The centerpiece of education must become the spiritual and moral development of the next generation--
to help students learn to open their hearts,
to trust and love others,
and to grasp the beauty of the natural world with awe and wonder.
- Peter Gabel
We join together to build educational organizations, programs and courses that equip the people of the United States to live as environmentally and socially responsible citizens of the world – people who recognize that our own well being as citizens of the United States depends upon the well being of everyone else on Earth and the well being of this planet itself.
We call for all educational institutions to develop, teach and promote courses that cultivate the skills and capacities necessary to develop a caring society. Such capacities include:
- manifesting love, generosity, kindness, caring for each other and for the earth,
- joy, thanksgiving and celebration,
- rational and scientific thinking,
- non-violence in action and speech.
- forgiveness, humility and compassion,
- ethical and ecological sensitivity,
- appreciation of humanity’s rich multicultural heritage as expressed in literature, art, music, religion and philosophy,
- skills for democratic civic participation, including:
- how to influence and/or change the opinions of fellow citizens while respecting differences and tolerating disagreements, and
- how to organize fellow citizens for non-violent political action and engagement in support of causes not-yet-popular.
Furthermore, due to the interconnectedness of life on earth, we passionately advocate for education in the appropriate scientific, ethical, and behavioral awareness, knowledge and skills required to assure the long term environmental sustainability of our planet in ways that enhance the well-being of all living beings.
We recognize that the measurement of student progress in these areas (listed above) is, like artistic and musical skills, difficult or impossible to measure by quantitative criteria. We support the development of subtle and appropriate qualitative ways of evaluating adequate progress on the part of students in the areas specified – ways that contribute to and do not detract from students’ ability to love learning and to enhance their capacities to cooperate rather than compete with their fellow students in the process of intellectual and emotional growth.
We advocate for federal funding to be allocated for such courses in all educational institutions receiving public funds and/or loan/guarantees for students, as well as funding for similar courses to be made available to non-student populations in each state. Such funding must include funding for teachers to learn both the teaching skills and the evaluative methods appropriate to this kind of values-oriented subject matter.
We hope you will join us!