In 1954, the General Council of the Presbyterian Church in the USA requested the Board of Christian Education to formulate a statement which would articulate the position of the Church regarding public elementary and secondary education in the United States. Charged with this responsibility, the Committee on Religion and Public Education attempted to respond to five major concerns:
l) What should the PCUSA's conviction be regarding the place of public education in a free society?
2) What religious dimension in the experiences of students should Presbyterians expect and sanction in the schools?
3) What should the Church's attitude be toward the parochial school movement and other types of weekday systems of religious education?
4) What is the Church's responsibility to provide constructive motivation for the leaders who serve both in the public school and the church and to discover better means o¬£ communication between these institutions?
5) How can the Church provide religious education for its own youth and at the same time assume a role constructive influence in the educational efforts of the total community?
With these objectives in mind, the Committee studied the relationship of the Church to the public schools in different parts of the country through interviews and small group conferences. The Committee, comprised of prominent educators and churchmen with varying opinions, generated a report entitled "The Church and the Public Schools" which was accepted by the 169th General Assembly of the PCUSA in 1957.