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Education Reporter
Holiday Cards Teach Religious
Traditions in Public Schools
LAKE FOREST, CA-Gateways to Better Education, a ministry that helps Christian parents deal with issues in the public schools, has developed three informative greeting cards that the organization hopes will "restore acknowledgment of and accurate teaching about the religious nature of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter in the public schools."

Misconceptions about legal restrictions on religious topics in public schools have caused some schools to secularize holidays that have religious origins. Gateways to Better Education offers "Holiday Restoration Cards" for students to give to their public school teachers and administrators. The cards are intended to increase awareness and to help improve the way public school teachers address religious expression.

Designed as booklets, the three cards include illustrations and a creative story in which a turkey, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny explain the religious origin of their respective holidays and cultural traditions.

The stories emphasize the importance of recognizing the holiness of the holidays and reassure teachers that they may legally address the authentic history and purpose of each holiday.

The booklets explain that such teaching constitutes an important cultural lesson. The cards cite legal rulings on accommodating religious expression in public education and suggest lesson plans to integrate religious aspects of the holidays into public school curricula without violating the Constitution.

Informing educators of the legality of including information about religion in public school lessons is not enough; teachers must also be made aware of the importance of integrating religious aspects of culture into the curriculum. The Holiday Restoration Cards have proved effective in improving lesson plans and attitudes. Many teachers have responded to these cards by allowing students to sing carols at Christmas and inviting them to discuss personal holiday traditions with classmates.

Any combination of the cards may be ordered for $4 each (minimum of two cards), including shipping and handling, and prices are discounted according to the quantity ordered. Promotional kits are provided with large orders. Write to Gateways for Better Education, P.O. Box 514, Lake Forest, CA 92630, 1-800-929-1163.

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