How Do the 3Rs Principles Apply in Schools?

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The majority of Californians realize that we live in the most diverse state in the nation. What most do not recognize is that this diversity is religious as well as ethnic and racial. The U.S. is the most religiously diverse and religiously observant industrial country in the world. This exploding pluralism of belief has led to bitter culture wars. The California 3Rs Project is built on the conviction that the principles of the First Amendment are the best guide to reaching consensus on how best to educate our children amid this conflict.

The 3Rs Project reaffirms the shared civic principles of the Religious Liberty clauses of the First Amendment as the foundation for finding this “common ground.”

Rights

Religious liberty, or freedom of conscience, is a basic and inalienable right founded on the inviolable dignity of each person.

Responsibilities

Freedom of conscience is not only a universal right, but it depends upon a universal responsibility to respect that right for others.

Respect

Debate and disagreement are natural elements of democracy. Yet, if we are to live with our differences, not only what we debate, but how we debate is critical. A strong democracy and strong schools rest on a commitment by people of differing convictions to treat one another with civility.

Common Issues Related to Religion in Public Schools

NCLB requirement for school districts to provide a Constitutionally Protected Prayer assurance to the U.S. Department of Education.

Academic study of the roots, beliefs and influences of Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Islam in the grade 6, 7, 10 history-social science curriculum.

Inclusion of assessment items about religion on California Standards Tests.

Determining policy related to religious clubs on campus.

Making decisions related to the “December Dilemma” and the school’s role in learning about rather than celebrating religious holidays in schools.

Establishing a school calendar that is sensitive to religious observances of staff and students.

Selecting curriculum or programs in character education.

Developing policies related to the distribution of literature and school/classroom presentations by community representatives.

Working with the religious community in the development of after school programs.

Creating a tolerant school environment for students of all religious beliefs or none.