The Importance Of Education In Education

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The recent Queensland government review of the “Connect” Religious Instruction (RI) materials brings to light several reasons why, ultimately, faith-based classes will cease in school hours in the Sunshine state.

The New South Wales government should take note, given Connect is the most widely used lesson resource. Driven by his own Christian faith, Premier Baird has committed to maintaining special religious instruction (SRE) while he is in office. He is supported by Education Minister Piccoli, who stubbornly refuses to release the report by ARTD consultants, investigating various concerns about SRE, despite holding possession of it for one year. A source from ARTD consultants said the report was an objective analysis, which no-one would
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One of the architects of our school curriculum, Professor Ken Wiltshire recently demanded a stop to the “outsourcing’’ of religious instruction and sex education to “ideological interest groups’’.

Furthermore, studies undertaken by Stanford University professor, David Labaree, show that add-on programmes targeting social issues such as alcohol abuse, drug use, and racial equality, have little, or no effect.

Our priorities in education are reflected in how we measure it. If we’re going to measure our education system on literacy and numeracy, then we need to sharpen our focus on those key areas.

But, as our society becomes less religious and more diverse, the push to revive our Christian tradition becomes ever more aggressive and desperate. State school RI programs have become more fundamentalist and proselytising.

The “right” for faith groups to teach religion like “any other subject”, has been championed by Australian Catholic University fellow, and Australian curriculum author, Kevin
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The project reeks of social engineering and discriminates against nonreligious families and those who do not belong to the faith on offer. There’s simply no necessity to teach religion in public schools.

Australian parents retain the freedom to bring up their children in whatever faith (or lack thereof) they choose. Under-patronised churches, built for that very purpose, stand within a slingshot of most state schools. We even have independent faith-based schools as an option.

RI allows approved faith groups to co-opt state school classrooms for up to one hour a week. Children who don’t participate must be offered other unspecified non-curricular activities. Wasting time, in other words.

The “Every Day Matters” policy of QLD’s Education department seems startlingly at odds with a curriculum where bible classes eat up nearly a full term of a child’s primary school tenure. Rather than continuing with the same policy and praying for a different result, schools must discard contested and non-core courses, and focus on reading, writing and numeracy.

For good reasons, pressure continues to mount on State governments to move faith classes outside of school

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