NEW YORK (Dec. 11)
Alarm over the “increasing pressures to introduce religious instruction and practices into the schools” was expressed here yesterday by the American Jewish Congress at a meeting of its executive committee.
In a resolution, the executive affirmed that insofar as the teaching of ‘spiritual values’ may be understood to signify the teaching of morality, ethics and good citizenship, a deep commitment to such values has been successfully inculcated by our public schools in successive generations of Americans. The public schools must continue to share responsibility for fostering a commitment to these moral values, without presenting any sectarian or theological sources or sanctions for such values.
“We oppose the proposal of the New York City Board of Superintendents set forth in its Guiding Statement on Moral and Spiritual Values and the Schools and all similar proposals whose purpose or effect is to evade or compromise the Constitutional guaranty of religious freedom and the separation of church and state by smuggling sectarian instruction into the public schools under the guise of moral and spiritual values,” the resolution continued. “Indeed, we are convinced that such proposals which conceal their motivation and objective are immoral and therefore cannot lead to moral ends.
“We deplore the unfounded attacks upon our public school system which is one of the most important manifestations of the preeminence of American democracy in action. We assert that whatever its deficiencies may be in the area of character training an inculcation of an appreciation of moral standards can be remedied not by compromising its secularity, but by meeting the real and critical problem of inadequate teaching personnel caused by shamefully low salary scales overcrowded school rooms, poor physical facilities and similar deficiencies.”