In its meeting last spring at Omaha, Nebraska, our General Assembly [Presbyterian Church, U. S. A.] completed and adopted a resolution upon which several years’ work had been done relative to understanding our public schools. The statement has created discussion and controversy, by no means limited to Presbyterians.
The Presbyterian General Assembly came out in strong support of our public schools. Of recent years there has been a considerable movement to revive parochial education, not only among Roman Catholics, but also among Protestants. The Lutherans, for instance, have a very extensive parochial school system, and there are even a few Presbyterian parochial schools. But, said the General Assembly, parochial schools are not the answer. The committee which drew up the statement declared, for example, “that the inclusion of an overt observance of religion does not necessarily provide any institution with a dynamic religious character.” The statement goes on to make this claim: “General superiority neither in academic achievement nor in ethical behavior has been demonstrated when elementary and secondary students of parochial schools are compared with students of the public schools. Further, it has not been demonstrated that attendance at the parochial primary and secondary school better equips persons to participate as Christians in the life of the total community. Nor is it at all certain that attendance at parochial schools prepares a person to participate more fully in the life of the religious community. The moral ills common to our society are found in student populations in both parochial and public schools.”
Now, if a religious emphasis is to be left out of public education, are we to conclude that our schools therefore ...1
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