"Supreme Court: Enemy of Freedom?": Constitutional Law in Christian School Textbooks

By Paterson, Frances R. A. | Journal of Law and Education, October 2000 | Go to article overview

"Supreme Court: Enemy of Freedom?": Constitutional Law in Christian School Textbooks


Paterson, Frances R. A., Journal of Law and Education


"Supreme Court: Enemy of Freedom?"1 Constitutional Law in Christian School Textbooks

Abstract

Conservative Protestant (Christian) schools are a fast growing segment of the American educational system. Although true public vouchers for sectarian schooling currently exist only in Milwaukee, Cleveland, and most recently Florida, the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of the Milwaukee voucher program in Jackson v. Benson2 and the Supreme Court's denial of certiorari may lead to further programs aimed at fostering the privatization of American education.3 These programs, which enhance the ability of students to attend sectarian schools at reduced or no cost, are likely to result in increased numbers of students attending such schools, the creation of additional sectarian schools, or both.

I. Introduction

Discussions of vouchers, precollegiate tuition tax relief, or private scholarship programs, whether carried on by scholars or other commentators, have focused almost exclusively on issues related to the constitutionality of these programs, their efficacy in terms of student achievement, their effect on public education, their potential to stratify or resegregate American education, or some combination of these issues.4 What has been conspicuously absent from the current debate about vouchers and other programs encouraging privatization is any discussion of the curriculum of nonpublic schools. With the exception of a full-length study sponsored by the anti-voucher advocacy organization, Americans for Religious Liberty, in 1993, a 1987 article discussing history materials published and/or distributed by School of Tomorrow, and a series of articles by the author, the issue of what students are taught has not been part of the public and scholarly discussions of privatization.5 Although some of the amicus curiae briefs filed in Jackson raised the issue in relation to the inadequacy of the provision of the Milwaukee law allowing students to opt-out of religious instruction, the authors of the briefs did not look beyond the mission statements of some of the sectarian schools participating in the program. While the curriculum in parochial schools is similar in many respects to that of public schools and, indeed, parochial schools use the same textbooks as public schools, the school curricula of evangelical and fundamentalist Christian schools differ substantially from that used in parochial schools, other sectarian schools, and public pre-collegiate institutions. During the 1980s, three authors examined the culture of Christian schools, including their curricula; however, their discussions of the curricula of these schools are either scattered, or brief, or both, and their consideration of this subject was not tied to the voucher movement of the 1990s.6

A relatively easy way to learn what children are taught is to examine the textbooks they use. Curriculum and instruction scholars have long lamented that school curriculum is, to a large extent, textbook-driven.7 Textbook dependency is even more pronounced in Christian schools, with their emphasis on structure and discouragement of curricular innovation. Indeed, disagreement with and distaste for instructional innovation and a return to the "basics" are part the raison d'etre of the Christian school movement and the involvement of the Christian right in school voucher programs and privatization efforts generally.

Although it is difficult to obtain sales figures from either secular or religious publishers, many Christian schools purchase textbooks and curricular materials from three publishers, A Beka Books, School of Tomorrow (Accelerated Christian Education), and Bob Jones University Press.8 A Beka appears to be the largest publisher of materials used in conservative Christian schools. When contacted, a spokesperson for A Beka Books stated that approximately 9000 schools purchase textbooks from the company. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

"Supreme Court: Enemy of Freedom?": Constitutional Law in Christian School Textbooks
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.