Society for Humanistic Judaism Calls for the Enforcement of Secular Educational Curricula in Public, Private and Parochial Schools
As Humanistic Jews, we believe that children have a fundamental human right to receive a quality education in secular subjects that builds their capacity to become productive members of society and achieve their full potential. We believe that all students should study a solid core curriculum to gain the tools needed to make a living, provide for their families, become independent of state assistance, and participate as functioning citizens in a democratic society.
As Humanistic Jews, we find it harmful to children and antithetical to the humanistic values of personal dignity and individual autonomy when children receive sub-standard secular education. We believe that private and parochial schools must provide instruction that is substantially equivalent to what is offered in the public schools. It is unacceptable and anathema to humanistic values that children grow up without gaining a basic grounding in reading, mathematics, science, history, and social studies.
As Humanistic Jews, we fundamentally uphold the value of freedom of religion and believe parents should be able to educate their children on religious values and doctrine. We believe that religious observance and lifestyles – including home schooling — should be respected. Nevertheless, religious education should not supplant the minimum core secular educational requirements that are imperative to ensuring a functioning society.
As Humanistic Jews, we believe governments have a responsibility to enforce the application of core standards of secular education. While freedom of religion is a central tenet of democracy, it should not infringe on secular educational standards that are fundamental to human progress and dignity.
The Society for Humanistic Judaism urges governments to establish and enforce the inclusion of secular curricula in all public, private and parochial schools and prohibit deviations under the auspices of “freedom of religion.” Religion should never infringe on the fundamental human rights of children to become enlightened, autonomous and productive members of society.
— November, 2016