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For Immediate Release
January 16, 2007
Contact: Heather Reams
Director of Communications
AAE Recognizes Religious Freedom Day

(Alexandria, VA) – Today the Association of American Educators urges Americans to recognize and celebrate Religious Freedom Day as proclaimed on January 16 by both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. This day commemorates the anniversary of the passage of Thomas Jefferson's Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1786.

“Religious Freedom Day reminds us that we, as Americans, have the freedom to participate in the religion of our choice,” said Gary Beckner, executive director of the Association of American Educators.  “Although the U.S. Department of Education has issued clear and understandable guidelines, many of us in public schools shy away from discussing religion. We urge teachers, parents and students to employ, embrace and exercise their civil liberties.”

AAE joins President Bush as well as a host of organizations who are interested in helping teachers and students understand their rights in public schools. More information can be found at

The Department of Education released guidelines in 2003 regarding religious expression and prayer in public schools, which can be found here.

The Association of American Educators is the largest national, non-union, professional educators’ association. AAE seeks to increase the respect and professionalism of teachers, to improve public education through increased accountability and higher student achievement, and to provide educators with a professional alternative to teacher labor unions. AAE believes that teacher labor unions no longer meet the needs of today’s educators