Piking on secular education

Bronwyn Pike is supposed to be one of state Labor’s “lefties”, right? She’s as “lefty” as the ALP is willing to be?

Well, that’s pretty revealing. Because, just a few days after this shameless attack on fellow progressives, here’s Bronwyn standing up against secular education:

Children who do not attend [“special religious instruction”] sessions are not allowed to be taught anything their classmates might miss out on during this time, so they are often put in another room where they read or play on computers…

But Ms Pike skewered an attempt last year by the Humanist Society of Victoria to have its ”humanist applied ethics” curriculum approved for teaching during the religion period. The course, designed to be taught from prep to year 6, covered subjects such as the art of living, the environment, philosophy, science and world citizenship.

So… it’s indoctrination or a total waste of educational time. And this must continue! Did the Christian lobby offer Pike some assistance against her Greens opponent Brian Walters if she gave up any principles regarding our secular education system? In which case, her loss from the parliament won’t really be much of a blow to progressives, will it?

I actually do agree with the idea of teaching religion in schools – but it should be completely impartial. There’s no reason why kids should have their precious school time spent on indoctrinating them to their parents’ religious beliefs – but there is a good argument that they should understand these enormous political and cultural forces in our world. I’d propose a system where the religions are taught one semester at a time – first term might be christianity, second term might be buddhism, third term islam, fourth term judaism, next year hinduism, and a term covering faiths with smaller numbers of adherents. A class covering general ethical approaches, irrespective of religion, would also be a good idea. The order would change depending on the class and school, and I’m sure the various religions would be happy to send people along to explain their point of view.

The important thing is that every young person deserves to make the choice of what they will believe based on all the evidence available. Not just that of one side or other. School should be about providing information, not indoctrination.

And as a lefty, I’d much prefer Brian Walters in parliament to Bronwyn Pike. I expect she’s hoping that a flood of anti-Green hysteria surreptitiously delivered by her new religious right allies to Melbourne letterboxes can save her – but I’m optimistic that it won’t.

4 responses to “Piking on secular education

  1. Absolutely agree with you on the concept of compulsory, OBJECTIVE, Religious Education. Imagine when the state-schooled kids reach uni and are able to beat the Catholic-schooled (or other denomination) kids in any religious argument, hands down. It would also help kids to question the religion they have been indoctrinated in since birth – I, for one, was indoctrinated as an atheist and had to do my own study as an adult to learn about the history of religion.

    I’m still an atheist, by the way.

    The religious lobbyists would oppose this proposal for those very reasons. Pike should feel very, very worried on election day (as she was a few years ago).

  2. In a secular society there is simply no place for religious instruction in State schools.

    Teach ethics by all means, and teach our children about religion in History class, or Human Studites of whatever. The job of the State is to educate our children, not indoctrinate them.

  3. I haven’t got a problem with teaching religion at school, maybe it should be lumped in with all the other fairy tales they teach kids.The three little pigs is probably good, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is probably o/k but would drive the P.C. crowd nuts.It would probably have to be a shade of Snow, not White, and not really that Black and the seven little height challenged people.They could also possibly mix it in with a few nursery rhymes, instead of Humpty Dumpty, it could be a Doubting Thomas that sat on the wall.The combinations are limitless.Yep teach it at school I say.

  4. I still remember all the bullocks being dished out in religious classes throughout the years. Why did kids need a note from their parents to get out of this indoctrination? I still wonder that. Surely you should at least need parental permission to have kids going to this rubbish.

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