The Tennessee State Board of Education recently took a big step to making their state’s public education curriculum more inclusive. The state’s new social studies standards for the first time ever includes educating students about Sikhism, the world’s fifth largest religion and the only major faith not previously included in the curriculum.
Today, Americans United filed a lawsuit challenging President Donald J. Trump’s latest attempt at a Muslim ban. The suit seeks justice for Muslim Yemeni parents who were granted asylum in the United States and are now unable to get U.S. visas for two of their young children still stranded overseas and facing the danger of returning to war-torn Yemen.
President-elect Donald Trump has tapped Betsy DeVos as his nominee for Secretary of Education, despite the fact that she has no experience with public education. Instead, DeVos has led the crusade to create taxpayer-funded private school voucher programs, which undermine our public schools. What’s more, vouchers don’t improve educational outcomes, they lack accountability and oversight, they fund schools that discriminate and violate religious freedom.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State has been fighting for church-state separation for 70 years. A vital part of our work has always involved listening to the voices of young people who find new and effective ways to speak out for religious freedom and stand up to those who use religion to harm others.
Each year, Americans United recognizes a young person under the age of 25 who has advocated for religious freedom and church-state separation in their community with the David Norr Youth Activist Award.
Today, the Senate voted to adopt a final negotiated version of the National Defense Authorization Act. The House approved the same bill last week. Notably, the bill does not include the Russell Amendment, a sweeping provision that would have sanctioned taxpayer-funded employment discrimination. This is a clear win for fairness, equality and the freedom of religion and belief.
Many people around the country are focused on the next president and Congress and preparing to fight back against the dangerous policy proposals we expect to see in the months ahead.
We have our work cut out for us, but can’t overlook the fact that the current Congress still has work to do. Lawmakers returned to Washington yesterday and, in the remaining days of 2016, will be considering some dangerous policy proposals of their own. In other words, the fight is now.