How about we stop this indoctrination of children at taxpayers expense?

Let children experience people from different backgrounds and learn together in a religiously neutral environment.

John Sargeant blogs at Homo economicus’ Weblog on secularism and politics

The Islamic free school Al-Madinah in Derby has been closed. Ofsted continues investigating without comment, so we are at liberty to pick from a number of reasons so far offered for the closure.

Thus far the school has been accused of a number of violations of Ofsted standards, including: making girls sit at the back of class, mandatory headscarfs for non-Muslim teaching staff, not following the national curriculum but devoting two hours a day to islamic studies, and flouting ‘health and safety’ rules.

This seems a good time, then, to make clear a broader set of principles which should apply to our schools: schools are places for education – not indoctrination that women are inferior, nor learning religious texts by rote while neglecting core learning requirements for the wider world.

Taxpayers deserve better than this. We may be stuck for the time being with existing religious schools. But that is no excuse to encourage separating children by the religion of their parents further with the creation of new religious free schools.

In doing so, we are entrenching the mistakes of the past. Segregation is wrong, and the school system is not the place to encourage it. The notion that we are all equal citizens in a secular democracy, the idea of pluralism – that we can have conflicting ideas while upholding key universal ideals – is undermined by it.

Schools are supposed to be bastions of education, there to create able minds which can freely think for themselves. Let us put resources into that – and not allow misogyny and segregation to happen, not just at the tax payers expense, but at the further loss of social cohesion.

Otherwise be prepared – for the sake of parental ‘choice’ – for more new schools that fail to educate but instead indoctrinate. Already there have been concerns in other new free schools concerning creationism and homophobia reminiscent of section 28.

How about we stop the indoctrination of children at taxpayers expense? Instead, let children experience people from different backgrounds and learn together in a religiously neutral educational environment.

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3 Responses to “How about we stop this indoctrination of children at taxpayers expense?”

  1. janlog

    I agree. I strenuously object to my tax money being used on faith schools – any faith at all. Parents desirous of a religious school education for their offspring should have to go to private schools and pay for it.
    I have no children but I am happy to fund state schools and higher education, but not faith schools of any description. I don’t want, one day, to find myself being cared for by a Creationist whose warped thinking I enabled by funding his/her “education”.

  2. swatnan

    I whole heartedly agree with John Sargent. If you want to teach religion then teach it as Comparative Religions, part of Social Studies. There is no place for Faith Schools in the Education System. If parents want to bring up their child in a particular faith then let them do it in their own time, not in the Schools time.

  3. Mark

    Sometimes, statistics are brought out to say faith schools produce better academic results, and are used to promote those schools. Have to take the stats at face value, but even if they are true, those promoting the schools on that basis, miss the absolute and obvious point. It is simple segregation. You may as well go whole the hog and have society split its geographical borders into Muslim, Jewish, Christian, etc and have done with it.

    Also, if those promoting ‘good result stats’ are happy to do that, they should also be happy to have complete and un-interefered invesigations into what is taught. I am quite tired of rumours of hate preach being carried out in some, and certain people who have a media voice, flatly denying it happens. It should not take TV under-cover investigations to show this.

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