Returning the Bible & Wisdom principles to our public school children under our 1st Amendment.
The following discourse is taken from parts of Chapter 15:
Whitehead, John W.: The Rights of Religious Persons in Public Education, Crossway Books.
Also available at: The Rutherford Institute.   Web site link See: / Liberty / Defenders.

Editor: We've inserted some italicized text (this size & underlined to distinguish it from quotes in the article) to the body of his work to update the "Release(d) Time" term and to personalize it with "parents & Hisways"  notes etc.

       Release Time in Public Schools.
"When the state encourages the religious instruction or cooperates with 
religious authorities by adjusting the schedule of public events to 
sectarian needs, it follows the best of our traditions."
Justice William O. Douglas, 
Zorach v. Clauson, 
343 U.S. 313-14 (1952).
"Release(d) time is the practice whereby schools release children during the school day to attend sectarian religious instruction . . .   A local group of churches [ and/or HISways parents or volunteers ] often sponsors the program, and normally [ the child ] may choose to attend or not.   Those who do attend must first obtain parental permission on a consent form made available by the sponsoring . . . group.
Release(d) time has been a part of the public school system in the United States since 1914, when the superintendent of schools in Gary, Indiana, Dr. William Writ, conceived the idea.   Previously, no need existed to take children out of the classroom for religious instruction.   However, along with the development of modern Establishment Clause analysis and the transformation of America from a rural society to an urban one came the removal of sectarian religion from public schools.   It became necessary for children who wanted religious instruction on the spiritual and moral nature of the Bible, as well as on other holy writings, to be educated outside the classrooms.   To meet this need, Dr. Writ created release(d) time."
The Zorach case mentioned above was a significant decision affecting Released Time.   Justice Douglas in that case also said:
"We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being.   We guarantee the freedom to worship as one chooses.   We make room for as wide a variety of beliefs and creeds as the spiritual needs of man deem necessary.   We sponsor an attitude on the part of government that shows no partiality to any one group and that lets each flourish according to the zeal of its adherents and the appeal of its dogma.   When the state encourages the religious instruction or cooperates with religious authorities by adjusting the schedule of public events to sectarian needs, it follows the best of our traditions.   For it respects the nature of our people and accommodates the public service to their spiritual needs."
So where is it now?   It has declined from it's peak and is languishing in obscurity; but, it's on its way back by necessity.
Although Zorach upheld the constitutionality of release(d) time programs, public school administrators . . . should pursue two goals accommodation and neutrality.   Students should be permitted access to a release(d) time program in order to accommodate their religious beliefs.   The Lanner court suggested that "there must be some measure of accommodation to avoid the constitutionally impermissible result of totally subordinating either religion clause to the other." . .
The school should be completely neutral in allowing release(d) time as an option for its students.   If the school encourages or discourages religion in any way the program will fail.   Courts have never held that release(d) time contravenes the Establishment Clause.   Instead, only the manner in which the program is implemented has been called into question.
The fact that Released Time Bible Study (RTBS) has been around since 1914 and has not been sustained anywhere for very long suggests that local parents need to organize a non-profit corporation to sustain it in perpetuity.   Another important aspect of RTBS is its ability to be accredited and have credits that count toward graduation.
There are multiple, independent RTBS programs nation wide. (See 9. Start a School: Christian or Alternative.01/05)

Hatch Amendment of 1984.
The Hatch Amendment is a law that was passed in 1984 for the purpose of providing parents with rights & opportunities; such that, if a child was harmed, by any of the 17 listed items, that the parent would have some recourse for protecting their child and additionally his neighbor's child.   However, the problem is that very few parents have the resources i.e. time, money or legal acumen to accomplish the desired results via this law.  Some parents have found that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to confront and improve the child's class without actually filing a suit using this method.   As a result parents are acquiescing their rights and relying on other parents to hold the schools and school boards accountable.   The parents are also seeking to get their kids out of the situation as soon as possible by waiting for vouchers.   Because parents see vouchers as the only immediate hope and because of the heavy legislation and regulation on vouchers we doubt that it will ever meet the majority of the public school parents' expectations.
Ed. - Several letters have appeared as a result of the Hatch Amendment.   The original letter, "Sample Hatch Amendment Letter" for parents to use in addressing the issues at their child's school or school board, is available from ACLJ in "Knowing Your Rights" booklet pgs. 32-33.   See: / Liberty / Defenders: for contact information.  or contact the author: Sally D. Reed at National Council for Better Education    717 Second Street NE, Suite 311    Washington, DC 20002    Telephone: (202) 547-0645.
We have duplicated and annotated several such letters for your encouragement and information with links to the the original letters..  So that you don't loose your place on this page, this link will open a new window with the links to our annotated letters. > [] Sample Hatch Amendment Letters [] = [] file [] ,

National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools.
P.O. Box 9743, Greensboro NC 27429 (910) 272-3799 Fax (910) 272-7199
Elizabeth Ridenour, President
Elizabeth Ridenour's cover letter January 15, 1995: "..I am pleased to let you know that every school board that has been approached so far around the country to adopt the Bible course curriculum has done so with 95% of them voting unanimously for it. ....The Bible is the textbook, and it is taught as history and literature, which is our Constitutional right." Letter of June 4, 1997: ".... this course is in school districts in 18 states." > MBI, Prime Time broadcast, 91.1FM July 22, 2003: "(Ridenour) . . this course is in school districts in 36 states."
Select items from the NCBCPS information booklet for elective Bible classes:
9. OVERVIEW   "The curriculum for the program shows a concern to convey the content of the Bible as compared to literature and history. The program is primarily concerned with education rather than indoctrination of students.   The central approach of the class is simply to study the Bible as a foundation document of society, and that approach is altogether appropriate in a comprehensive program of secular education." . . .
12. PUBLIC SCHOOLS - BIBLE CURRICULUM (Petition Statement & Form)...
Editor. - Since these elective classes are on the DOE State Approved List in most states , it is only a matter of generating a sufficient quantity of students to have the school provide & schedule the classes in the local schools.  Blank & sample petition forms are available under items "3" and"7" at: [] Hisways.org/HowTo/index.htm []

Private Schools, Classical Schools, Neighborhood
Schools, Federal Charter Schools.
Although these schools do not necessarily have a chronological corollary as proposed above, it is very interesting to note that the decline in the public school product and quality seems to have caused the alternative school explosion.   These are additional educational options that parents can take.
We received information on the Federal Charter Schools from The Center for Education Reform 1001 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 204 Washington, DC 20036 established in 1993.   Interestingly, one of the articles enclosed was a New York Times article headlined: "Charter Schools Are Not A Threat".
The Constitution left education to the States, and consequently and rightly some have advocated for the abolishment of the Federal Dept. of Education.   HISways USA believes that working with local school districts financed by local citizens i.e. local property owners is more effective and ultimately the right civic priority.  Priorities for the church or for the family may be substantially more conservative.
After perusing the last /History/ article below, look for our "Alternate Schools/Education" item in /USA/ below for additional information and resources for these products.

Next History Article in the Series:
II. / History / 5. Disappointment of Traditional Discipleship Training.

Web Directory Titles
I. Introduction <<= ....  II. /History/ of Public School Bible.  ...=>>  III.  What are the Public School Programs in  /USA/ ? 

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