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  1. The DVD Four Centuries of American Educationdescribes the early years of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. What commonalities does Barton point out about the founding of these three universities? What is the main point Barton is making by these types of illustrations?

Yale and Harvard were founded by congregationalist and Princeton by the Presbyterians for the purpose of educating men and to “train men in the word of God in order to minister to others” (Barton, 2004). Several commonalities identified the belief systems, values, and mission within the three colleges curriculum mandates. One, that the Bible was the foundation of the forming of America and it was the source for learning all subjects. Thomas Paine according to Barton frowned on any school that taught students without the Bible claiming that the “origin of science” is the Creator Himself and to neglect relating science back to Him was a form of teaching “atheism” to students. (Barton, 2004). Founders of these colleges, some serving as professors, were also the Founding Fathers and signers of the Declaration such as Benjamin Franklin, Noah Webster, Benjamin Rush, John Witherspoon. The faculty of these schools required that students should attend church services throughout the week and attend service on the weekend to learn how to live moral religious lives. The key textbook to be studied was the Bible therefore students were required by all three colleges to read and study the Bible daily and memorize the scriptures in order to live by the precepts and principles therein. Barton effectively lays out the historical evidence that the founding fathers strongly admonished the removal of the Bible as a main textbook from the classroom. They did not ever intend that utilizing the scripture for subject lessons or a textbook should be unconstitutional. This was reflected in the first education law called the “Old Deluders Satan Act of 1642” to prevent illiteracy “Public schools were instituted among communities to provide a sound education based on the Word of God, the Bible.” (Barton, 2004). Secondly, the first federal law called the “Northwest Ordinance authored by the founding fathers and part of the First Amendment, article three binds religion and education together not separate. Webster opposed any thought of removal proclaiming to the Supreme Court “opposed any education that forbade religious instruction” (Barton, 2004). Therefore, Barton presents clear evidence that historical education, doctrines, mandates, and laws never endorsed the separation of school and religion. Within the Constitution itself there is a clear objective to maintain the Word of God, the Bible, as one of the most valuable resource on subjects such as history, literature and language. Barton states that the “Time tested principles of a sound education are religion, morality and knowledge” (Barton, 2004).

References

Four Centuries of American Education. (2004). [DVD] Directed by D. Barton. Alledo Texas: Wallbuilders

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