Update: Modesto World Religious Course Deemed a Success

May 12, 2006

Source: The Modesto Bee


On May 12, 2006 The Modesto Bee reported, "Since 2000, all ninth-graders [at Modesto City Schools] have been required to take a nine-week World Religions course on Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Sikhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. 'We teach the geography, history and give a description of each religion,' said Yvonne Taylor, a Johansen High School teacher. 'We provide a very neutral look.' The Modesto course is the focus of a study released this week titled 'Learning About World Religions in Public Schools.' Funded by the First Amendment Center, the study was conducted by Emile Lester, a government professor at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., and Patrick Roberts, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. The pair found the class to have positive effects on students' attitudes; they advise other school districts to follow Modesto's lead."