Even though religion is embedded in K-12 humanities and social science curriculum standards—as well as in the Common Core Standards—there is no comprehensive information about how religion is taught in public schools in the United States.
Beginning in the summer of 2015, the Religious Literacy Project launched an ambitious research initiative that seeks to better understand how religion is taught in K-12 schools across the country. We are beginning with secondary schools, and as of the spring of 2016 we have collected information on over 8,000 public high schools in 25 states.
Among other things, data collected for this project includes questions on whether schools offer courses in the humanities or social sciences that explicitly engage questions of religion, and if so, whether these courses are specifically focused on teaching about religion (e.g., "Introduction to World Religions" or "Bible as Literature") or whether religion topics are embedded within broader coursework (e.g., "American History" or "World History" with an explicit emphasis on religion).
Once data collection is complete, we will map and analyze how religion topics are currently being taught in secondary public schools in the United States for the first comprehensive study of its kind to date. We will then turn our attention to middle schools and then to primary schools, pending funding support.