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Department putting itself in ‘dangerous position’

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The Educator | 26 Nov 2015, 09:10 AM Agree 0
The Education Department is putting itself in a dangerous position by making "theological judgments", a major SRI provider tells The Educator.
  • Jayel | 26 Nov 2015, 12:13 PM Agree 0
    If the department were sending a message that faith is irrelevant, they would not be bringing in studies of multiple religions as part of the curriculum that *all* children learn. This is simply misplaced hysteria because of an erroneous sense of entitlement to curriculum learning time. The fact is that divisive and doctrinal SRI has been replaced by inclusive education about some of the religions that make up our community. It was overdue and is now much welcomed.
  • Chuan | 26 Nov 2015, 12:39 PM Agree 0
    By taking devotional religious instruction out of compulsory class time, and replacing it with General Religious Education about several religions, the government is not saying that religion is irrelevant, but that a) education *about* religions is important; and b) recognising that it is indefensible to lose class time of up to 4 school days a year to a resource-wasting program that has become a notorious scandal factory.

    Faith formation can and does occur perfectly well all over the world without intruding on students' learning time. Victorian SRI enrolments have fallen by 80% in 4 years, and less than 9% of Victorian primary schoolchildren now participate in it. Keep in mind that when SRI is scheduled during classroom hours, nobody is allowed to be taught the regular curriculum, even if they aren't doing SRI.

    Why should ACCESS have the right to bench all non-SRI kids?

    Remember, the situation until last year was that if any outside religious group approached a school to deliver SRI, principals were forced to axe 4 annual days of teaching time to accommodate minimally trained SRI volunteers.

    Does ACCESS support the right of principals to determine whether SRI runs at their schools?

    The changes to SRI policy are welcomed by State school parents like myself, who object to their children being religiously segregated, and who think that the learning time of *all* students is too valuable to be given over to outside evangelists.
    • Ronald | 27 Nov 2015, 01:13 PM Agree 0
      By the same logic, why not cancel science classes? After all there are many reports over the years of declining student interest in taking those classes for whatever reasons.
  • Peter | 26 Nov 2015, 01:39 PM Agree 0
    Unfortunately, the world is full of narrow minded people. Why is it, that in the past 20 plus years, the rates of problems like: crime, suicide, rape, unwanted pregnancy, bashings, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, etc have all skyrocketed? Would it be because we all EVOLVED and we are the GODS of our own universe? Lately, all I hear in the media is that we need to do something about domestic violence. WHY? I don't know anyone who is experiencing this. Are you sure it's happening? Is it really a problem? Yes, I know... it's definitely happening and IS a problem. WHY? Heck it's obvious. You give kids free choice for everything they do! We don't say to 13 year olds, you should NOT have sex until marriage. We say, go for it, but use a condom. We do this with everything in life. Yes, son/daughter, I know you are only 10, but you can watch those M rated videos. No problem. They won't do you any harm! NO, I'm not a Christian, but I am all for our children learning about the Christian faith. Just because we hear of all the horrible stories from the past, that SO CALLED Christians abused children, does NOT mean we should abandon this belief system that has created MASSIVE amounts of positive things in our society over the years. If you don't agree, that's fine. But don't expect people to respect or care for you in this world. Our laws would not even exist if it were not for our Christian heritage.

    Finally, what if God really is real. Would you not want your children to at least have some chance of knowing him before he is manipulated into believing the religion of Evolution? By the way, why is Evolution still being taught in our public schools? It IS a RELIGION. There are no IFS, BUTS or MAYBEEEEEES. Evolution IS a religion, and it is time we KICKED IT OUT of schools too. Let's at least be consistent. Oh, and if you are so foolish to think that evolution is a science, you were educated by POORLY INFORMED educators, just like me and most of our society. The bible is much more closely related to science, than evolution by a mile, but it is hard for most people to see that because most of us are so gullible that we believe all the lies we were taught.

    So, to sum up. I don't mind if we get SRE (Religion) out of our schools, but lets be consistent and remove Evolution too. NOW!
  • Ross | 26 Nov 2015, 03:25 PM Agree 0
    Thankfully, Peter, we know that when we rely on science to make important policy decisions and guide our thinking, rather than dogma, superstition, opinion and ideology, we overwhelmingly generate a better outcome. It may have escaped your notice that the progress of our species in the past 200 years has been because science has led to many breakthroughs that improve both the longevity and quality of our life. That doesn't mean that science has all the answers, or is infallible, but it has proven, over the long term, to be our best bet.
  • Dr David Zyngier Monash University | 26 Nov 2015, 03:44 PM Agree 0
    Rob Ward from ACCESS is rightly upset - what was for so long was his organisation's "mission field" of young impressionable children (and parents hoodwinked into believing that their children were involved in a program authorised and accredited by the Department of Education) has now become one where parents have to ask their children "Do you want to play with your friends at lunchtime or learn about Jesus?".

    The guidelines are clear - if SRI classes take place before or after school or during lunch time they must be supervised by a teacher - teachers already do pre and after school playground supervision. Hasn't Ward ever heard of play ground or yard duty? Perhaps if parents want their children to have a proper religious education they should consider going to their local Church more often!

    Ward is grasping at straws here - yes principals will have to decide what is acceptable - but doesn't he trust the judgement of principals to act professionally?

    Ward is however correct about faith being irrelevant in a secular curriculum. We don't send our children to school to get "faith" but an education. Faith is the responsibility of the family. But of course Ward doesn't seem to trust families either.

    Schools we hope will continue to celebrate all the wonderful multi-cultural festivals across the year - Easter & Passover (and how they are related perhaps); Ramadan & Eid; Divali, Chanuka & Christmas and so much more.
    • Ronald | 27 Nov 2015, 01:16 PM Agree 0
      "Perhaps if parents want their children to have a proper religious education they should consider going to their local Church more often!"
      By the same logic you cannot complain if more people opt to take children out of the secular public school system. After all, no one ever said the secular public system is always welcomed. Keep your secularism to yourself.
  • Lewis | 26 Nov 2015, 11:18 PM Agree 0
    Peter has made some great points. I have done considerable research into evolution and would have to agree that it is a religion. Yes i think we should move it out of education too.

    Who knows what Ross is talking about. I don't think Peter was criticizing science in general. He was talking about taking the religion of evolution out of the curriculum too. This would be a great idea, then science teachers could focus on teaching real science, not one based on faith.

    • Ross | 30 Nov 2015, 04:48 PM Agree 0
      Have you been published in a peer scientific journal, Lewis? If you want to debate science why don't you become a scientist? To state that evolution is a 'faith' rather than a rigorous scientifically verified process is completely at odds with reality.
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