Equality to all





Equality for All?


The question has been raised: who is in control of curriculum in our school? Not just the choosing of the precise books, but who is in charge of the contents of the books that curriculum directors can choose from? Once the answers to these questions are found, what should be done if they point to one group? So many problems in the United States have arisen when the people discover that one group is violating the people’s rights in some way by not allowing others power, that it would be logical to conclude that it would be perceived by many to be unfair if it is found that one interest group chooses what all American children learn, especially if that interest group is furthering their own interests by doing so.
However, finding out the answers to these questions is quite difficult at best. The subject has been written about extensively, and since there are so many opinions, the unbiased truth is virtually impossible to come by. In this topic, it has been at least suggested by others that everyone is biased, including our Supreme Court, so one must tread carefully in stating so-called "facts." Humanism and secular humanism and what they have to do with present educational curriculum will be discussed for the remainder. Though human nature tends to make all humans biased in some way, both sides of the argument have been researched and will be documented until fair conclusions can be made.
First, the term "humanism" must be defined. To do this fully, the definition of "humanism" will be given from the dictionary, and then humanists themselves will have a turn to define themselves. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary terms "humanism" as "a doctrine, attitude, or way of life centered on human interests or values; esp.: a philosophy that usually rejects supernaturalism and stresses an individual’s dignity and worth and capacity for self-realization through reason." The same dictionary defines "doctrine" as "a principle or position or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief: DOGMA." To understand fully what this is pointing to, one must then look at the definition of "dogma"—"a doctrine or body of doctrines concerning faith or morals formally stated and authoritatively proclaimed by a church." Most will agree that an accredited collegiate dictionary is an acceptable place to look for information, and here it is shown that humanism can be tied to a religion.
People who claim to be humanist would also seem to be a good place to look for a formal term for humanism. Rebecca Bushnell writes of early humanist pedagogy when she says,
"This is a humanism based on belief that people are largely responsible for what happens on this earth; committed to tolerance, attention to the differences among people and the need to treat them with equal respect; shaped by a cheerful acceptance of ambivalence and contradiction; and informed by an almost painful historical consciousness, which sees the past as estranged yet able to illuminate present concerns (8)."
This explanation definitely sounds like what most people want to feel, or at least what they claim to, but humanism is more than this.
Humanism is also defined by the worship of man; Curtis W. Reese writes, "There is a large element of faith in all religion. [Christianity has faith] in the love of God; and Humanism in man as the measure of values…Hypotheses, postulates, and assumptions in their proper realm are comparable to faith in the realm of religion. In this way I speak of the faith of Humanism." Another humanist deals with the humanistic beliefs in right and wrong: "In humanism right and wrong are defined in terms of consequence to human life (10)."
To further clarify what humanists believe, more writings of humanists will prove that they consider humanism to be their religion. Gerald A. Larque, a man who signed the Humanist Manifesto II, writes, "Our religion is based upon the best that we know about our cosmos, our world, and ourselves…We recognize our oneness with the cosmos and our spatial and temporal minuteness…We see ourselves as the highest life-form the evolutionary process has developed…(11)." The 1979 Humanist of the Year, who co-founded and edited The New Humanist, also believes humanism to be