AbstractsEducation Research & Administration

The New American Settlement: Religious Diversity, Democracy & Public Schooling

by Rian Ada Hunter-Ott

Institution: University of Oklahoma
Year: 2016
Keywords: Education, General.; Religious Liberty; Public Schooling
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2086241
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/11244/34802


As the United States becomes increasingly religiously diverse, public schools must also face the implications of such diversity. While all public schools may not witness such diversity in the classroom, it is a socio-cultural phenomena impacting the greater public conversation about what it means to be a democratic nation with the constitutional provision of religious liberty. Because of an increasingly secularistic norm promoted in many schools and religious exclusivism dominating others, public schools risk marginalizing religious minorities. Furthermore, most public schools do not provide adequate education on religious thought or religious liberty, resulting in religious illiteracy that threatens to undermine an understanding of other nations in the international community, many of which are devoutly religious. However, attention to teaching about religion is not sufficient; schools must become places in which religious liberty may thrive and new understandings of the concept can continue to develop. This dissertation proposes a “New American Settlement” in the form of a thought experiment as a way for public educators and public schools to take religious liberty seriously and address continually expanding religious diversity – and the issues sparked by it – in keeping with constitutional commitments. The New American Settlement is a blend of educational thought and philosophy, including theories of multiple educational agency, experience, and care theories, as a way to regard religion as a live option – a critical component of taking religious liberty seriously. Furthermore, the New American Settlement considers specific religious notions that can be legitimately incorporated into secular educational thought to develop a system that takes religious liberty seriously. Practical application within schools is also considered as a thought experiment; the results of which conclude that the New American Settlement is much more feasible for most public school teachers than is dedicating more time, which many do not have, to teaching about religion. Advisors/Committee Members: Vaughn, Courtney (advisor), Hertzke, Allen (committee member), Davies, Mark (committee member), Maiden, Jeffrey (committee member), Smith, Joan (committee member).