As much as I’d like to regale you with a witty tale of puddy muddles and splashes of food upon the walls of my home this week, alas this is not the blog you are looking for.
Not to say that there hasn’t been any of that, for there are always puddy muddles, and food will always be thrown around the house with gay abandon. If that’s what you came here to see, or you are faint of heart, please feel free to peruse my back catalogue. Or if you have already, I promise a nice fluffy blog for you to snuggle up to next week, for today is diatribe day.
One of the major reasons for purchasing my humble abode, was because it sat slap bang in the middle of the catchment areas for two great primary schools, and a secondary school, (which has since become an academy), in the larger area that I call my birthplace. Yes, that’s right. Before my son was even born, I was thinking about his education, as any well meaning parent would.
My problem however, is all I see in the news at the moment, is a major upheaval of the education system by the DfE, and Ofsted returning to schools and reducing their scores. There has been a ‘Department for Education’ since the early 1990’s, and okay, there have been a few name changes along the way, from ‘Department for Education and Science’, to ‘Department for Education and Employment’, but after two decades of a department dedicated to teaching, I’m sure we should have come to some sort of consensus on what should be best practise for educating our young uns by now?
It seems that this latest jumping up and down whilst waving of hands from the DfE, comes in the light of the report, regarding the Trojan Horse Plot in Birmingham. The DfE seem to be bending over backwards to not step on any toes, and teach in schools what it now calls ‘British Values’ in order to reflect the religious diversity of our country. Just this sound bite chills me to the bone. So as long as it’s “British Values” that’s okay. What about the rest of the planet? Do we still have to hate ¿’Zee Germanz’!
How about we teach our children ‘Human Values’? “L’humanité sans frontières” as I like to call it. And yes I do see that they are trying to teach tolerance of all walks of life, be it on religious grounds, sexual orientation, or which brand of coffee you prefer, but as the major monotheistic religions actively shun the idea of same sex relationships, and evolution, how is it in 2014 they are still allowed to come to the table and have a say in how future generations will be taught? Answers on a virtual postcard please.
I see the former Archbishop of Canterbury saying it’s fine that five year olds can have teachers that wear a niqab in class, when clearly children need to learn the visual cues to emotional responses. Yes Rowan, I can read the emotions of somebody using just their eyes, but a five year old? They will need to learn these subtle cues from the bigger picture, by using the mouth as the main indicator.
I see parents verbally abusing, with homophobic chants, (with so much venom, that the police were called), a headmaster, because the school had recently implemented a policy of teaching tolerance for members of the LGBT community, using material such as the, ‘And Tango Makes Three’ children’s book about the New York penguins, that hatched a spare egg. Then I see a teachers response to this news, saying she didn’t bother telling the parents of her pupils, and, “Parents that act like this should not be given free education for their children.”
Rabbi Avraham Pinter, the head of a Jewish school is now telling pupils to avoid answering questions in their exams that don’t conform to their religious ethos, after they were told to stop redacting questions from science exams. This is not a privately funded school, oh no, this is publicly funded girls school. And what do Ofsted do, reduce their rating one point from excellent to good.
Then there’s the case of Yusuf Patel, who is openly against homosexuality, being called upon by the government to advise about sex and relationship education. Irrespective of his thoughts, or his relationship with Islamic extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, religious doctrine should not, in my opinion, be a factor in ANY child’s syllabus, especially in our so called ‘secular’ society. If the British Board of Film Classification, were to rate books, the books of mainstream religions would be classified 18, due to all the sex, violence, rape, and torture. So why is it still taught to our children?
I could go on:
It seems to me, that while the government flounders in the puddy muddles of Political Correctness, everyone and their dog, is out to push their own agenda. It is obvious to me, and to those in power within the major belief systems, that in order to survive, religious ideology needs to be ‘moulded’ into the minds of our children as early as possible. A young adult that has not been subjected to religious dogma, is easily able to reject these ideas with simple reasoned thinking. Instead of teaching children ‘what to think’. We need to be teaching our children ‘how to think’.
All schools are now required to teach at least two different religions from the six major denominations found on these shores, in what I see as a half shuffle toward tolerance for other world views. The government has also decided to drop non-religious world views from the curriculum, despite wide condemnation from all sides, that this will weaken the subject of Religious Studies. To teach about only two, I’m sure will lead to other denominations feeling, at best, left out, and at worst, discriminated against. The bill should be all encompassing or none at all. There are plenty of churches, mosques, temples and synagogues for people to learn about religion, if they so desire, and as we are pretty much secular as a nation, religion should have no part in government, and in my view, no part in our schools, unless being used for the subject of mythology.
Our country is one of the most secular, tolerant, and culturally diverse on the planet, we have two of the top three cities in the world for diversity. Unfortunately these communities have been moving away from each other, becoming isolated, insular, and insecure, over the last decade, as it seems okay to be more openly intolerant, even, dare I say, ‘hip to hate’. I am disgusted, every time I hear a customer mentioning ‘Rivers of Blood,’ to justify what they only thought before, but now openly say, and I’m hearing it more and more often. Instead this diversity should be embraced, and expanded across the country, and it should become a beacon for the rest of the world, as to how we as humans can live together in peace, harmony, and respect of each other regardless of where we come from, what we think, who we love, or what coffee we drink. A utopian nation to enjoy now, in this life, rather than waiting for it in a possible afterlife.
So yes, maybe the system does need a shake up, but I feel they are not going far enough, and through fear of being branded intolerant, or racist, I fear that nobody in government will have the stones to step up to the plate, and go as far as needed, until another “Trojan Horse” comes to light, and probably not even then.
It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.
– L.R. Knost
11th. Hour News.
Okay. Nothing but fluffy thoughts for the next week.
Happy, fluffy, cuddly.
Be dobby, smeck grimly, and skvat jeezny by the sharries droogs!