Dr. Charles Haynes, director of the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum and a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, will participate in two panels at the Leon S. Peters Ethics Lecture Series, “Civic Education, Religious Diversity, & Democracy,” from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 13, in the University Dining Hall at Fresno State.

Haynes is considered the nation’s preeminent expert on First Amendment and religious issues in schools, said Dr. Andrew Fiala, director of the Ethics Center and chair of the Department of Philosophy at Fresno State.

Over the past two decades, Haynes has been the principal organizer and drafter of consensus guidelines on religious liberty in schools, endorsed by a broad range of religious and educational organizations. In January 2000, three of these guides were distributed by the U.S. Department of Education to every public school in the nation.

In addition to Haynes, two local teachers – James Kusserow, Tulare County Teacher of the Year, and Deborah Brown, Madera County Teacher of the Year – will deliver keynote addresses at the opening session.

The first of the two panels that runs 8:30-11:30 a.m. with Haynes will focus on education, religious diversity and the First Amendment, including a discussion of the “Face to Faith” curriculum project with guest speaker Marcia Beauchamp from Tony Blair’s Faith Foundation.

Fiala will join Haynes and Brown in the second panel from 12:30-2:30 p.m., “Civic Education and Democracy in the 21st Century” along with Lori Grace, Fresno State doctoral student and principal at Hoover High School in Fresno, and Dr. John Minkler, program director of the Academy for Civic and Entrepreneurial Leadership.

They will discuss the role and purpose of civic education in American schools in the 21st Century; whether public schools serve the purpose of educating future citizens about democratic principles including key principles found in the Bill of Rights; and the civic mission of schools as the Common Core standards come to reality in 2014.

In addition to the Bonner Center and the Ethics Center, the event is co-sponsored by the Interfaith Alliance of Central California and the Academy for Civic and Entrepreneurial Leadership (ACEL) of Fresno, with support from the Human Rights Coalition of the Central Valley and the Leon S. Peters Foundation.

The final spring semester Ethics Lecture Series will be Thursday, April 18, featuring Dr. Alejandro Santana of the University of Portland discussing Aztec philosophy.

For more information, contact Fiala at afiala@csufresno.edu or Dr. Susan Schlievert at susansc@csufresno.edu.

Related Links:

Dr. Charles Haynes: First Amendment Center
Ethics Center at Fresno State