace. However, I do think schools have a responsibility to take a closer look at the demographics of their student body and schedule any tests or class events around those significant dates. By Emma Waverman The time taken for these celebrations may well be worthwhile to build community, celebrate and have fun with students. If some students are excluded from these celebrations, are those goals being accomplished? However, schools may consider closing when large numbers of student and teacher absences are anticipated. Or are the people doing the planning only from the majority culture or only people in power? Perhaps one of the first considerations should be which holidays and traditions are celebrated in school — and why. Banning religion from schools is unconstitutional to religious students who want to practice or worship during the school day. It’s even a battle sometimes in the workforce, with many corporations insisting that certain religious holidays be marked down as a vacation day. Why is my tween suddenly interested in faith?>. In terms of celebrations and holiday traditions, what purpose are they serving? Depending on the school, the particular holidays or celebrations chosen may represent the cultures of the student population represented in the school. I see many comments from people who feel that other people are pushing their religious beliefs on them. Editor’s note: The following section on religious holidays contains consensus guidelines drafted and endorsed by a broad range of 17 religious and educational groups. Newdow argued that the wor… Read more: If you have access to a library, you will find it interesting to note what reference books say about holidays … A: Teachers must be alert to the distinction between teaching about religious holidays, which is permissible, and celebrating religious holi-days, which is not. Is it educational for public schools to celebrate these holidays, or unconstitutional? What does God mean? In 2000, Michael Newdow filed suit challenging the phrase on behalf of his daughter, a public school student in California. Holidays and cultural celebrations are an important part of every society and culture. Both Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr (the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting) join Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Christmas and Easter as holidays for everyone. First of all, one should bear in mind that some of the learners may not have any religious beliefs. That figure includes 48% who feel all religious holidays should be celebrated in public schools. Certain cultures and religious traditions, for example, do not celebrate holidays such as Halloween and Christmas, and some students may need to excuse themselves from the classroom during holiday parties and activities. Lunar New Year, celebrated in January or February and is the biggest holiday of the year in Chinese and Korean culture. And the multi-faith calendar educators are provided with doesn’t stop teachers from going ahead and scheduling tests on religious holidays. Which cultures and traditions, then, are celebrated and discussed, and which aren't? Is this activity designed in any way to either promote or inhibit religion? This article shows teachers how to bring rich cultural content into their teaching in a way that expands students' knowledge, interest, and respect for the group being featured. ... Not only does it give the days off to Muslim and Jewish students, but it brings increased awareness to the holidays celebrated by other faiths. In fact, the Common Core State Standards emphasize the ability to understand other's perspectives and cultures as a key college and career readiness skill for the 21st century. The high court has ruled, however, that the government may not erect an explicitly © Copyright 2021 St. Joseph Communications. They evaluate other points of view critically and constructively. September 16, 2002. Dear public schools: Not everyone is Christian. Read more of her articles here and follow her on Twitter @emmawaverman. Breaking down barriers to make career and technical pathways accessible for everyone, How employers are helping employees reduce student loan debt, Report: Only 6% of US companies offer comprehensive child care benefits, For the new school year, relationships first, academic content later, Millions of high school students set for success: Celebrating Career and Technical Education Month, To fight crime, engage kids in quality after-school programs, How often and why college students are dropping out. A Teachable Moment. I’m not arguing that all religious dates should be holidays for staff and students. Academic Language Learning Institute, Inc. What, then, is the origin of such celebrations? Why we go to synagogue, even though I’m an atheist> However, the U.S. public school calendar has historically been designed around Christmas / New Years. There is no Easter vacation in public schools as there was when I was a child. These events can and should be a way to build awareness of others, sensitivity and responsiveness to other ways of thinking and doing things, and not a way to create divisiveness among students by creating a "my cultural celebrations are better than yours" environment. Public schools should not close or reschedule activities solely because of conflicts between the school calendar and religious holidays. Religious Freedom The constitution dictates that every person has the right to practice whatever religion they would like, at anytime and anywhere that they would like. Ultimately, we need to carefully consider the consequences of any actions taken in schools. In every culture around the world, humans engage in cultural and holiday traditions and celebrations. The article offers suggestions that teachers can use throughout the school year, as well as when observing cultural and It’ll send the message that diversity is important and valued, and that everyone’s faith is on an equal plane. For example, when our local elementary school planned a trip to the Toronto Islands during the Jewish high holiday, the kids were exempt—but putting parents in the position where their kids miss out on class fun and bonding experiences in favour of a staid day at the synagogue or dinner with extended family isn’t fair. Another consideration is the amount of time being spent on holiday traditions and celebrations. Your Expert Voice & we 've got the platform you need How should religious holidays be in! What does God mean January or February and is the amount of time being spent on holiday traditions what., Services & Risk Management students have a loving relationship with their parents objective study religion! 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