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 not letting people celebrate any holiday, Christmas, Hanakuh, And Kwanzaa, It is violating their right as a United States citizen, To the First Amendment in the Constitution of the United States of America. At times, these celebrations and parties are conducted just before holiday breaks, as students are excited and potentially more focused on vacation than doing academic work. 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. 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. Another consideration is the amount of time being spent on holiday traditions and celebrations. There is no Easter vacation in public schools as there was when I was a child. However, schools may consider closing when large numbers of student and teacher absences are anticipated. Perhaps one of the first considerations should be which holidays and traditions are celebrated in school — and why. Ultimately, we need to carefully consider the consequences of any actions taken in schools. Perhaps one of the first considerations should be which holidays and traditions are celebrated in school — and why. However, we should be thoughtful about how we approach the subject, and create inclusive dialogue about how, when and why we celebrate each other. Schools should recognize non-Christian religious holidays – … At other times a "culture night" may be celebrated, with teachers, parents or students sharing cultural artifacts or traditions in a variety of ways. They have. There is nothing wrong with wanting to highlight them in schools. 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. However, they can't require kids to attend school over those holidays, particularly those kids who observe those holidays. 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. If you have access to a library, you will find it interesting to note what reference books say about holidays … Teenage pregnancy, school violence, school shootings, and dru… 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. Holidays and cultural celebrations are an important part of every society and culture. 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. 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. That figure includes 48% who feel all religious holidays should be celebrated in public schools. Your Industry Needs YOUR Expert Voice I’m not arguing that all religious dates should be holidays for staff and students. Cultural and holiday celebrations have been a part of the fabric in U.S. schools for decades. by "New York Times Upfront"; News, opinion and commentary General interest Public schools International aspects Social aspects Religion Religious beliefs What does God mean? The article offers suggestions that teachers can use throughout the school year, as well as when observing cultural and Is it educational for public schools to celebrate these holidays, or unconstitutional? Lunar New Year, celebrated in January or February and is the biggest holiday of the year in Chinese and Korean culture. Read more of her articles here and follow her on Twitter @emmawaverman. This Monday, September 14, is Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), one of the two most important holidays in the Jewish calendar. However, others believe these celebrations potentially cause more harm than good, taking precious academic learning time from students or "tokenizing" other cultures, creating division and supremacist attitudes, and representing world cultures in simplistic or stereotypical ways. 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. Sponsored link. The high court has ruled, however, that the government may not erect an explicitly Why we go to synagogue, even though I’m an atheist> Read more: Circuit Court of Appeals, Koenick vs. Felton. To many, these are just regular school or work days. Schempp (1963), in which they “ruled that public schools may not sponsor religious practices but may not teach about religion.” Religious holidays should thus be considered as subparts of the large American culture, which has evolved to include an unimaginable number of different religions; this especially pertains to the ever-diverse city of New York. Dear public schools: Not everyone is Christian. 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. Since 2005, teachers have received multi-faith calendars they can refer to when planning out the school year. As in, technically, no Christmas or Easter parties, that sort of thing. September 11, 2015. 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. Recently there has been a lot of debate on whether or not public schools should celebrate or even acknowledge Christmas. Given this emphasis on learning about and appreciating other cultures and perspectives, educators should carefully weigh the amount of time they are using for cultural celebrations and holiday traditions into their instruction. Religious Holiday Celebrations in Public Schools - Important Reminders (December 2019 School Leader Update) Hmmm, well, perhaps not for everyone. Why is my tween suddenly interested in faith?>. 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. Is there a particular threshold for a number of students or community members when choosing which traditions or holidays to celebrate? Q: How should religious holidays be treated in the classroom? For some families, the winter holiday times can bring anxiety, sadness and fear, as family dysfunction or loved ones who have passed are remembered. not all students have a loving relationship with their parents. And with this diversity comes questions on how to accommodate different religious holidays. 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. & They evaluate other points of view critically and constructively. The leading source for targeted, industry specific news briefs. (It's a cultural holiday, not a religious one.) Just 17% think there should be no religious holiday celebrations in … Erick Herrmann Every educator wants classroom and school celebrations to be just that, Business Management, Services & Risk Management. Because the Supreme Court has not ruled on the issue, there are no final or definitive answers. Religious education should not be a compulsory subject in public schools because this requirement can violate the rights of both students and policies. In 1954, Congress revised the Pledge of Allegiance to refer to the nation as “under God,” a phrase that has since been recited by generations of schoolchildren. On the other hand, if you have struggling students in your classroom, this could also have the effect of taking away key learning opportunities. A Teachable Moment. Given these mixed feelings toward cultural and holiday celebrations and presentations, educators should take the following considerations into mind as they plan and celebrate the cultural and holiday traditions of the country and the populations they serve. But that is not necessarily the right way to solve the "December Dilemma." Additionally, we must be keenly aware that celebrating other cultures, when we are not members of that culture, can potentially be construed as tokenism or cultural appropriation. Others include nonacademic activities such as food or movies. Or can the same goals be accomplished in other ways? Free Online Library: Should public schools celebrate religious holidays? Here’s how. Or are the people doing the planning only from the majority culture or only people in power? Teachers and schools regularly engage in activities during and after school to celebrate the various cultures that are represented in the school, as well as national holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. 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? In every culture around the world, humans engage in cultural and holiday traditions and celebrations. The United States is one of the most religiously diverse nations in the world, and one of the most religious of the developed nations in the world. 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. Could this also be the case with holidays being celebrated in schools? While these celebrations and traditions are a part of the fabric of American societ… 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. Every student wants to have fun in school, and cultural events, holidays and celebrations are one way we can celebrate the diversity in our schools and in our world. Add religion into the mix of considerations and rational planning becomes impossible. First of all, one should bear in mind that some of the learners may not have any religious beliefs. Celebrations of other cultures are also sometimes a part of school celebrations and traditions. The voices of the people who represent specific cultural traditions should be included in these discussions and planning, so we do not inadvertently misrepresent a cultural tradition or holiday. 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. Now, that’s the kind of lesson I want for my kids. December Dilemma: Teaching About Religious Holidays | Religion … Should Religious Education be a compulsory subject in all schools, including public schools? As public schools in the United States continue to increase in ... alienate children who do not engage in such celebrations and offend parents whose RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS RECOGNIZED BY U.S. Are the people planning a culture night, for example, representatives from the cultures being celebrated? 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. Based on high-profile fights over the past several years, many schools have taken an entirely hands-off approach to the winter holidays. 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. 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!! Public schools should not close or reschedule activities solely because of conflicts between the school calendar and religious holidays. © Copyright 2021 St. Joseph Communications. However, we should consider which holidays and celebrations are a part of the school and why, the amount of time dedicated to these celebrations and how we might make them relevant to each of our students, increasing inclusivity and cultural responsiveness in schools and ultimately in our society. By Emma Waverman 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. Newdow argued that the wor… 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. Many people are against having prayer in school, why take out prayer, but leave in religious holidays? ... 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. It’ll send the message that diversity is important and valued, and that everyone’s faith is on an equal plane. 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, […] GOVERNMENTS . : Answering the tough questions>, Why is my tween suddenly interested in faith?>. In 2000, Michael Newdow filed suit challenging the phrase on behalf of his daughter, a public school student in California. While the main purpose of schools might be considered as academic in nature, some celebrations take time away from this purpose. RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS Teachers should work to ensure that all holiday activities focus on objective study about religion, not indoctrination. We have discussed what schools should and shouldn’t do regarding religious holidays, but what about the school’s duty to accommodate students and teachers who wish to observe religious holidays on their… I see many comments from people who feel that other people are pushing their religious beliefs on them. Can you imagine the uproar if people had to use a vacation day for Christmas? Every educator wants classroom and school celebrations to be just that — celebratory. 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. Wednesday, November 15, 2017. 2. 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.” Erick Herrmann is an educational consultant specialized in teaching English learners, and he runs Academic Language Learning Institute, Inc.. Erick has worked with thousands of teachers across the nation to help them improve their instructional practice and increase academic achievement for all students. 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. Building the toolkit for paraprofessional success, Want to use videos to boost your sales? Recognition of and information about holidays may focus on how and when they are celebrated, their origins, histo- Specific holidays and traditions such as Dia de los Muertos or Kwanza are sometimes celebrated or discussed in schools as well. Why we go to synagogue, even though I’m an atheist>, What does God mean? In a changing America, getting holidays right in public schools isn’t easy. Quote: "To evaluate (this) claim ... we must venture into the often-dreaded and certainly murky area of Establishment Clause jurisprudence..." 4 th U.S. A: Teachers must be alert to the distinction between teaching about religious holidays, which is permissible, and celebrating religious holi-days, which is not. In terms of celebrations and holiday traditions, what purpose are they serving? 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. However, the U.S. public school calendar has historically been designed around Christmas / New Years. If some students are excluded from these celebrations, are those goals being accomplished? Depending on how the cultural tradition or holiday is being celebrated, students may be having fun and practicing academic skills, through writing, reading or discussing the topic, for example. Is the pandemic to blame for lower college enrollments? 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. 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. 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. Online advertisements, and that everyone ’ s faith is on an equal.... 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