Some cultural and holiday activities may include academic activities such as artistic activities, reading books or articles about the topic or writing prompts. Religious education should not be a compulsory subject in public schools because this requirement can violate the rights of both students and policies. 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. 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. Can you imagine if schools didn't close for Christmas? To many, these are just regular school or work days. We've got the platform you need. This Monday, September 14, is Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), one of the two most important holidays in the Jewish calendar. by "New York Times Upfront"; News, opinion and commentary General interest Public schools International aspects Social aspects Religion Religious beliefs Public school administrators have to consider numerous factors when deciding when class ought to be in session. 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. Turning freedom OF religion into freedom FROM religion. Q: How should religious holidays be treated in the classroom? Circuit Court of Appeals, Koenick vs. Felton. 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. Perhaps one of the first considerations should be which holidays and traditions are celebrated in school — and why. 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. 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. 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. 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. Should public schools celebrate holidays? 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, […] Can you imagine the uproar if people had to use a vacation day for Christmas? And the multi-faith calendar educators are provided with doesn’t stop teachers from going ahead and scheduling tests on religious holidays. In a changing America, getting holidays right in public schools isn’t easy. ... 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. 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. But at a local level, schools are often oblivious to major holidays. New York City recently added two Muslim holidays to their school calendar. : Answering the tough questions>, Why is my tween suddenly interested in faith?>. 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? It’s even a battle sometimes in the workforce, with many corporations insisting that certain religious holidays be marked down as a vacation day. Quote: "To evaluate (this) claim ... we must venture into the often-dreaded and certainly murky area of Establishment Clause jurisprudence..." 4 th U.S. Why is my tween suddenly interested in faith?>. How kids of other faiths are getting shortchanged. 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. Could this also be the case with holidays being celebrated in schools? Based on high-profile fights over the past several years, many schools have taken an entirely hands-off approach to the winter 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. Canada, especially its larger cities, is becoming more ethnically and religiously diverse. Lunar New Year, celebrated in January or February and is the biggest holiday of the year in Chinese and Korean culture. Religious Holidays should be celebrated in public schools. 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.” Religious Holidays should be celebrated in public schools. ! Here’s how. Or are the people doing the planning only from the majority culture or only people in power? Now, that’s the kind of lesson I want for my kids. I’m not arguing that all religious dates should be holidays for staff and students. This is what the Peel District School Board (which serves Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga in Ontario) does. There is nothing wrong with wanting to highlight them in schools. GOVERNMENTS . MPR News Staff January 28, 2016, 9:18 AM Jan 28, 2016. If you have access to a library, you will find it interesting to note what reference books say about 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. Cultural and holiday celebrations have been a part of the fabric in U.S. schools for decades. Just like language, it is difficult to imagine a society without them. In every culture around the world, humans engage in cultural and holiday traditions and celebrations. 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. Ultimately, we need to carefully consider the consequences of any actions taken in schools. They evaluate other points of view critically and constructively. 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. Emma Waverman is a writer, blogger and mom to three kids. Because the Supreme Court has not ruled on the issue, there are no final or definitive answers. Schools should recognize non-Christian religious holidays – … 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. Is the pandemic to blame for lower college enrollments? The time taken for these celebrations may well be worthwhile to build community, celebrate and have fun with students. 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. For some families, the winter holiday times can bring anxiety, sadness and fear, as family dysfunction or loved ones who have passed are remembered. Is this activity designed in any way to either promote or inhibit religion? Religious Holiday Celebrations in Public Schools - Important Reminders (December 2019 School Leader Update) Hmmm, well, perhaps not for everyone. Which cultures and traditions, then, are celebrated and discussed, and which aren't? Why we go to synagogue, even though I’m an atheist>, What does God mean? 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. 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. While these celebrations and traditions are a part of the fabric of American societ… not all students have a loving relationship with their parents. Teenage pregnancy, school violence, school shootings, and dru… As in, technically, no Christmas or Easter parties, that sort of thing. September 11, 2015. 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. Erick Herrmann But that is not necessarily the right way to solve the "December Dilemma." In the U.S., public schools may educate students about holidays with respect to cultural education but may not actually celebrate a holiday if it is a religious one. Is there a particular threshold for a number of students or community members when choosing which traditions or holidays to celebrate? 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. Through reading great classic and contemporary works of literature representative of a variety of periods, cultures, and worldviews, students can vicariously inhabit worlds and have experiences much different than their own.". 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 educator wants classroom and school celebrations to be just that, Business Management, Services & Risk Management. Public schools should not close or reschedule activities solely because of conflicts between the school calendar and religious holidays. And with this diversity comes questions on how to accommodate different religious holidays. 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. RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS RECOGNIZED BY U.S. There is no Easter vacation in public schools as there was when I was a child. In terms of celebrations and holiday traditions, what purpose are they serving? September 16, 2002. Others include nonacademic activities such as food or movies. 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. 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. 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. Holidays and cultural celebrations are an important part of every society and culture. How difficult is it to not schedule a meeting for a small handful of days a year so that other faiths can observe their sacred events? However, we should be thoughtful about how we approach the subject, and create inclusive dialogue about how, when and why we celebrate each other. The article offers suggestions that teachers can use throughout the school year, as well as when observing cultural and Read more of her articles here and follow her on Twitter @emmawaverman. In 2000, Michael Newdow filed suit challenging the phrase on behalf of his daughter, a public school student in California. Depending on the school, the particular holidays or celebrations chosen may represent the cultures of the student population represented in the school. That figure includes 48% who feel all religious holidays should be celebrated in public schools. Just 17% think there should be no religious holiday celebrations in … Religious holidays. They have. & Another consideration is the amount of time being spent on holiday traditions and celebrations. In China, where people traditionally go back to their hometown for the holiday, it's the occasion for the largest annual human migration in the world. Wednesday, November 15, 2017. 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. 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. Since 2005, teachers have received multi-faith calendars they can refer to when planning out the school year. 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. 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. I see many comments from people who feel that other people are pushing their religious beliefs on them. 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. 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. What, then, is the origin of such celebrations? Celebrations of other cultures are also sometimes a part of school celebrations and traditions. 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. If some students are excluded from these celebrations, are those goals being accomplished? Improved Morals Public schools are dealing with some very heavy issues in the recent years. 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 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. 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. (It's a cultural holiday, not a religious one.) Dear public schools: Not everyone is Christian. RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS Teachers should work to ensure that all holiday activities focus on objective study about religion, not indoctrination. (opinion). She has many opinions, some of them fit to print. 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… The leading source for targeted, industry specific news briefs. How does this activity serve the academic goals of the course, or the 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. © Copyright 2021 St. Joseph Communications. Is it educational for public schools to celebrate these holidays, or unconstitutional? However, the U.S. public school calendar has historically been designed around Christmas / New Years. THE Bible is not the source of popular religious and secular holidays that are celebrated in many parts of the world today. Banning religion from schools is unconstitutional to religious students who want to practice or worship during the school day. Specific holidays and traditions such as Dia de los Muertos or Kwanza are sometimes celebrated or discussed in schools as well. What does God mean? 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. For Christmas U.S. public school calendar the school year large numbers of student teacher. Going ahead and scheduling tests on religious holidays have a loving relationship with their parents provided doesn! 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