The musings of a juggling mother

Rants & raves about life as a woman today, juggling work, home, kids, family, life the universe & everything.

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

It's a matter of faith

One of the nice things about driving around all day is that you get to listen to the radio.

Daytime radio is SOOO much better than daytime TV & I personally was corrupted to the ways of radio 2 by Mr A some years ago. I got to hear the whole of the Jeremy Vine show yesterday while queing on the A30 roadworks, and an interesting thing happened: Everyone agreed with one side of his debate topic. As hard as he tried, he could not find a single email/phone call or text in favour of the other view. even his in studio debater had a hard time coming up with more than one arguament for his side. So I wondered, is it just radio 2 listeners (who are on average older & educated), or is this true across the country?

The debate was on Faith Schools. Are schools dedicated to teaching a single faith good examples of high moral, behavioural & academic learning, or are they seperationist, racist & the first step onto the road to ghettoisation? The argument in favour centred around the fact that parents wanted their children to be educated in all aspects of their faith, and parents are not the people to do this in any coherant way. The argument against (from a rabbi) centred around the fact that faith schools seperate both children & parents from other faiths & lead to intolerance, fundementalism, mis-understandings, fear & racism, and that education should teach general moral standards & parents can top that up into specific faiths if they so wish.

Considering that the UK has had C of E, Jewish & Catholic faith schools for centuries, and since changing the law in the 90's to allow other faiths to have publically funded faith schools, their numbers have grown massively in all faiths, it was a bit of a surprise that the listeners were 100% in favour of banning all faith schools from accessing public funds.

2 Comments:

  • At Thursday, October 20, 2005 6:17:00 pm, Blogger Stephen (aka Q) said…

    The argument in favour was certainly weak. Surely parents and churches / mosques / synagogues / etc. can train a child in the basic elements of a faith.

    I think the radio debate probably reflects the new social environment after the London bombings. I gather that the bombers were born and educated in England, but never integrated into the broader society.

    So what else would people conclude? Public funds should be used to support social integration, not to enable people to stay within a narrow, non-Western worldview even while they live in the West.
    Q

     
  • At Thursday, October 20, 2005 7:12:00 pm, Blogger Juggling Mother said…

    There has certainly been a quiet, but obvious backlash against the "celebrating diversity" culture that was cultivated throughout the 90's (thats where we say, "well it's their culture innit" to absolutely anything & everything that happens, irelevent of state morals, opinions or even laws). But I was surprised that no-one was able to come up with a better argument for faith schools - why exactly have we had them for 500 years if they are divisive?

    Personally I don't think there should be state funded faith schools (although when I said this during the debate in the 90's the nicest thing I was called was a racist), and their academic success is purely down to the fact that they get to pick their pupils based on the parents ability to articulate their reasons for attending. I think places like Northern Ireland, Israel etc would be better off for having integrated schooling - it's harder to blow your old school friends to smithereens than it is to bomb a bunch of heretics that you've never spoken to. Although it's obviously not the solution - look at Yugoslavia!

    I was looking forward to hearing the other side of the debate, it has a special meaning to me as it was the last thing I discussed with my brother before he died & he promised to get back to me with the answers!

     

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