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a journal of analysis and comment advancing public understanding of religion and education
(more on the Journal)

Winter 2007
Vol. 34 No. 1

Editorís Preface

The topics in this issue range widely from PK-12 to higher education, from public to private issues, from the controversy over the study of the Christian Bible in schools to the educational philosophy of the much newer Bahá’í religion. Jenny Small opens the issue with a study of how college students talk about spiritual transformation. Using the techniques of discourse analysis, she examines students’ understandings of their developmental process.

Mark Chancey follows with an analysis of recent legislative efforts to promote Christian Bible courses in the public schools. “Bible Bills, Bible Curricula, and Controversies of Biblical Proportions . . .” reviews the differences between the Bible Literacy Project and the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, and tracks the Bible bills of Missouri, Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. We can only expect more activity in this area with heightened interest due to recent work including Stephen Prothero’s Religious Literacy.
In the third article, Boris Handal provides an overview of the educational philosophy of the Bahá’í religion. Originating in the 19th century, Bahá’í emphasizes the centrality of education. Handal argues that one unique contribution of this tradition is a new approach to the education of the child.

René Antrop-González, William Vélez, and Tomás Garrett conducted a study reported in the fourth article that illustrates the relationship between religion and high academic achievement in Puerto Rican high school students—a counterpoint argument to much of the literature that the authors argue focuses on negative performance of this population.
The final article by William Jeynes and Wendy Naylor returns to an ongoing argument among a number of scholars and lay people—the real or perceived intrusion of government into religious education. In this essay the authors turn to perspectives from Dutch education activist Abraham Kuyper to argue the merits of school choice.

The cover art for this issue is called Peacekeepers? (Torenj, Croatia, 1994) by Keith Holmes. It was part of the October 2001 exhibit, A Question of Faith, at the University of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art.

Michael D. Waggoner, Editor
Religion and Education
Winter 2007