Last night I was doing a search to see if there were more classes like mine out there, and trying to figure out where they might be. I came across this article about a course in Modesto City Schools (California), where the class is required.
The required course came about due to three factors described in the article: complaints about geography and basic religious knowledge; problems with bullying; and controversy over Sikh students carrying religious daggers. I love, love, love, that this class was developed as a solution. The process of building the course sounds great too–the district clearly used plenty of the resources that were at their disposal, including local religious authorities and universities:
They invited religious leaders from the community to weigh in. “That was instrumental,” she said. The First Amendment Center and Anti-Defamation League gave assistance in teaching sensitive subjects without controversy.
Teachers visited the Islamic Center of Modesto, Congregation Beth Shalom Synagogue, the Greek Orthodox Church and other religious centers. But teacher training was done by professors of California State University, Stanislaus – purposely removed from faith practitioners, she said.
“We’re not learning how to do it,” Sweeney said; they were learning how to teach it.