Religious Holidays in U.S. Schools

The institutionalization of religious holidays in U.S. public schools is part of the informal school curriculum that attempts to educate students toward a particular orientation of national citizenship. According to Valerie Pang, the conscious or the unconscious privileging of certain knowledge within school curriculum suggests the kinds of intellectual, cultural, and political decisions schools are making over cultural and religious discourses. Although the nature of privileging may vary across schools because of geographical and cultural variations, a number of writers have pointed out that mainstream Christian-affiliated holidays/events are often emphasized in U.S. schools. As Khyati Joshi argues, even though public schools are thought to be “neutral” or secular spaces where students can learn about various religious belief systems, school curriculum often marginalizes what is considered ...

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