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Debating Yoga and Mindfulness in Public SchoolsReforming Secular Education or Reestablishing Religion?$
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Candy Gunther Brown

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469648484

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469648484.001.0001

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Secularization Reconsidered—Best-Practice Recommendations

(p.297) Conclusion
Debating Yoga and Mindfulness in Public Schools

Candy Gunther Brown

University of North Carolina Press

The conclusion reconceptualizes secularization in terms of transparency and voluntarism and recommends best practices that respect cultural and religious diversity. The conclusion argues for an opt-in model of informed consent in which students and teachers may actively decide whether to opt into voluntary programs based on adequate information. Opt-in programs are offered during noninstructional hours (before or after school or during lunch) to minimize barriers to opting out, and cultivate transparency about strengths and limitations of scientific support, challenging, adverse, and/or religious effects, contraindications, and alternatives. Subtracting religious language and adding scientific framing may not go far enough to avoid religious endorsement or coercion. Paradoxically, the secular framing of yoga and mindfulness practices widens their platform to influence religious beliefs and values. Secularization may be construed not as subtraction and addition but as radically rebuilding from foundations that make explicit and interrogate—thereby enhancing agency to act without being controlled by—assumptions about self and world. Transparency counters the taken-for-grantedness that imbues assumptions about self and world with much of their power. Identifying, questioning, and choosing whether to accept, reject, or modify beliefs and practices protects against unduly coercive power of the state and subtle coercion of unthinking decisions.

Keywords:   secularization, transparency, voluntarism, best practices, cultural and religious diversity, opt-in model, informed consent, endorsement, coercion, radically rebuilding

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