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stuff: bible lessons lead to court

And if the Stuff story here is correct, then I can understand why parents might choose that route, particularly as they seem to have exhausted other options.

NZ state primary schools can offer 'religious education', and under the Education Act parents have the ability to withdraw their children from those classes. (Personally I think it should be a case of opt-in, with opted-out the default setting, but that's not how the legislation was drafted.) The classes can't actually be offered in school time; this is usually circumvented by 'closing' the school for the 30 or so minutes each session takes.

In the Stuff article it's stated that despite the parents indicating that their daughter was not to attend her state primary school's religious education classes, she was "repeatedly put back in". The whole issue isn't new, either, as this 2012 article in the NZ Herald demonstrates. This surely indicates a failure of process at the school end, and the parents are right to be frustrated by it. 

But wait, there's more. From the article: 

One of the Bible class teachers from Life in Focus Trust1, a volunteer who was not a qualified teacher, said parents did not need to be notified because the classes were "history lessons" as the Bible was factually correct.

Seriously? (There's no evidence for the exodus in contemporary Egyptian documents, for example.)

I think it would be great if students learned about comparative religions (if there's room in the already crowded curriculum). But the fact that a document revered by one particular faith is being presented in this school, at least, as an 'historical document' suggests that other religions aren't getting a look-in - and also raises questions about how the Genesis stories, for example, might be taught. Because those are certainly not 'history' (the comments thread to the Stuff article is quite... .... interesting).

1 Having had a look at the Life in Focus website, I can see that its classes are mapped onto the NZ Curriculum document. Since the various outcomes & attributes the program lists are already intended to be delivered in classrooms I'm not clear on why additional people, not all of whom are qualified teachers, would need to be involved, and why myths and stories from only one faith would be used in developing universal attributes in multicultural classrooms.

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4 Comments

In further news:
The Human Rights Commission will be hearing from a number of parents on this issue http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/66525117/bible-studies-concerns-heard-by-human-rights-commission

and at one school a Religious Education volunteer has apparently been coming onto the school grounds to discuss religion with students, outside the period when the RE classes are operating: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/66533678/playground-preacher-upsets-parents

Fundies are always trying to get the camel's nose into the tent.
~

The camel is relieved that they aren't trying to squeeze it through the eye of a needle while breaking its back with straws.

oh, you! :)

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Recent Comments

  • Alison Campbell: oh, you! :) read more
  • herr doktor bimler: The camel is relieved that they aren't trying to squeeze read more
  • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©: Fundies are always trying to get the camel's nose into read more
  • alison: In further news: The Human Rights Commission will be hearing read more