The Ten Commitments handed out at the recent NCSS St. Louis Conference.

Read about the moms’ adventures at the National Council for the Social Studies Conference here and here.

Hope picked a humanist flier for a classroom session at the recent National Council for the Social Studies.  You might want to review your student’s common core aligned curriculum to see if the “ten commitments” are being studied in your school.  The  copy above details teacher strategies for use in Common Core standards.  We will have a scanned copy with the entire document on MEW next week.

Here is the website to access a clearer copy and vision statement from The American Humanist Association: “Good without a God”:


Many students spend as much or more time in school than they do at home. Therefore, the school must be a place that supports family and community efforts to build strong values. Consistent with our constitution and our ever-changing diverse society, such values can and ought to be taught free of ideology and theology. In that spirit, we offer the following values for public school teachers, administrators, and students. To be sure, schools are responsible for developing literate and skilled human beings. But they also must be committed to helping their students develop good personal, social, and citizenship values. This ethical mission is an essential part of all education, public and private, elementary through high school and university. In a democratic and pluralist society, we believe that the values presented should be the moral foundation of education.

-The Advisory Council of the Kochhar Humanist Education Center

You can find the ten commitments here.

What happens when the values The Humanist Center believes in clash with family efforts and beliefs?  Does the Constitution demand that values are to be taught free of ideology and theology or does it protect the individual’s right to practice and live his/her religious (or not) life as he/see deems appropriate?  How can any morals be taught apart from an ideological position?  Who defines good personal, social, and citizenship values?  Should this private organization define the ten commitments to which schools adhere?  Not only does it want to be an essential part of the moral and ethical direction of public education, it wants private educational institutions to join in this direction.

The United States of America is a constitutional republic and should not be confused with a democratic system of government.  What happens when the ideological beliefs collide: the quest for the “common good” vs the quest for “individual liberty and freedom”?  Do the “ten commitments” bring individual and freedom into the discussion or is it all for the collective good? Why should this private organization that envisions “Good without a God” be looked as an organization that sets the moral direction for schools or your child?

Danette Clark writes about the Humanist Association here and provides more information on the organization.

What do you think about Common Core alignment strategies to incorporate many of the AHA’s ten commitments in schools?  A goal of the AHA is to establish a Humanist Teacher’s Corp.  From its website:

The American Humanist Association believes that the time has arrived to establish the Humanist Teacher Corps. Recently we have supported the use of billboards and bus ads to send the message that one should “Be Good for Goodness Sake.” But humanism means much more than an advertising slogan; humanism is about moral and ethical values. That is the message we must convey to the public. But how do we do this?

An answer was suggested when the award-winning TV and movie writer and director Joss Whedon accepted the 2009 Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism. He stated that, “Basically there really is only one answer [to supporting humanist morality], and it is education, education, education … the only way to break down systems truly without violence, and without chaos and without all the things that people think of non-believers as espousing is education. It is categorically the one thing that we must bring to our neighborhoods, our people, our families, our world, other countries… The enemy of humanism is not faith; the enemy of humanism is hate, is fear, is ignorance.”

It is in this spirit that the Kochhar Humanist Education Center is establishing the Humanist Teacher Corps. Our intent is to identify and mobilize a cadre of American Humanist Association members and other supporters of humanism to engage in action individually or in teams on one or more of the following activities:

  1. To develop curriculum resources on humanist issues
  2. To provide presentations at community forums to inform the public about humanist principles and values
  3. To serve as watchdogs and advocate for more humanistic curricula and textbooks in public schools and assess state standards for their historical accuracy

Members of each of these three groups will also be asked to write articles for American Humanist Association journals, including The Humanist, Essays in the Philosophy of Humanism and other publications.

The Humanist Teacher Corps will be a primary line of defense against efforts to meld church and state in the public schools. By monitoring local school boards, we will be able to act to keep the First Amendment intact and ensure that state-developed content standards maintain historical accuracy and integrity.

As of early June at the AHA 2010 conference, we have had continuing communication with approximately 60 people who have indicated interest in this endeavor and who have either submitted resources or indicated that they will do so. That is an excellent beginning! But as you see from the list of projected activities, the tasks are large. We hope that there are many members of the American Humanist Association and other supporters of humanism who will want to be part of the Humanist Teacher Corps. We aim to expand this number ten-fold–and hopefully more!

The AHA also would like for you to submit state standards for its review.  But since most of the states adopted Common Core standards, it will be easier to submit its ten commitments in history/social studies curriculum via ELA standards.





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