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A Tale Of Two School Districts: How To Deal With Religion In Public Education

Every September, we brace ourselves here at Americans United because we know the new school year will spark a fresh round of squabbles about the proper role of religion in public education.

Indeed, we're seeing some already. Two recent stories – one from Kentucky and one from Iowa – showcase two very different ways of dealing with this contentious topic.

In Breckinridge County, Ky., parent Michelle Ammons is angry because a football coach took 20 players to a revival meeting where a number of them were baptized, without parental permission. Ammons' son was among them.

A Tale Of Two Cities (And Diagrams): Ten Commandments Battles Roil Kentucky And North Dakota

My roommate is a freshly minted high school teacher. Sometimes, while sitting together watching reruns of "Doogie Howser, MD.," I help her plan civics lessons for her students. If it weren't the middle of the summer, I would insist that she craft a Venn Diagram with her kids to teach about the separation of church and state.

History Hysteria: Religious Right Attacks Holocaust Education In Kentucky

Teachers are always looking for ways to make history a more interesting and relevant subject. Young people tend to get turned off if history appears to be little more than memorizing a dry list of dates, names and battles.

Many schools want to find ways to make history come alive. In my daughter's high school, the class did special projects when they discussed the 1920s. (My daughter designed and sewed her own flapper dress.) When it was time to study the Great Depression, the class watched and then discussed the 1940 film adaptation of "The Grapes of Wrath."

Baptist Boondoggles: Courts In Kentucky Split On Tax Aid To Religion

Although my beloved home state of Kentucky is perhaps best known for its bourbon, burley and basketball teams, there are also a lot Baptists down there. Some of them support church-state separation; some of them don't.

On Monday, some of the ones who don't won a round in a lawsuit involving public funding of religion. A federal district court ruled that folks challenging tax aid to the Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children (KBHC) had no "standing" to bring their case into court.

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