Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ack!

Bad Idea! Bad Idea! Danger, danger Will Robinson! *waves arms mechanically in air*

This is so backwards I don't know where to begin. (I was going to post this on QE, but I just wrote a new post there, so I'll stick it here instead.)

More faith schools are NOT the answer! This is the government passing off it's responsibility to provide decent education. Fix the bloody schools, you cowards, instead of turning them over to the hands of people who will use them to confuse science and religion in the minds of young people and indoctrinate them into silly ideologies they can use as justifications for killing each other later.

Help me, Obi-Wan Dawkins; you're my only hope!

50 comments:

Geosomin said...

My 2 cents: Why not just offer "world religions" as an elective type class like art or music class in the last years of high school? You could cover the basics of the major world religions equally and fairly and have better informed kids. People might be less fanatical and more tolerant..r at least know more about what they choose to not believe. One of the most interesting electives I took at uni was a religions of the world class. I don't think more knowledge wourld be a bad thing. It'd be unifying. The separate school crap has always been devisive and made for less informed bubble raised kids with no exposure to schools of thought outside their own faith's.

Geosomin said...

Heh...perhaps typing and spelling could be covered too. I need to learn to proofread. :)

ZB said...

More faith schools are NOT the answer!

Why not? I was educated in a faith school and I got a bloody good education. I also got a reasonably accurate moral compass out of it. As we've discussed, the basic christian concepts (love thy neighbour, treat others as you wish to be treat etc, turn the other cheek) are ones that if we all adhered to them would make society a lot better than the shite about 'we're all multicultural and happy' has. And these were the values that I took from being educated in a faith school, not the Catholic Church's position on stem cell research and abortion. Frankly, I consider you a friend but in your refusal to allow other people to have contrary beliefs I find your ongoing diatribe against religion/faith etc as disturbingly fundamentalist and bigoted as someone misusing the Koran so they can fly 'planes into the twin towers. I allow you to have your beliefs. Allow me to have mine. Britain is a Christian Country. It practises widescale religious toleration but an acknowledgement of its history/ history of faith/past or identity does not mean that we're indoctrinating, alienating or taking people outside and shooting them in the back of the head for not being the right colour/race/religion/creed/etc. If you don't think so, go and live in a fundamentalist country and learn the difference.

ZB said...

re - faith schools confusing science and religion.

Doesn't sound like any faith school I know. Mine had the best science department in the region. It was also one of the best schools in the reason. Why? Because the board of governors, as governors of a faith school, were independent. So they did what was right for the school, the teachers and the pupils rather than listening to the advice of an LEA being driven by an education minister with a lifespan of less than eleven months in office. So there was never a whiff of creationism on the syllabus and even the thick ones left being able to read, write and add up.

Which is a damn sight more than state schools generally achieve.

Rimshot said...

I question anyone who is afraid of more knowlege being available.

I don't really know the definition of a 'Faith School' (is that a European thing?). There are many fine Private Catholic schools in the Chicagoland area (and, I guess probably other denomination's private schools, I really don't know) that parents choose to send their kids to at their own expense, because of the superior education provided by being outside of the public school beurocracy (did I spell that right).

Ignorance is a terrible, TERRIBLE thing.

To paraphrase The Trammps: Learn, baby learn...

Rimshot said...

I don't know about "the Government's responsibility" to edjumacate, instruct and inform my child. Shouldn't that ultimately fall on my (the parent's) shoulders?

I wouldn't mind a bit of privitizing in that regard. Remove the tax burden from those who don't have children AND make parents responsible for their children sounds like the ol' "two birds/one stone" to me.

ZB said...

I question anyone who is afraid of more knowlege being available.

Yes. So do I. My point being that in my experience, faith schools (in England this means that those of similar denomination attend)offer a better, broader, more well rounded educational experience - resulting in a better, broader, more well rounded and well educated person - than anywhere else. A case in point: I was taught at a Roman Catholic faith school. And we spent just as long on different religions in RE as we did on the one that was 'nominally' ours. They might have been a faith school but they gave me the intellectual tools to openly question that faith (and others) and construct my own world view in the process.

And no, I don't agree with your comment about the parents. The day that my child comes home with my views, my opinions, my beliefs, my dogma and my ideology coming out of his mouth is the day that I remove him from the school I sent him to. Our job isn't to indoctrinate our young with our prejudices but to let them develop their own. And in that regard, teaching them to read, write and add up is a good start. They can then work the rest out for themselves - including what they think about their faith school.

Billy said...

If your parents can put your straight when you get home and the education is good, what's the problem?

Billy said...

If it was a school like ZB describes, sounds ok. Of course they'd all have to be like that.

Rimshot said...

I don't think one has to go so far as to "indoctrinate our young with our prejudices". I tend to think that I'm fairly non-prejudicial. But to foist off the responsibility of educating my child onto some abstract governmental body is, to me, the height of poor parenting.

I'm quite certain that even home-schooling would give my kids a better education and a broader world-view than that of the U.S. public school system, free of my prejudices (such that they are, if any).

I think we're coming at the same thing from opposite ends here. :)

Public School = bad.

Faith School = not quite so bad.

...or something like that.

It would appear (to me) that those against Faith Schools are the ones with the prejudice.

ZB said...

Yeah. I was being slightly tongue in cheek about parents indoctrinating kids. I mean, wouldn't you be worried if your teenage kid agreed with you, liked your taste in music, etc? Surely their job is to go "I hate you and all you stand for!"

Rimshot said...

So you've met my son, then?

ZB said...

He he !

GreatSheElephant said...

It is often the case that independent faith schools do offer better teaching than the state sector (although not always) but they have one huge disadvantage - they promote segregation and ultimately intolerance. Both Scotland and Northern lreland still educate Catholics and Protestants separately and the net result is perpetuating the sort of hate and ignorance that leads people to kill each other for their faith (and yes, that does still happen in Glasgow) at one extreme and the type of attitude at the other which means that a Protestant won't marry a Catholic (or a Hun won't marry a Tim, to use the sort of language used in British faith schools).

I have no problem with independent schooling but I agree with cb wholeheartedly on this one - don't school your child in hatred and ignorance of the 'other', be that a different Christian denomination or a different religion.

Chaucer's Bitch said...

geo: i absolutely believe all children should be taught world religions. a comparative religions class is essential for demonstrating that no single religion has a greater truth value than any other. when you teach christianity along side of islam, jainism, norse mythology and the cargo cults of the south pacific you are teaching it in its proper context.

zb: why not? because the reason that religious groups WANT to control schools is so that they can indoctrinate children into their relgion. that is the only reason for them to exist. i agree that many faith schools offer a superior education in basics such as language and mathematics, but this means that the state schools need to be fixed. it does not mean that only religious schools can accomplish those necessary tasks.

i allow people to have their contrary beliefs. i do not expect everyone to see the world exactly as i do (that would be fucking boring!), but allowing people their beliefs does not mean a refusal to engage or challenge them, just as i expect people of beliefs contrary to mine to engage and challenge me. i'm happy to defend my positions at any time.

i went to catholic schools, and we were taught the church's beliefs in science classes, so i know first hand that it happens. and it happens here, too. the government is keen on creating more academy schools which are funded largely by state money but where the school can set its own curriculum, including teaching the Old Testament as historical truth. This is extremely disturbing:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/
england/4228855.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/
england/tees/3088444.stm

rimshot: i agree completely. there is nothing wrong with more knowledge. but faith isn't knowledge, by definition. religion is not about spreading knowledge, it is about spreading faith. completely different concept.

here the term "faith school" means a school run wholly or in part by a religious organization, with varying degrees of state funding, from none to significant amounts.

rimshot: if parents were capable of teaching their children everything they need to know in life, we would have no need for schools at all! but that is impossible. there are very, very few people qualified to teach their children maths, languages, history, biology, chemistry, ets. all the way through high school level. as a society we acknowledged centuries ago that schools were necessary for teaching young people, and with the massively increased body of human knowlegde, this more true now than ever before!

zb: again, you cite the superiority of the educational quality in faith schools, and again, this is not an arguement for the existence of faith schools, it is an arguement for the desperate need for improvement to state schools.

billy: my parents did, and that was why i was sent to R. Catholic schools. But wouldn't it be nice to send your kids to a school where you didn't have to tell them afterwards what was ok to take on board and what was crap?

and of course, they're not all as zb describes. (see URLs above)

rimshot: do you really think that educating your kids at home can expose them to more ideas and world-views than they would get at a school with hundreds of different kids from hundreds of different families and traditions where they will challenge each other and discuss things? i think that's pretty unlikely.

public (state) school = bad and in need of improving




see, isn't this fun? we're all having a good time here, right?

Chaucer's Bitch said...

ps. can anyone tell me how to put links in comments?

and why is it always telling me that my HTML tags are open when they're not?

Rimshot said...

wOOT! CB's tags are open, quick, look!

If parents can't teach their kids what they NEED to know to make it in life, isn't that just a greater indictment of the educational system that taught the parents in the first place?

GSE's comment brings to light something that I hadn't considered when commenting earlier. All my comments are based on my Midwest, Suburban, Americana upbringing. I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what it's like to go to school in Glasgow, Moscow, Macao, or any other place rhyming with "ow".

I am in 100% agreement with the necessity of schools (wait, did Rimshot just AGREE with CB? Isn't that one of the signs of the Apocalype?). I don't, however, like when parent shrug their responsibility to provide at least the beginnings of a moral compass and use schools as little more than a babysitting service, but that's a whole other thing and I'll sit down and be quiet now.

Rimshot said...

"...no greater truth value than any other"...really? How very interesting. You do say the most thougth provoking things, CB.

(I couldn't help it, its a character flaw I have)

Geosomin said...

"Remove the tax burden from those who don't have children AND make parents responsible for their children"

That I have to disagree with. I don't have kids, but I'll happily pay school taxes. I want the kids who'll grow up and look after the world to have the best education they can. I firmly believe it takes a community to raise a child.

Incidentally , I went to a religious school. Why? It had a great science program - far better than the crappy school in my home town. Despite being religious it really was a very GOOD school. My Dad was director of education for myschool district and still let me go to the school, and he got a lot of flak over it. Even if he was an athiest 9he isn't) he still would have let me go, as it was a good school.
I think the answer isn't more religious or less religious -it's just *better* schools. If I had the opportunity to send my kids to a good school, I would, even if it was religious. A good education is important. If you're an involved parent you can discuss that stuff with your kids. They'll figure it out...

Rimshot said...

GEO: If the government actually provided a quality education through those tax dollars, I'd be right with you there, but that's not the case and perhaps the only way to straighten those F@#kers out is to hold out on them until they become a bit more fiscally responsible (I know, pipe dream).

"I think the answer isn't more religious or less religious -it's just *better* schools. If I had the opportunity to send my kids to a good school, I would, even if it was religious. A good education is important. If you're an involved parent you can discuss that stuff with your kids. They'll figure it out... "

(wipes tear of joy from cheek) I think I love you GEO.

homo escapeons said...

Here in the Americas we associate faith schools with the Moral Majority, Tongue Talking, Snake Handling, Uber Conservative, Bob Jonesian, Dogmatic, Intelligent Design, Young Earth, Rapture Finishing Institutions.
((gasp))
In England I can only imagine John Cleese and Michael Palin in the Meaning of Life or Harry Potter. Ok and Goodbye Mr Chips and the Browning Version.

Comparitive Religious Studies are an absolute must to understand even one page of a History Textbook. How else can you explain the last 9 Millenium?

Oh yeah by teaching kids that there really is only ONE true religion and that when the trumpet blows and all the REAL believers are 'caught up in the twinkling of an eye' the rest of the world will sure be surprised..or the Vaticanus Dictum that there is only one guy on the entire planet who can know what the Creator of the Universe is going to do.
Whatever.

Offloading services is the new template for all western governments. The education system devised to prepare factory workers for the Industrial Revolution may have actually run it's course.

Ezri said...

Ok, there's a way that it can be done. I went to Catholic College, and while theology was on the curriculum, the closest it ever got to a science class was the offhand comment, "ooo, this topic will be great discussion fodder for this week's philosophy lecture in Humanities" - and to paraphrase Penn and Teller, "and then there's the other idiots.." -
my bookstore does summer reading lists, and one school has assigned reading books, "He Came to Set the Captives Free" (with practical day-to-day instructions for defeating Satan- with diagrams!) and "Detective Zach" - with answers to all your questions about dinosaurs.

Even if schools can go private, there should be quality control, and stuff you can and can't do. Then it's harder for schools to go off the deep end. Because, if people want it they'll find a way to get their kids in some sort of a program. At least if there's limits, there's some measure of control over the system.

Billy said...

To do a link in a comment you start with

[a href="http://wherever you want to go"]what you want displayed[/a]

Change square brackets to these ones, <>, before you start.

ZB said...

it does not mean that only religious schools can accomplish those necessary tasks.

History says you're wrong. Sorry. The best schools in this country both public and private, faith and state have all had the christian ethic underpinning them. For fucks sake CB the only reason that there ARE state schools in this country are because of the late Victorian/early Edwardian liberal education reforms of the late 19th and early 20th century. Those reforms were driven by the liberal-humanist and essentially CHRISTIAN belief that everyone had the right to education and self improvement. Without that evangelical reforming spirit education would still be the preserve of people who could afford it, the only universities in the country would still be Oxford and Cambridge (No other universities existed in Britain until 1828. None. Nada. They had a monopoly) and the average man in the street would still be making his mark with an x rather than writing his name. For fucks sake, go and read Fussell, Winter, Gallagher et al and come back when you know a little more about the history of education and Christianity in this country. They're COTERMINOUS. We're a Christian country. Our unwritten constitution is founded on the egalitarian diarchy of State and Church existing in a system of checks and balances so that neither gets the upper hand on the other. One of the reasons that Britain is in such a shit socially divided state is because since the 70's social cohesion has been achieved by promoting difference. You're different, I'm different, everyone's different and everyone's allowed to be different but the British themselves. Our social, economic, political and religious history are no longer taught in schools. I'm teaching grade A 'a' level students who don't know the difference between the first and second world war for fucks sake. As a result, there is no sense of shared history and thus sense of community, community that historically accepts difference. As a result (again) difference isn't accepted because their difference is different to my difference and my difference is more impotant so fuck them - and we end up with a selfish society. This is Britain. We're a multi-cultural country with a christian history and constitution. We practise religious toleration. You can be any religion you want. We don't care. Wear a towel on your head and no underpants. We won't give a shit. But if you don't like the fact that we're a essentially a Christian country and our essentially Christian history is going to be taught in schools and that its part of our lives and part of our history then why don't you go somewhere else. Tell you what CB, go to China and see how well your stance goes down there. Go to India and see how well your stance goes down there. They're both the coming powers in the world - and none of them practise a hundredeth of the integration and inclusion that is practised here. I've considered your arguments on faith and religion and all the rest of it and I don't agree with them. That doesn't mean that I don't get them. I get them perfectly. But like mine, they're full of holes. The difference between us is that I can accept that, accept the irresolvable differences between our outlooks and go about my day. You can't. You're convinced you're right and everyone must see that. Which is why you're as dangerous a fundamentalist as a terrorist with a plane. Because you can't accept difference.

ZB said...

Both Scotland and Northern lreland still educate Catholics and Protestants separately and the net result is perpetuating the sort of hate and ignorance that leads people to kill each other for their faith (and yes, that does still happen in Glasgow) at one extreme and the type of attitude at the other which means that a Protestant won't marry a Catholic (or a Hun won't marry a Tim, to use the sort of language used in British faith schools).

Yes. It does still happen in Glasgow but they're scots. They have a lot of problems. For a start, their entire notion of identity is founded on being a warrior race. Unfortunately, they've never won a battle except when commanded by English officers. How bad must it feel to be a warrior who's shit at fighting?

I know the differences between protestants and catholics. I was chased as a kid by the local proddies for being a papist (I shit you not) in Newcastle. But when the protestant (STATE)school was closed down (by the state), the roman catholic school took on all the pupils as it was the christian thing to do - you help people, regardless of faith. Incidentally, all schools in England are technically faith schools. State schools are C of E as the state is a C of E state.

As for religious difference, Ireland and Scotland are different to England - still fighting battles that everyone else got over centuries ago. Scotland isn't doing too badly out of the imperialist oppressor mind...English taxes paid for the scottish parliament, the scottish education service (there are no top up fees north of the border and a full grant system) and the health service (which is one of the best in Europe).

Basically, as long as my child is taught a comprehensive world history from the fourteenth century onwards, including a history of all of the major religious conflicts, modern imperialism through to the postmillenial age, major migrations, economics and world systems, how to read, write and add up, knows what photosynthesis is, can think and evaluate and come to his own conclusions, has a basic understanding of treating others as he wishes to be treat, is reasonably polite and knows what fork to use with the fish and with the meat then I don't care who educates him - papist, yid, proddie, zulu or weird American.

hendrix said...

I tend to agree with ZB on this one, (perhaps not as vehemently though) although as we both attended the same school it could be the indoctrination kicking in.

I don’t agree that the point of faith schools is the indoctrination of beliefs in the children who attend them and neither do I think that it’s generally the case that they foster intolerance and segregation. Please note that although I say generally the case, there are as always exceptions to this rule although many of the exceptions also owe much to the social and political demographic of the area or country concerned; where there is an underlying intolerance of be it of creed, colour or anything else then that will filter through into the classroom whether it be in a faith school or a state school.

In principle I’m not at all opposed to the idea of more faith schools. I agree with Ezri that some checks should be in place to ensure that schools don’t go off the deep end but at the same time I know that the reason why I received such a good education was (as ZB has already pointed out) because our school was not answerable to the LEA and their education policy for that week and so I would suggest that any interference in a school (any school) by the government is minimal.

I do however agree with you that the schools we already have need to be fixed. For example; the state school my mum teaches at, despite being staffed by highly qualified, extremely caring and hardworking teachers, struggles against a constantly changing syllabus, is no longer allowed to exclude pupils who have been disruptive (and by disruptive I mean physically violent) or who attend lessons drunk and/or stoned. Concentration on the basics (i.e. reading and writing) is frowned upon by the LEA (despite any government guff to the contrary) in case it disillusions the child with the learning process (although how can there be any learning process without those fundamental skills is a mystery to me and most of the teaching profession). Instead teachers are urged to ‘perform’ for the pupils in order to ‘engage’ with them and therefore make them ‘want’ to learn. The kids don’t want to learn anything because they’ve already worked out that getting pregnant will get you a flat and it doesn’t matter about your punctuation on an Income Support form, if you can write your name you’ll get the money.

Having said all that and should I ever get round to having children I’ve decided to home school them (I know, I know - that immediately invalidates everything I’ve written above).

homo escapeons said...

Fabulous discussion.

The story of Humanity is one of trial and error.

A. I personally believe that the modern world would have never made it this far without the advances made by the Protestant Revolution.
Most of the Giants believed in the Christian God and it was their freedom to accept Intelligence as a gift from HIM that made all the difference in the world.

B. We need to advance our subsequent scientific discoveries regarding our universe, planet, and genetic commonality. Take the next step and strive to convince everyone on the planet that as one species, we need to discard all of the superficialities that separate us such as Nationalities and Religions.

C. This sounds impossible, and prolly is, but not that long ago so was a heliocentric galaxy.
We need to execute a determined, strategic, effort to uniformly educate every child on the planet. One that explores the causes and effects, both pro and con, of having manufactured deities.

Crikey this sounds like another Wave of Colonialism doesn't it?

Until now Humans have slowly evolved through trial and error with little chance of wiping each other out, although many tried, but now we are in a bit of a bind.

Perhaps we will learn more about the what or who (if any) existed beforehand and devised the Big Bang, but for the present time we are handcuffed with what little we know...
we've only had a couple Centuries of honest exploration.

Education is the key and it would be ludicrous to exclude an examination of how we have utilized religion throughout our journey.

Rimshot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rimshot said...

Meh, nevermind...

Geosomin said...

"superficialities that separate us such as Nationalities and Religions."

But I like difference and individuality, and different cultures and religions halp use look at things in a different way.
It's the differences that make us unique and interesting...so long as we can keep from killing each other over them I suppose...

B said...

ZB: In two of your comments you have compared Mara to the Islamic terrorists responsible for the 9/11 tragedy. This is a personal attack of a totally unmerited form. Mara has never condoned violence against those of faith in any way.

It is my humble opinion that you deserve Mara an apology here.

B said...

A much longer comment...

ZB: Britain is a de facto secular state in the same way that it is a de facto representative democracy. Although in both respects the situation is less than perfect this does not mean we are a Christian country or that Britain is a dictatorship. I find it shocking that you assert that Britain is a Christian theocracy.

It seems clear that the value of faith schools is in the degree of independence they are afforded. Surely this is an argument for decentralization of power in education not for faith schools per se.

I know several people who went to Catholic schools (in the UK). I myself went to a Catholic prep school. They have told me the following:

1) They subjected the pupils to many hours of propoganda films in an effort to convince them abortion is wrong.

2) The school teachers evangelized their faith throughout the school day. They presented very conservative sexual attitudes as the societal norm.

3) They presented Catholic theology as philosophy.

4) Homosexuality was openly frowned upon.

Not all faith schools are like this but a substantial number are.

I think GreatSheElephant makes the most important points on segration.

You (ZB) also attribute the creation of schools to the Christian faith. I disagree. We have to remember that in a country that had 95% belief in Christianity you should expect 95% of good acts to be performed by Christians. If anything there is a bias towards those with beliefs closer to atheism to push more for social reform and moral progress.

Rimshot: Democracy requires certain preresiquates amongst which is an informed populace. Currently the only realistic way to provide this is through schooling. In order to provide equal opportunities for children of all social backgrounds a state based system is necessary. I agree with CB that almost no one has the knowledge to tutor their children to A level in all subjects. It is also economically pragmatic to have a state school system.

You (Rimshot) also raise the issue of government control over schooling. On this matter I concur with you. I think it is very important to ensure that the government (or indeed any other group) does not indoctrinate children. I think that children should be exposed to the full range of opinion in the intellectual cannon in a way that is representative of the public as a whole. This would mean more direct control of schools by the public (with advice from experts). It would be important to ensure that majorities don't censor the curriculum if this were done though.

I think that children ought to be taught about religion in all its facets. This should include teaching the psychological, evolutionary, anthropological, sociological, political and historical aspects of religion alongside the beliefs of those religions. Essentially I am arguing that religion as a natural phenonomen ought to be on the curriculum.

I don't think that children ought to be subjected to propoganda from religious groups, compulsary prayer, religious observance or given a censored view of religion (which sadly is still the case even in non faith schools). Furthermore segregating children according to the faith of their parents makes no more sense than segregating children according to the occupation or race of their parents. This means that faith schools need to be dispanded. It would be a large backwards step to introduce more of them.

Rimshot said...

"Democracy requires certain preresiquates amongst which is an informed populace." yep, and it requires a representative that will actually abide by the will of the populace. Still looking for that...

Currently the only realistic way to provide this is through schooling. Nope, the only realistic way to do this is through education. Schooling is just one option of getting that education. I, for one, don't think that putting a child through an educational system set up by an inept government (again, this is from my Western Hemisphere paradigm) and lacking any reform beyond that of dumbing down the curriculum to meet the 'lowest common denominator' in an effort to be all inclusive and 'tolerant'.

In order to provide equal opportunities for children of all social backgrounds a state based system is necessary. Just to play devil's advocate: who says that an equal opportunity is necessary or even a good thing? Given the 'opportunity' would you choose the most qualified or the government mandated statistically required candidate for a given task? From what I've seen in the world at large 'Equal opportunity' is great as an abstract concept or a requirement placed on others, but when it comes to the individual, that individual will choose the BEST surgeon for their operation, not the next in the queue based on Equal Opportunity.

I agree with CB that almost no one has the knowledge to tutor their children to A level in all subjects. It is also economically pragmatic to have a state school system.There's that word again...pragmatic...I will repeat, that a parent doesn't have the knowledge to tutor their child is not a mark FOR the educational system that the parents had, but rather an indictment of that same system. Why perpetuate the error? As CB has pointed out numerous times, the educational system needs to be drastically reformed. I, for one, don't think that the government is the ideal candidate to fix that which they've broken in the first place. Also, arguing economics along side education is really just muddying the waters. I'm not looking for a 'cost effective' education for my child, I'm looking for the best possible education.

I think that children should be exposed to the full range of opinion in the intellectual cannon in a way that is representative of the public as a whole. The public as a whole is the same bunch of morons that you've deemed incapable of educating their own spawn, yet you wish to use them as your baseline for educational success? Odd, to say the least. I think schooling at the primary levels should leave opinion out of the equation and focus on facts. Fill the young ones minds with facts and critical thinking skills. When it comes time to expand one the basics, the elective courses can deal with opinion.

This would mean more direct control of schools by the public (with advice from experts). It would be important to ensure that majorities don't censor the curriculum if this were done though. Well now I'm just confused. A sentence or two ago, you suggested that schooling be "representative of the public as a whole" but now you don't want that whole to decide what to teach?

I think that children ought to be taught about religion in all its facets. This should include teaching the psychological, evolutionary, anthropological, sociological, political and historical aspects of religion alongside the beliefs of those religions. Essentially I am arguing that religion as a natural phenonomen ought to be on the curriculum. I could not agree more, but again, at the elective level. You've just listed several different courses: Psychology of Religion, 'Evolution' of Religion (or, more correctly Religious Histories), the somewhat redundant Anthropology of Religion, Religion and Politics, that's a lot for little Timmy or Jane to take in at the elementary level, no?

I don't think that children ought to be subjected to propoganda from religious groups, compulsary prayer, religious observance or given a censored view of religion (which sadly is still the case even in non faith schools). What sort of propaganda do you suggest for the children? What is wrong with a parent indoctrinating their child in their faith? Perhaps we should just take the children away from the parents at, say, the age of four, so that the parents won't poison the child's mind with their beliefs.

Furthermore segregating children according to the faith of their parents makes no more sense than segregating children according to the occupation or race of their parents. This means that faith schools need to be dispanded. It would be a large backwards step to introduce more of them. I whole -heartedly agree. Disband the Faith Schools. Also, disband the local pup that segregates people by their superstitious football club beliefs. And while we're at it, disband all PRIVATE institutions that dictate a certain belief (membership apparently does NOT have it's privileges). Faith Schools (at least in the U.S.A.) are PRIVATE institutions that parents CHOOSE to send their children to and pay for the privilege with their own, hard earned (in most cases) money. Haven't Socialism and Communism already been proved to be bad social models?

First Nations said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
First Nations said...

a faith-based school exists to promote it's own agenda, folks. how well they do that is their problem.
i went to one. (it was catholic. i am female. agenda promoted? enough said.) they did then, and they do now. how do i know? I live in an area where half my neibors send their kids to faith-based schools...sikh, christian reformed, various evangelical, mennonite, quaker, hutterite, you name it.
as you can imagine, it's a big issue in these parts and a lot of newsprint is devoted to the subject. according to the studies done, educationally, there's no difference between private, private-religious, and public.
none. otherwise, the major difference is that faith schools are substantially more expensive, and they make the kids wear strange clothes.

In any event, If you don't have a home in which education is respected and pursued then you can't expect your kids to go to ANY school and get a damn thing out of it. anyone who thinks they can rely on any institution, no matter who funds it, to provide 100% of what any child needs educationally is an idiot.

muchas smooches to GREAT SHE ELEPHANT!

Rimshot said...

awww...I didn't get to see it.

GreatSheElephant said...

Rimshot - "I think that children should be exposed to the full range of opinion in the intellectual cannon in a way that is representative of the public as a whole. The public as a whole is the same bunch of morons that you've deemed incapable of educating their own spawn, yet you wish to use them as your baseline for educational success?"

The key thing here is 'range of opinion'. If you are going to be educated by morons, a wide range of different sorts of morons is infinitely preferable to a single type of moron.

Home schooling horrifies me as a concept for a number of reasons. For a start it's pretty much a guaranteed way of producing a narrow minded, prejudiced child with no wide world view (I guess that's why the Duggars favour it). If you did have an open minded parent who wanted their child to have as wide a range of experiences and influences as possible, why would they choose home schooling? It makes no sense. In fact it's completely contradictory. Secondly, who's going to do it? Yes, of course the father will give up his job to home school. Bollocks he will. It's just another way of keeping women out of the workplace, reinforcing the patriarchy and the idea that the natural sphere of the woman is the home and the children.

Horrifying frankly.
*Kicks toddlers out of the way as she exits in outrage*.

B said...

"I think that children should be exposed to the full range of opinion in the intellectual cannon in a way that is representative of the public as a whole." - Me

Actually I meant to write that the balance of subjects presented ought to be representative of what the public think is important to be taught (I didn't check my post carefully enough). Furthermore its not a view I hold very strongly so I won't bother explaining further here. I may put it up on my blog though:

www.theseedofreason.typepad.com

I think all those different courses (related to religion) are really part of one subject we could call religion as a natural phenonomen.

Clarifying matters we are talking about publicly funded schools here. None of what I said is meant to apply to privately funded schools. I don't hold the same position with regard to private schools for much the same reasons you articulated.

Rimshot said...

CB, B, et al: I may have entirely misunderstood something here and would kindly ask for clarification. Are there PUBLIC Faith Schools in Europe?

B, to lump philosophy, history, sociology and more into one topic would be tantamount to the shoddy education in public schools today, so, there ya go, your mission is accomplished. Gloss over everything in a 'tolerant', politically correct manner but don't get to the meat of a matter. Arg!

GSE: I would MUCH rather stay home and education my child. Any woman that would have me can gladly play the role of the traditional breadwinner if it allows me to participate in the life and education of my son and/or daughter. Hell, I'm not a bad cook, she'll have a hot meal waiting for her when she gets home and I won't even ask her to help do the dishes.

My point was and is that I don't want ANY moron contributing to my child's education. I'd like to leave it to the non-morons.

And home schooling doesn't mean that little Timmy get's locked in the house, bereft of any social interaction. Timmy would have many more field trips to art museums, natural history museums, science and industry museums, perhaps the train yard or a construction site, maybe a gentleman's club(...er...strike that last one) than in a traditional public school setting. I don't think geography should dictate the exposure.

Ah heck, send your rug-rats over and I'll learn 'em all for ya. Baloney sandwiches for lunch, you provide the juice boxes. First topic on the curriculum, Uncle Rimshot needs his nappy time.

B said...

In the UK:

A 'private' school is privately funded and run.

A 'public' school is privately funded and run but is open to any member of the public. Note the usage is unique to England and Wales.

A 'state' school is publically funded and children pay no fees to attend.

A 'grammar' school has a test for entry called the 11+.

A faith school is run by a certain faith that often has a heavy influence on the school ethos and teaching staff. Faith schools can select children on the basis of their faith.

What we are talking about here is state faith schools. Most "voluntary aided school" are faith schools.

Not only are there public faith schools in the UK but in England these comprise roughly 1/3 of primary schools and roughly 1/6 of secondary schools.

I hope that makes what we're talking about clearer.

Frobisher said...

Faith schools DO cause divisions.

First Nations said...

...and they no more have a lock on good teaching than any other school. bad idea. very bad.

First Nations said...

...conspicuous by your absence, CB :)
come on. slip into something kevlar and jump in.

Rimshot said...

B, thanks for that clarification.

With that in mind: State Faith School is a terrible idea. (but then again, State School is a bad idea (or perhaps a good idea executed badly)).

Just one man's opinion.

GreatSheElephant said...

Rimshot, if you plan to start telling your charges about your nappy wearing habits, there ain't no chance you are getting anywhere near my hypothetical kiddies.

OK, OK, it's a British/american English thing but I just couldn't resist it.

ZB said...

ZB: Britain is a de facto secular state in the same way that it is a de facto representative democracy. Although in both respects the situation is less than perfect this does not mean we are a Christian country or that Britain is a dictatorship. I find it shocking that you assert that Britain is a Christian theocracy.


Where exactly did I say that Britain was a dictatorship? Just find the line and quote it back to me? And of course the relationship of Britain's church and state is defacto. They're COTERMINOUS and enshrined in law and statute? Just like the laws and legislation supporting religious toleration, cultural difference etc...

This is why this kind of debate is something that I don't usually get involved in. We allow Muslims to be Muslims, Hindu's to be Hindu's but by God and thunder we can't allow Christians to be Christian. We can't allow them to practise their own faith and teach their own teachings like the first two groups. No, that would be too much equality.

Chaucer's Bitch said...

*gets page to assist with plate-mail armor, climbs atop massive, 17-hand charger, takes firm hold of lance, and charges head-long into fray*

"Aaiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

Right, first of all, i'm THRILLED that such a fabulous debate has been raging while i've been tied up doing other things. (i'll update you on my weekend with the Pirate in a minute.)

Secondly, there are way too many comments here for me to respond to all of them (and you lot have been doing a great job of responding to each other), so i'll just make a few final points...


ZB; just becuase education and christianity have been coterminous historically, that doesn't mean they have to be for all time. no one is saying that it's ok for muslims and hindus to have their own schools but not christians. i'm not picking on christianity any more than any other religion. that's why i've been saying FAITH schools, meaning ALL faiths, rather than christian schools. I think they're all equally bad ideas for the same reasons. (There's your equality for you.) And I'm as dangerous as a terrorist with an airplane? Puh-LEASE! Look, attack my ideas, by all means. That's why I do these things on my blog. (I LIKE having my ideas challenged, people often present points I hadn't considered and make me see things in new ways.) But don't project ideas onto me and then attack me for having them. Turn around and take a look behind you. See that skinny black thing way back there? That was the line, and you're way over it.


It seems to me that the only way to justify faith schools is to point out something beneficial that a faith school can do that a well-run state school can't. We all seem to agree that the state schools are basically crap, but that is an arguement to improve them, not an arguement for the existence of faith schools. The only thing a faith school can do that a well-run state school can't is promote its own beliefs, and I do not see that as a benefit.

Thanks for playing, everyone!
This debate is long from over, and as long as there are stories in the news about the government funding faith schools to the tune of millions and millions of pounds of tax-payer money, you can bet your sweet bippy you'll be hearing this rant again.


*curtain drops*


*wild applause*

ZB said...

But don't project ideas onto me and then attack me for having them.


I didn't. You did that all by yourself.

Turn around and take a look behind you. See that skinny black thing way back there? That was the line, and you're way over it.

No. I don't think I am.

Rimshot said...

GSE: that's funny. I did not see that coming! (no sarcasm, just sincerity).

Your hypothetical kiddies would be hard pressed to find better non-parental care with me. Kids and animals love me. We have the same interests.

B said...

ZB: Is it really so hard to say sorry to CB?

I'm sorry I over reacted to your comment about "Christian Britain". I knew really you weren't saying we're in a theocracy. I guess I just felt that calling us a Christian country makes it sound to me like we're trying to freeze anyone who isn't Christian out.