Movers and Shakers in Education Essay

1248 WordsAug 29, 20145 Pages
Movers and Shakers in Education Grand Canyon University: EDU 576 July 23, 2014 [pic] Movers and Shakers in Education There are many legal cases that have made their way through the U.S. Supreme Court, but a select few that stand out above the rest as having helped shape and define how students are educated today, what a student’s rights are and how teachers and administrators are allowed to interact with them. Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962) Engel v. Vitale was one of the first of many cases where religious activities had been found by the Court to be in violation of the Establishment Clause. The New York Legislature adopted a non-denominational prayer, consisting of twenty-two words and was drafted by the New York State Board of Regents. The prayer was as follows: Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence on Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our country (Engel, 422). This prayer was recommended, but not required, for reading by the teacher at the beginning of each school day. [pic] Five parents[1] of ten children attending the school involved brought suit on the grounds that the state-composed prayer in public schools violated both separation of church and state and freedom of religion. Justice Black wrote the Court’s majority opinion[2] and said, “the constitutional prohibition against laws respecting an establishment of religion must at least mean that in this country it is no part of the business of government to compose official prayers for any group of the American people to recite as a part of a religious program carried on by government (Engel, 425).” The main idea articulated in Engel has been condensed to the following: “to pass muster under the Establishment Clause, the governmental activity must, first, reflect a clearly secular governmental purpose;

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