Some U.S. schools have religious roots [photo gallery]

Although most American children enroll in a public school system, which focuses on secular subjects, religious denominations played a significant role in early American education. And many private schools today retain religious roots.

There were few schools in Colonial times. Children were educated at home to read the Christian Bible. That’s what early schools taught, too.

A new book, Faith + Freedom: Religion in the USA, examines links between religion and education in the United States, among other aspects of religious practice in the country.

These photographs from the book illustrate America’s religious heritage.

Students walking across lawn on college campus (© Matt Rourke/AP Images)
Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, founded by Quakers, was among the earliest coeducational institutions in the United States. (© Matt Rourke/AP Images)

Men and women seated cross-legged on cushions on the floor of a classroom (© Naropa University)
Naropa University in Colorado, the first accredited U.S. Buddhist college, is noted for emphasis on Eastern religions and the arts. Here a meditation class is in session. (© Naropa University)

Girls in white headscarves holding their school banner (© Ethel Wolvovitz/Alamy)
Girls from the Razi School in Queens, New York City, attend a parade. The school offers classes from pre-school through secondary school. (© Ethel Wolvovitz/Alamy)

Amish children playing volleyball outside red schoolhouse (© Planetpix/Alamy)
Amish children play volleyball outside their one-room schoolhouse in Pennsylvania. The Amish often do not go to school beyond the eighth grade. (© Planetpix/Alamy)


To learn more, download the free PDF.

Photo editing done by Linda Epstein.