Easter in Public Schools

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Education leaders from around the country recognize the importance of students learning about the Bible. For example, a California sixth grade academic standard expects students to learn about "the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as described in the New Testament" (see p. 26; standard 6.7.6)

In Massachusetts,  seventh graders are to "describe the origins of Christianity and its central features: A. monotheism; B. the belief in Jesus as the Messiah and God's son who redeemed humans from sin; C. the concept of salvation; D. belief in the Old and New Testament; E. the lives and teachings of Jesus and Saint Paul." (see p. 47; standard 7.41)

In Florida, sixth-graders are to "identify key figures and the basic beliefs of early Christianity." In Texas, sixth-graders are expected to explain "the significance of religious holidays and observances" including Easter. (scroll to 113.18.B.19.B)


It is important when teaching students about a religion that you remain objective. The best way to achieve this is by attribution. For example, when introducing a lesson on the Resurrection, explain to students that it is from Luke's account of the life of Jesus. Use phrases such as, "Luke wrote that...," or "The Bible says...".

When referring to beliefs about the story, use phrases such as "Christians believe...," or "Martin Luther King, Jr. believed..." 

Your goal should be to introduce students to the story and help them understand the influence it has had on history, literature, art, and music. The lesson is not designed to prove the story is true, nor question whether the story is accurate.

According to the U.S. Department of Education's guidelines on students' religious liberties, your students have the right to freely express themselves regarding their personal beliefs. However, as moderator of a class discussion on this topic, you should emphasize that every student be respectful regarding their classmates' comments. No student should be made to feel excluded for expressing belief or disbelief in the story.

As a teacher, you can be confident in addressing this topic. This story has had significant influence in world history and should be understood as such. You are not teaching Sunday school; you are teaching a subject that has impacted history, social movements, politics, literature, art, and music.


You can request a copy of our Easter Lesson Plan for Public Schools by CLICKING HEREIt adapts Luke 22-24 into a textbook-style lesson with pictures, vocabulary, culture facts, and discussion questions.

St. Patrick's Day Commemorates a Christian Missionary

St. Patrick's Day is coming up and I'm sure your schools are going to be recognizing it with green and shamrocks and leprechauns. That's always fun. But I would encourage you to also teach your children and your students the real story of who Patrick was.

As a young boy he was captured and became a slave for the Irish. He then escaped after six years, became a priest, and went back to share the Gospel with his captors. The consequence of his life was 120,000 Irish converted to Christianity and 300 churches and monasteries were started. It's a fascinating story. St. Patrick's Day is the commemoration of the impact of a Christian missionary not only on the Irish, but on European and Western civilization. As Thomas Cahill writes in his book, How the Irish Saved Civilization:

"[A]s the Roman Empire fell, as all through Europe matted, unwashed barbarians descended on the Roman cities, looting artifacts and burning books, the Irish, who were just learning to read and write, took up the great labor of copying all of western literature-everything they could lay their hands on." 

"These scribes then served as conduits through which the Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian cultures were transmitted to the tribes of Europe, newly settled amid the rubble and ruined vineyards of the civilization they had overwhelmed. Without this Service of the Scribes, everything that happened subsequently would have been unthinkable." 

"Without the Mission of the Irish Monks, who single-handedly re-founded European civilization throughout the continent in the bays and valleys of their exile, the world that came after them would have been an entirely different one--a world without books. And our own world would never have come to be."

Below are some resources for you to use in your home or in your classroom.


A Little-Known MLK Sermon - "Rediscovering Lost Values"

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

An inspiring sermon America needs to hear,

"Rediscovering Lost Values" (1954)

This Monday (January 15) is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Tuesday (January 16) is Religious Freedom Day. The two are related. The Rev. King, motivated by his Christian faith, stood, marched, and spoke to advance civil rights. While many people know about his "I Have a Dream..." speech, few have heard the inspiring sermon he delivered in Detroit in 1954 - "Rediscovering Lost Values."

His message, then, is just as relevant for America today:

"My friends, all I'm trying to say is that if we are to go forward today, we've got to go back and rediscover some mighty precious values that we've left behind. That's the only way that we would be able to make of our world a better world, and to make of this world what God wants it to be and the real purpose and meaning of it. The only way we can do it is to go back and rediscover some mighty precious values that we've left behind."

  • For a more powerful experience, read the printed text while listening to Rev. King deliver his 1954 message by clicking here or watching below.


What is Religious Freedom Day? - Teaching Without Fear, Part 19

Each year since 1993, the President declares January 16th to be “Religious Freedom Day,” and calls upon Americans to “observe this day through appropriate events and activities in homes, schools, and places of worship.” It’s not the day you get to have religious freedom! It’s a day to celebrate the freedom we have year ‘round.

It’s the anniversary of the passage, in 1786, of the Virginia Statute on Religious Freedom. Thomas Jefferson drafted the legislation and considered it one of his greatest achievements. It protected the rights of people to express their religious beliefs without suffering discrimination and it influenced how the First Amendment was written just three years later.

It’s a great opportunity for students to learn a civics lesson about their religious freedom at school. Ask your school to recognize the Day, and have teachers give students a list of their freedoms to express their faith in class.

For more information on Religious Freedom Day and the list of freedoms students have, click on the link below.



Christmas & Religious Freedom - Teaching Without Fear, Part 18

How have your local schools recognized Christmas this year? Did students learn about the birth - and life - of Jesus? Were they allowed to say "Merry Christmas" and give out Christmas cards in class? Could they talk about their faith in Jesus? Or, did the school censor the religious aspects of the holiday and suppress students' freedom of expression?

If your schools did the latter, I have good news. There's a special day coming in January that could help solve the problem. Every year since 1993, the President - whether Democrat or Republican - declares January 16th to be "Religious Freedom Day."

It's a day to learn about and celebrate the freedom of religious expression protected by the First Amendment. It's a great opportunity for students to learn a civics lesson about their religious freedom at school. AND, it's a great way for educators and school administrators to learn that students DO have the freedom to express their faith in class.

The U.S. Department of Education has clarified students' religious freedoms. We've created a pamphlet that quotes right from their document and you can distribute them in your church and in your schools. To get the pamphlets, click on the link below.


Free to Speak pamphlets