"Empty Classroom 2020" by Dobrislava / CC BY-SA 4.0

Research Shows How Public Schools Discriminate Against Atheist & Muslim Families

Sep 1, 2020

By Hemant Mehta

A group of researchers say that public school principals in the U.S. discriminate against atheist and Muslim families, and the way they made this claim is fascinating.

The new paper was published in the journal Public Administration Review, and it’s the work of Steven Pfaff (University of Washington), Charles Crabtree (Dartmouth College), Holger L. Kern (Florida State University), and John B. Holbein (University of Virginia). They conducted this research because they say there’s very little information on whether “street‐level bureaucrats” (like principals) treat people differently based on their religious identities.

So here’s what they did: They emailed the principals of roughly 45,000 schools (pre-K through 12th grade) in 33 states. They posed as parents who wanted to enroll their kids in those schools… but wanted an in-person meeting with the principal before making the final decision.

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