Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Nation’s Educators Disagree on Religious Instruction in Public Schools

February 26, 1926
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Righteousness By Formula Can Lead to No Results, Is Argument Jewish Daily Bulletin

The question of religious instruction in the public schools was considered yesterday by the Department of Superintendents of the National Education Association, which is holding its convention here. Noble of Sherwood, Indiana, state superintendent of public instruction, favored religious influence without advocating the formal introduction of religious instruction into the curriculum. “We must have an intelligence established on faith, built in prayer and nourished by good will,” he declared. “The church and state should cooperate in this matter of religious education. The teacher should be identified with the church.

“This makes possible the most effective teaching, teaching by example. Religion is taught as well as caught. American children will receive their inheritance. The outlook for this joyful consummation is reassuring. We are training spiritual minutemen for the cause of religious education. Signal fires for a mighty effort are burning — a spiritual renaissance is imminent,” he declared.

Ernest W. Butterfield, New Hampshire state commissioner of education, opposed any form of religious instruction, declaring:

“Any plan for sectarian instruction on school time is but a new form of the old experiment of stateenforced religion. As a nation we are attempting, not too successfully, to make our people dry by law. An plan for week-day religious instruction on school time would try to make our children righteous by formula.

“Formal instruction in religion does not produce character. Different denominations have maintained parochial schools in America, for many years, and no evidence has ever been presented to show graduates of these schools with formal religious instruction are more faithful, conscientious, industrious or more patriotic and law abiding citizens than the graduates of public schools,” he stated.

John Coolidge, son of the President, was defeated by Matt Silverman in the annual boxing tournament at Amberst College.

Matt Silverman, known at Amberst as “Little Benny Leonard,” the son of a dress goods manufacturer of 1977 East Ninth Street, Broklyn, was declared the victor by M. J. Kennedy, the referee.

“Matty was too fast for me,” John Coolidge declared.

George Blumenthal, President of the Mount Sinai Hospital. New York, made a gift of $60,000 to the Director of the French Public Assistance Hospital, Paris, France, for the development of the clinic for nose and throat diseases in children’s hospitals.

Recommended from JTA