Clarifying on Religious Teaching in the Revere Public Schools

It has come to our attention that there is some misinformation circulating about the teaching of religion in our middle school social studies classrooms.  We would like to clarify what exactly is being taught and why it is being taught.

In our middle school classrooms, we teach World Geography in grade 6, Ancient Civilizations in grade 7 and World History 1 in grade 8.  As with all of our courses, what we teach students in these classes is based on the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks.  These documents identify the specific learning standards and concepts and skills for each grade level and each content area.  In order to give students an extensive understanding of human history, these standards focus on several themes including: the evolution of freedom, the growth of centralized state power, the influence of economic, political, religious and cultural ideas, and the birth, growth and decline of civilizations (among others).  A link to the entire document can be found at http://www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks/hss/final.pdf .

The current confusion stems from some members of the community thinking that we were teaching religion in relation to what students should believe.  This is not the case at all.  Islam, like all of the other major world religions, is studied in relation to the specific culture, time period, or historical events that students are focusing on in a social studies or history class.  I want to be very clear that no religion is taught with the purpose of converting students to that religion, insulting their own religious beliefs, or promoting the beliefs of one religion as superior to the beliefs of another.

In the Massachusetts History and Social Studies Curriculum Framework, standards connected to religion run throughout every course simply because it is impossible to study history without studying religion.  For example, it would be impossible to study the Puritans without understanding the religious freedoms they were seeking in the new world.  It would be impossible to study ancient civilizations without looking at the rise of religions that believe in one god (monotheistic religions).  It would be impossible to study the Crusades without having an understanding of the religious and political conflicts between Islam and Christianity.  It would be impossible to study ancient Egypt without understanding how their beliefs in many gods (polytheistic religious beliefs) influenced every aspect of their lives.

Dr. Paul Dakin – Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Christina Porter – Director of Humanities.

Journal Staff:

View Comments

  • "Journal Staff" --listed as the writer of this story....I do not see that other religions: Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism--are also being taught in this class. Do the parameters that were set for this class curiously only fit the teaching of one religion?

    • Did you read the entire article, including the portion that makes mention of Puritanism, the conflicts between Islam and Christianity, the contrast between polytheism and monotheism?

    • See the link in the article? The one that has the whole curriculum taught in Massachusetts social studies classes? Copy and paste it into your web browser. Too long to read? Hit Control + F to find whatever religion you're looking for. Spoiler - it mentions every religion you ask about. I'll save you the trouble of writing "Well, I bet it doesn't mention islam's links to terrorism!!!!" Yes. Actually it does. You can use control + F to find that too. You can also continue to be lazy and angry about a problem that doesn't exist. Your choice.

      • Chip...no anger here. I did not call anyone "lazy & angry". The info I mentioned really should be in the body of the story. As for the link, I actually don't see it on the page I have. Sorry to get your blood pressure up ...stay calm..all the best

    • Enough with Muhammed and Islam already. Enough with Buddism already. You must show equal amount of "enough" to all major religions. It's not about Jesus versus… it's about all getting equal teaching. If the tenants of Islam must be taught and memorized for testing, then so should 10 commandments, tenants of Buddism and enlightenment. If students must learn of Muhammed, his life and how he lived it, what he claimed, and his death, then they should have to learn the same pieces on Buddy, and on Jesus, his life, his claim to be Gods Son, his death and that his body was never found. Or, none of it should be taught. Can you understand the concern parents have where one religion students are being asked to learn more details about than other religions?

      • if your son doesn't want to be a Muslim, then he should stop being Muslim. I am so sick of all of this Jesus stuff. Islam is the one true religion. Well, the Norse gods aren't so incorrect either. Norse mythology is the one true religion. You are so wrong, Christine. I pray that God, for he is a jealous god, I pray that he has mercy on your soul and all of Reveeeere.

  • There might be some confusion here on the Internet version of this. This entry is actually a Letter to the Editor from the School Superintendent and the School Director of Humanities. The paper had nothing to do with it and it appeared on the Opinion page in our print edition. The paper had two stories on this within the news section, the first one explaining in detail what other religions are taught and quoting from some of those materials. There might be links to those stories still on our site here.

  • My son is in 6th grade. When they discussed the area of Rome, Christianity was a key term to learn. They did not have to know who the disciples were, Jesus claimed to be the Messiah etc.. Just that Romans arrested and crucified a man named Jesus, who is the center of Christianity. Now my son brings home a sheet on Islam. Not the Middle East, but the Religion of Islam. He must learn the 5 tenants, what a Jihad it, and about 15 other terms associated with the religion. I do not have a problem with him learning the terms, the problem is that he not required to learn terms of Christianity, but rather terms of Rome. See the difference. Islam was not a term within Middle Eastern culture to study, like Christianity fell within Rome. When they studied Buddism they did not have to learn the 5 tenants of Buddism either. So yes, more attention is given to Islam as religion, instead of being a side dish to the study of the region of the Middle East. THAT is the problem with the curriculum.

This website uses cookies.