On Monday, January 28, WKSU began a weeklong series of reports on religion in Ohio's public schools. Education reporter Julie Grant explores issues and programs locally and around the state. "Religion and the Public Schools" looks at how religion is addressed in social studies classrooms, the debate between evolution and design theorists over state science standards, and the progress of character education programs.

Grant visits public schools that still hope to teach Bible study classes and post the Ten Commandments outside of their buildings and discovers how they are dealing with lawsuits by the ACLU.

Reports will be aired on WKSU during local broadcasts of NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered."

Posting the Ten Commandments in public high schools

Debates over the role of religion in the public schools are taking place across Ohio...from rural Adams County to downtown Columbus. The courts and the legislature are considering what is appropriate to teach in public school classrooms and to post outside schoolhouse doors. The Ohio Valley School District, which borders the Ohio River, is waiting for a federal judge to rule if it can keep granite tablets engraved with The Ten Commandments at the entrance of its high schools. As WKSU begins a week-long series about religion in the public schools, Julie Grant reports on the case in Adams County...

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Where can I find out more?

Adams County for the Ten Commandments web site
Church & State Issue on the ACLU (Ohio) web site

Social Studies Standards: Teaching About Religion in History Class

While posting the Ten Commandments at schoolhouse doors often brings civil libertarians knocking, that doesn't mean public schools must be void of religious content. In the second part of WKSU's series on religion and the public schools, Julie Grant reports on efforts to increase religious perspectives in the schools...

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Where can I find out more?

First Amendment Center -- Commentary/analysis on the First Amendment
Ohio Department of Education -- Social Studies Academic Content Standards Development Chronology and Contact Information

Science Standards: Evolution vs. Intelligent Design

A draft of Ohio's new science standards says students must understand the theory of evolution to graduate from high school. This is the first time Ohio science teachers have been clearly told they must teach evolution. And it's created a controversy among people who want competing theories taught about the origin of human beings. In the third part of WKSU's series on religion and the public schools, Julie Grant reports...

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Where can I find out more?

Good Science, Bad Science: Teaching Evolution in the States -- A study centering around state standards on the teaching of evolution in the schools

Intelligent Design Network, Inc. -- An organization working to promote the public awareness of intelligent design

National Center for Science Education (NCSE) -- An organization working to promote the teaching of evolution

Ohio Citizens for Science -- An organization working to improve science literacy in Ohio

Ohio Department of Education -- Science Academic Content Standards/Development Chronology and Contact Information

Science Excellence for All Ohioans (Sciohio.org) -- An organization working to promote the teaching of origins-based science

Character Education

Character education has become popular in public schools over the past decade. The purpose in many districts is to teach students how to be ethical citizens. Schools in Ohio are using a variety of different programs to do this and many say they are seeing positive changes in their students. But in a few districts character education programs are shields for teaching religion. As WKSU's series on religion and the public schools continues, Julie Grant reports...

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Where can I find out more?

Ohio Partners in Character Education -- Coordinates character education programs in Ohio.

Character Education Partnership (CEP) -- Coalition of organizations and individuals dedicated to developing moral character and civic virtue in the nation's youth.

CharacterCounts.org -- Strives to fortify the lives of America's youth with consensus ethical values.

ACLU of Ohio Press Release -- Press release announcing the ACLU's decision to file suit against the Crestview Local Schools on the issue of separation of church and state.

Music, Prayer and Decorations

There is often confusion in public schools about what kind of religious expression is allowable. If students pray, if the chorus or band plays religious music, or if a teacher decorates for the holidays, it can bring up constitutional questions. In the final part of WKSU's series on religion and the public schools, Julie Grant reports on how these issues are playing out in schools, in the legislature, and in the courts.

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