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First Amendment education programs


First Amendment education programs

Through its education programs, the First Amendment Center works with schools and communities throughout the nation. The center's school-reform initiative, consensus guidelines and conflict-mediation efforts are designed to promote strong public support for First Amendment principles and ideas. The center's religious-freedom programs educate Americans about the history, meaning and significance of the First Amendment's religious-liberty clauses. The programs help Americans find common ground across religious differences using the guiding principles of religious freedom. First Amendment Center education and religious-freedom programs include:

  • First Amendment Schools
    This multiyear collaboration between the First Amendment Center and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) is designed to transform how schools teach and apply the guiding principles of the First Amendment. The initiative is developing model schools throughout the nation to encourage all schools to become laboratories of democratic freedom. (See Web site at link above.)

  • Lesson plans: high schools

  • Lesson plans: colleges (to come)

  • Finding Common Ground
    From court-ordered training for teachers and administrators in northern Alabama to mediation between religious conservatives and schools in northern California, the center uses First Amendment principles to resolve conflicts over religion and values in public schools.

  • 3Rs — Rights, Responsibilities & Respect
    The First Amendment Center sponsors statewide "3Rs" programs in California and Utah that help school districts develop religious-liberty policies and prepare teachers to address religion and religious diversity in the classroom. Similar initiatives are under way in many local districts in Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, New York and other states.

  • Consensus guidelines
    The center produces consensus guidelines on First Amendment issues in education. In January 2000, the U.S. Department of Education disseminated three of these agreements to every public school in the nation. The center's publication Religious Liberty, Public Education, and the Future of American Democracy, is co-sponsored by 24 religious and educational organizations ranging from the Christian Coalition to People for the American Way.

    Related resources

  • High school journalism lesson plans from the American Society of Newspaper Editors
  • Curricula from the Journalism Education Association
  • Resources from the Student Press Law Center



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