History of School Programs with Transcendental Meditation in Education

1965 to 1979
The Students' International Meditation Society (SIMS) incorporated in 1965/1966 and focused on offering the TM technique to students and faculty at schools and universities. The UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) chapter had 1,000 members and was co-founded by researcher and physiologist, Robert Keith Wallace, the first president of Maharishi International University. By 1974, 14 states had encouraged local schools to teach TM in the classroom, and it was taught at 50 universities. Among the public school systems where TM was taught were Shawnee Mission, Kansas, Maplewood, Paterson, Union Hill and West New York, New Jersey, Eastchester, New York and North York, Ontario. The organization was described as a "phenomenal success" and continues to function in some countries including the U.S.A. A 33-lesson video course called the Science of Creative Intelligence was offered at universities such as Stanford, Yale, the University of Colorado, the University of Wisconsin, and Oregon State University.

In 1979, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the 1977 decision of the US District Court of New Jersey that a course in Transcendental Meditation and the Science of Creative Intelligence (SCI) was religious activity within the meaning of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and that the government funded teaching of SCI/TM in the New Jersey public high schools was prohibited. The court ruled that, although SCI/TM is not a theistic religion, it deals with issues of ultimate concern, truth, and other ideas analogous to those in well-recognized religions. The court found that the religious nature of the course was clear from careful examination of the textbook, the expert testimony elicited, and the uncontested facts concerning the puja ceremony, which it found involved "offerings to deities as part of a regularly scheduled course in the schools' educational programs". State action was involved because the SCI/TM course and activities involved the teaching of a religion, without an objective secular purpose. According to religious scholar Cynthia Ann Humes the Malnak decision "dismantled" the TM program's use of government funding to incorporate Transcendental Meditation into public schools. However, according to religious scholars Douglas E. Cowan and David G. Bromley this "judicial rebuff" of the New Jersey school project did not render "a negative evaluation of the program itself" and those who oppose the practice in public schools are said to be mainly conservative Christians and civil libertarians who seek to preserve church-state separation.

1980 to 1999
Since 1979, schools and universities in the U.S. and abroad have introduced the Transcendental Meditation technique using private, non-governmental funding. The technique has been introduced on a voluntary basis, with parental consent, and teachers and parents are taught the meditation before the students learn. Often referred to as the Quiet Time Program, the students and teachers meditate for 10 to 20 minutes twice per day. The program consists of TM instruction and follow-up, as well as training of school faculty and staff to supervise the TM sessions offered at the school.

The Fletcher Johnson Educational Center, a charter school with 1,500 students in Washington, D.C., introduced the TM program for schools in 1994. Its principal, George H. Rutherford, is a member of the DLF's Board of Advisors. The Ideal Academy Public Charter School began its program with the approval of the Washington, D.C. Board of Education in 1997. The 2005-2006 pilot project at Ideal Academy was conducted along with research to document the effects of the program. The Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse in Detroit began using the program for students in the fifth through eighth grade in 1996 and was featured on the Today Show in 2003. The school has since been classified by the Skillman Foundation as a "High-Performing Middle School". Over the years, the program at Nitaki Talibah has been funded by various foundations including General Motors, Daimler Chrysler, the Liebler Foundation and the DLF. The program at the school has been researched by Rita Benn of the University of Michigan's Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research Center.

2000 to present
The Chelsea School, a private school in of Silver Spring, Maryland, offers the program to its fifth through twelfth graders who have attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders (ADHD). The program was part of a three-month pilot study conducted by William R. Stixrud, a clinical neuropsychologist and health advisor for the TM's Committee for Stress-Free Schools. The New York Times reported in 2005 that American University, in Washington D.C., was set to begin offering Transcendental Meditation classes as part of a research project to measure its potential effect on "grades, IQ's and mental health". Later, the practice of the technique by 250 students at American University, Georgetown University and Howard University in the Washington D.C. area was monitored as part of a research study conducted by American University and Maharishi University of Management.

In 2004, the New York Committee for Stress-Free Schools held a press conference in New York City. The conference included testimony from students, educators and scientists who support the use of TM in the school setting. The following year the TM technique was taught to "more than 100 administrators, teachers and students" and over the next five years, 300 additional high school students learned the technique. According to the DLF web site, the TM program was introduced to the Arts and Technology Academy at Weaver High School in Hartford CT in 2006. Four hundred and fifty students as well as principals and administrators are reported to have been instructed in the technique. A voluntary program at the Kingsbury School, a Washington D.C. private school "for students with learning disorders" in grades K-12, was featured on the PBS program, To The Contrary in 2007. According to the school director, about 10 percent of the teachers, parents and students declined to participate because they found it be religious and cult-ish. Conferences sponsored by the New England Committee for Stress-Free Schools were held in Providence, Rhode Island; Fairfield, Connecticut; and Boston, Massachusetts in 2005. The Boston conference was attended by 100 teachers and featured testimony from school principals who have experience with the TM program in schools. In the mid-2000s the TM technique was incorporated into the educational program at the Daburiya High School in Israel.

The David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace (DLF) was founded in 2004 and has provided funding for Transcendental Meditation instruction in many educational settings. According to the DLF, it has funded school programs in New York City, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Vietnam, Nepal, Northern Ireland, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Israel.

In 2006, six public schools were each awarded $25,000 to begin a TM program and a total of twenty five public, private, and charter schools in the United States had offered Transcendental Meditation to their students. In 2006, the Terra Linda High School in San Rafael, California canceled plans for Transcendental Meditation classes due to concerns of parents that it would be promoting religion. In the San Francisco area there are three schools that offer the technique as part of their school program, funded primarily by the David Lynch Foundation. The Visitacion Valley Middle School began the program in 2007 and the Everett Middle School and John O'Connell High School began the program sometime after that. The Maharishi Institute, an African university, was founded in 2007 and uses the Transcendental Meditation technique in its programs.

As of 2008, the David Lynch Foundation had funded TM instruction for "more than 2,000 students, teachers and parents" at "21 U.S. schools and universities", in addition to substantially higher numbers of instruction at schools outside the U.S. Programs have been conducted in Washington D.C., Hartford CT, San Francisco CA, Detroit MI, Steamboat Springs CO, Tucson AZ, Los Angeles CA and Chicago IL. One of those programs was the Lowell Whiteman Primary School in Steamboat Springs, Colorado which implemented a two-year trial program using Transcendental Meditation in their classrooms. The program was used with fifth through eighth graders. After instruction, the TM teachers visit the school once per month to assess the students' progress and their meditation technique. The following year, about 160 students and teachers at Tucson Magnet High School in Tucson AZ, took the training in Transcendental Meditation and meditate daily for 15 minutes before or after school.

In 2010, the women's squash team at Trinity College in Hartford, CT began practicing the TM technique together after every practice. In 2011 music mogul Russell Simmons announced plans to provide financial support to the David Lynch Foundation to teach TM at Hillhouse High School in New Haven, Connecticut. The TM technique was taught to students at Norwich University, a private military academy, as part of a long-term study on meditation and military performance.