Books from Our Faculty: Between Church and State by James Fraser

How is the ongoing controversy about the place—or lack of place—of religion in public schools playing out today in the United States? Prayer spaces, creationism in the classroom, and how public funding is used in private religious schools are a few of the subjects at the center of today’s debates.

In Between Church and State: Religion and Public Education in a Multicultural America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016), James Fraser, professor of history and education at NYU Steinhardt, shows that these battles have been going on for as long as there have been public schools. He argues that there has never been any consensus about what the “separation of church and state” means for society or about the proper relationship between religion and public education.

In this updated second edition, Fraser tackles the culture wars, adding fresh material on current battles over public funding for private religious schools. He also addresses the development of the long-simmering evolution-creationism debate, takes a fresh look at the First Amendment, and explores the tensions surrounding a discussion of religion and the accommodation of an increasingly religiously diverse American student body.