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