The Rot at the Core of Stormont

Patrick Murphy asks, “Have our politicians created a culture in which honesty, decency, respect and trust are regarded as weaknesses? […] the most important questions relate to the nature of our wider society. How can our children be taught to respect authority when those who wield it are seen to abuse it for party political purposes? Who will tell our children that their education system was not planned for their learning and development but for the political gratification of Ian Paisley? Who could teach them now that it is wrong to hold out until you get your way? How will we explain to them that taxes, such as water charges, are nothing to do with water or taxation and all to do with secret political deals between Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams? Paisley and Blair claim a common interest in religion and Gerry Adams feels it important to preach in Clonard Monastery. Has it occurred to them that the style and content of their leadership might have implications for the moral and ethical behaviour of those whom they wish to lead?”

  • Reader

    Who will tell our children that their education system was not planned for their learning and development but for the political gratification of Ian Paisley?
    Ian Paisley was 18 when the Butler Act was passed. So how was the Grammar school system created for his gratification?
    It will be more interesting to see whether the 7 Free P schools now get access to state funding.

  • Greenflag

    Reader,

    ‘It will be more interesting to see whether the 7 Free P schools now get access to state funding. ‘

    Why should’nt they ? If RC schools get access why not Free P’s ? . Why not access for Jewish or Islamic schools or the Jehovah’s etc etc etc.? Why not access to State funding for humanists or atheists ?

  • Reader

    Greenflag: Why should’nt they ?
    I don’t have a fixed position on this whole issue. So far as I know the current position is that schools that don’t submit to a measure of Government control don’t get funding. So if the Free P schools won’t teach evolution (for instance), and still use corporal punishment (speculation), then they are likely to stay outside the system. Maybe there’s room for a sliding scale of conformity/funding?

  • Greenflag

    ‘I don’t have a fixed position on this whole issue.’

    Normally I’m in favour of less Government if practically possible . But in areas such as education and health which are the ‘only’ building blocks left on which to construct a sense of wider community in modern day society I tend to favour Government involvement/regulation and control where it is found necessary.

    ‘So if the Free P schools won’t teach evolution (for instance),’

    I don’t know what the position of the Free P’s (12,000) is on evolution. I suspect that the Unfree P’s in NI (250,000 ?)accept Darwinian Evolution as does the RC Church in NI (700,000?). I suppose a case could be made that there is enough ‘ignorance’ out there disguised as ‘faith’ already, that Government should not be encouraging more?. There’s a lot to be said for just having State Schools and letting the Churches provide religious instruction to the children either after school or at weekends in separate classrooms in the schools or at locations suitable for a particular Church.

    If people of faith genuinely want their own schools to be exclusively of their particular denomination for wahtever reason then IMO they should pay .

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Agree completely in relatively normal societies like the Republic or Britain. However, in a divided society like NI there are of course other issues and wouldn’t there be fun coming up with an agreed curriculum e.g Irish History, Irish Language, Sport (GAA in state schools?), quotas for Prot/Cath/Other teachers etc. etc.

    Where there’s a will there’s a way but I’m not sure there’s a will yet. The Catholic Church is a stumbling block as is the attitude of some Unionists who’d have a fit if GAA and Irish were introd to state schools.

  • Reader

    Is Greenflag #2 the same as Greenflag #4? Because that looks like a 180 degree turnaround at the first hurdle. Faith schools, and even just denominational schools, can pull aside from consensus teaching, and not just in RE. There is sex education, sexual equality and even science that are potential stumbling blocks.
    Ironically, when it comes to the 4 main churches, and the two main traditions, there is already a common curriculum for History and (next year) non-instructional RE.
    I don’t think the churches themselves have specific positions on the Irish Language and sport, preferring to let politicians screw up those topics instead.

  • BeardyBoy

    Why cant the Free P’s educate their children according to their beliefs? If the schools meet a fair criteria regarding numbers what business does the government have telling people how to educate or what to educate? Parental choice and judgement is paramount. This is just double taxation