The education provided by Canadaâ€™s faith-based schools is a subject of public, political, and scholarly controversy. As the population becomes more religiously diverse, the continued establishment and support of faith-based schools has reignited debates about whether they should be funded publicly and to what extent they threaten social cohesion.
These discussions tend to occur without considering a fundamental question: How do faith-based schools envision and enact their educational missions? Discipline, Devotion, and Dissent offers responses to that question by examining a selection of Canadaâ€™s Jewish, Catholic, and Islamic schools. The daily reality of these schools is illuminated through essays that address the aims and practices that characterize these schools, how they prepare their students to become citizens of a multicultural Canada, and how they respond to dissent in the classroom.
The essays in this book reveal that Canadaâ€™s faith-based schools sometimes succeed and sometimes struggle in bridging the demands of the faith and the need to create participating citizens of a multicultural society. Discussion surrounding faith-based schools in Canada would be enriched by a better understanding of the aims and practices of these schools, and this book provides a gateway to the subject.
``Religious education is a particularly contentious topic in an increasingly secular society. And yet there is surprisingly little scholarly literature on this topic. The editors seek to address this gap through this excellent and much needed contribution to the field. ... Given this ongoing controversy in Canada, Discipline, Devotion, and Dissent can ideally help foster a healthier and more informed debate about the role of religious schools there. ''- Aruba Mahmud, American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, Volume 31, number 3, Summer 2014
``The editors' choice to concentrate on only Catholic, Jewish, and Islamic schools . .. achieves the stated goal of allowing the reader to reflect on different perspectives surrounding debates over religious schools. The focus on three religions also serves the discussion regarding three important aspects of the debate. In the first part, it affords the reader the opportunity to become more familiar with the approach to education particular to each of the studies religions. In the second, we consider the integration of Canadian multicultural values into religious teachings, while in the third we are exposed to the openness of religious schools to internal pluralism. In this fashion, the readers comes to appreciate different facets of the daily functioning of such schools, grasping a more holistic portrait of their reality. ... In sum, since religious schooling in Canada is a subject that has been scarcely treated in academic literature, even though it regularly occupies the public attention, a sort of demystification of religious schools emerges in this book. This reveals that even while respecting a religious faith and structure, such institutions can encourage students to be a part of a tolerant and open society. These contradictions in experiences within religious schools are well-discussed in the book's conclusion, â€˜Diversity and Deliberation in Faith-Based Schoolsâ€™ (Mintz), a chapter that, without trying to eliminate the controversy, shows how such schools have a place in the quest for Canadian identity. ''- Sivane Hirsch, Canadian Jewish Studies/Ã‰tudes juivres canadiennes, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2012