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Integration Amidst Separation: Religion, Urban Education, and the First Amendment

Abstract

In today’s urban schools, foreign-born children and children of immigrants are the fastest growing sector of the student population and as a result of this changing demographic, our schools are more ethnically, racially and religiously diverse than they have ever been (Suárez-Orozco et al. in Thriving and spirituality among youth: research perspectives and future possibilities. Wiley: Hoboken, NJ, 2012). For many students of immigrant families, their spiritual/religious identity is an important aspect of a healthy and integrated identity. While professional journals in education have focused on race, ethnicity and culture as important diversity variables, the extent to which students’ religion and spirituality influence their development and education has largely been a neglected topic (Woolley in Int J Child Spiritual 13:145–156, 2008). Thus, we highlight research in education, school counseling, and psychology that examines the legal and ethical implications of including religion and spirituality into urban educators’ work with students. We then explore the role that spirituality/religion plays in health, coping, and academic achievement for students, the importance of spirituality/religion within historically marginalized communities, students’ experiences as religious minorities, and religious discrimination in schools. Within each topic area, we outline practical considerations. Finally, we offer some guidelines for professional preparation programs and curriculum development in urban education.

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Correspondence to Danielle Magaldi-Dopman.

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Magaldi-Dopman, D., Park-Taylor, J. Integration Amidst Separation: Religion, Urban Education, and the First Amendment. Urban Rev 46, 47–62 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11256-013-0245-6

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Keywords

  • Spiritual/religious identity
  • Urban education
  • Holistic education
  • Multiculturalism