Do people care about Education?

I have blogged often about education on O’Conall Street. Much of it is borne out of parental anxiety about the chaos which will unfold when the implications of Education Minister, Caitriona Ruane’s, decision to deregulate our education system become evident. Like talk about flags, this is an issue which seems to raise temperatures immediately and polarise opinion. Last year I set up a facebook group calling for Minister Ruane to resign and hand the job to someone capable of finding a solution – it has over 1000 members, mainly parents of primary school children.

The DUP and SF seem unable to square their differences but a solution must be found if we are to avoid a race to the bottom. Some months ago it struck me that a if politicians could agree on a series of principles then there could be grounds on which to shape a constructive debate about reform education for the betterment of all. These might include:

– Agreement that 14 is a better age at which to exercise pupil and parental choice about possible transfer for the final four years of education;
– Agreement to guarantee parents and pupils access faith based education;
– Agreement that an early intervention strategy should be developed to support children from deprived socio economic backgrounds during primary and early second level education;
– Agreement to consider and draw on international best practice when developing these proposals;
– Agreement that the system must be based on a commitment to social equity and educational excellence at every level;
– Agreement that the change programme would be rolled out over at least a five year period, allowing up to ten years for any institutional realignments to take place;
– Agreement that an interim regulated system should be introduced immediately

Politics is failing children in this region and somedays I wonder if anyone in power cares.

  • willis

    Conall

    Simply put:

    Agreement that the system must be based on a commitment to social equity and educational excellence at every level;

    Is a circle you cannot square.

  • 0b101010

    Your point about finding common ground is absolutely spot on, of course, but your suggestions over-reach. I personally don’t agree with the following, quite strongly, and I can’t be alone in that:

    “- Agreement to guarantee parents and pupils access faith based education;”

    Not only is this something I have absolutely no interest in promoting, but I consider it a significantly vague suggestion. What level of access would be guaranteed? Who would be on the hook for paying for this level of access? Which faiths? What guarantee would be offered to parents and pupils looking for education free of any and all religion (something not yet offered)?

    “- Agreement that an early intervention strategy should be developed to support children from deprived socio economic backgrounds during primary and early second level education;”

    So the education system should be used as a tool to advance blind Socialism? Institutionalising intentional economic discrimination, so that those deemed to be from the “wrong” socio-economic background languish regardless of their academic ability? No. Absolutely not.

    The best suggestion to run with is selection at 14. It has wide support and it’s a simple, solid change that would enable more practical discussions on implementation and the subsequent implications.

  • 0b101010

    Agreement that the system must be based on a commitment to social equity and educational excellence at every level;

    Is a circle you cannot square.

    In fairness — no pun intended — that depends on your definition of “social equity”. If you hold it to be equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of outcome, then there is no conflict.

  • fin

    Conall, Welcome to Ruane’s world. Set of very vague proposals, 2 posts, 2 disagreements. Not so easy is it,this education malarky?

  • Don’t agree with selection at 14.
    Not sure I’d agree with access to faith based schools.
    Don’t agree with the intervention strategy as above, but think the problems in achievement are at primary level and need to be addressed and that the issue of selection is down an ideological road that parents obviously aren’t keen to follow.
    If change is needed, change and don’t dither for years.
    Quite like the idea of a deregulated education system.

    Don’t look like agreement is on the way soon.

  • Drumlins Rock

    guys anytime the “public” is asked most seem to favour selection at 14, so why has neither side of the debate seriously looking at it? I feel as if that debate was had sometime ago and the 14 split rejected, but can come across no evidence that is the case, have i missed something? or have the powers that be on either side been too blinkered in thier own views to even consider it.
    BTW i would be generally anti selection, it splits communities if notihng else, but Catriona has so cack handled it I’m almost supporting the other view.

  • Reader

    Conall: Agreement to guarantee parents and pupils access faith based education;
    Tricky; at present the Free-Ps run several of their own schools on privately raised money, because they don’t agree with the existing curriculum. What does your ‘principle’ mean for them?
    Conall: Agreement that an interim regulated system should be introduced immediately
    Great – then we can spend the next 5 years arguing over what the interim solution will look like. Will there be selection?
    Drumlin’s Rock: so why has neither side of the debate seriously looking at it?
    Mostly because – ‘Catriona Proposes, Executive Disposes’. The agenda is set by what Catriona puts forward to be shot down.

  • willis

    Drumlins Rock

    AFAIK DUP/UUP want selection at 11, SF want no selection ever, probably not even for University entrance. Most people in Dickson plan area of all persuasions want to keep it.

    As things stand DUP/UUP will win out in this mess, at some point SF will have to give up, but it could be at least 5 years.

    It is what you call a Peace Process.

  • Conal

    I think you are being somewhat devious, i e trying to pose as a liberal whilst attempting to keep selection. To put it bluntly the north is stuck in the stone age educationally, this whole debate has been about kowtowing to middle class self interest.

    The UK has a comprehensive system that is not perfect, there is much room for improvement, but it is ten times better than the selective system it replaced, or the one across the water.

    The north’s education system is currently failing the overwhelming majority of working class children and making a good many middle class kids lives a misery.

    The church should have no place in education within a secular state, nor should special class privileges or charity status for private schools.

    Education is like health care, it is impossible to tinker around the edges when changing a system. If SF is unable to end selection they should demand the British government does it for them, eating humble pie for sure, but what is a gut ache compared with lost lives.

    If you do not want a rerun of the long war some time in the future, you need to give hope to those young people who live in the working class estates. Only a decent, non selective education system can make an attempt at doing this, as selective education either by-passes them or leaves them fallen at the first hurdle.

    If you look at who made up the ranks of the paramilitaries it was the fathers and grandfathers of these children.

  • Expenses111

    The SDLP are the people who ruined Education. Instead of their Minister along with the UUP and DUP doing something they are cosying up to Sinn Fein while all the while drawing their money.

  • chris

    The thought of embracing the mediocre to prevent the dregs of the paramilitaries shooting and bombing us in the future, has to be one of the most ludicrous things I’ve heard in the whole education debate.

    I work with the product of the English comprehensive system. For a start they can’t spell, are piss poor at maths and are about as geographically aware as the Yanks.

    I came through the Dickson setup and actually made the wrong decision at 14 considering were my career took me, but it was better than trying to make it at 11. All in all though wherever I’d gone I’d still have got a better education than they get over here.

    Agree that religion should have no place in state education.

  • Chris

    As I said in my comment, the English system can be improved, but before you make a further fool of yourself, check out the statistics, before and after selection was abandoned.

    You may feel it is absurd to worry about the growth in the north of what the media unfairly term the ‘underclass’, but I do not, apart from the sheer waste, god makes work for idle hands, or whatever the bloody saying is.

    Still I am glad we agree on something, I always find it amusing that many of those who support religious school in Ireland, would go ape shit if muslims starting running schools all over the place.

    regards

  • willis

    Mickhall

    “If SF is unable to end selection they should demand the British government does it for them, eating humble pie for sure, but what is a gut ache compared with lost lives.”

    They might need to hurry up then. I don’t think the Tories will be giving them much cover.

  • Thanks for all your comments.

    Just for the record I am against selection and am most happy to see the back of the 11plus.

    That said there is ample international evidence which says transfer is most effective at fourteen.

    The OECD published a major report last year called ‘No More Failures’ which considers how to attain educational excellence as well as equity. Here is a link for anyone interested http://www.oecd.org/document/54/0,3343,en_2649_39263231_39676214_1_1_1_1,00.html .

    Interestingly it finds that systems which have the strongest social equity ethos are also the most successful educationally. The report suggests the best way to attain social equity is to invest disproportionately in early years education – the exact opposite of what we do here in NI. I agree with front end investment in primary.

    It is because of the vast amount of work which has gone on internationally that could teach is so much that I included a principle which commited us to learning from best international practise.

    On the question of faith based schools, I have not opted as a parent to have my children educated in one. I included the provision because I believe very many parents here believe their children should have the right to faith based education.

  • willis

    Conall

    So what would early investment look like?

  • It looks like cash into key stage one willis. That way all kids can be given an equal opp, irrespective of class background or post code. Thats not happening today.

  • willis

    More specifically though

    Should all Primary schools with poor results at 11+ get extra teachers?

    Should extra money mean smaller classes and only the most motivated teachers going to the most disadvantaged schools?

    Or are you suggesting that we spend the money on kids who are already fine?

  • Coll Ciotach

    SF is wedded too strongly to marxists theory when it comes to education. The comprehensive system will just sink our children into an educational miasma of mediocrity.

    The function of the state must be to facilitate the wishes of the parents and the principle of the parents being the primary educators of the child must be upheld.

    This means providing educational resources to meet the expectations of the parents.

    The role of the state must be minimised to solely provide the means to meet that expectation.

    This means that if the Free Pees want to educate their children outside of the “approved” (which should be the “suggested” at best) curriculum then they should be able to do so and should receive the appropriate funding.

    Thos who would be against the freedom of the parent to educate the child according to their wishes are only control freaks who consider the state to be above the people.

  • Just for clarity I am against a return of the 11plus, but yes, if you have more resource then you can target schools and pupils in greatest need.

    This may well mean more teachers in schools with particular needs and most certainly should mean smaller classes across the board.

  • Driftwood

    I included the provision because I believe very many parents here believe their children should have the right to faith based education.

    Fine, let them pay for it,like the Free P’s, not the taxpayer.
    And the term ‘faith based education’ is an oxymoron. Using state funded education to propagate medieval creation mythology is just plain bloody wrong, and it openly perpetuates sectarianism.

  • frustrated democrat

    I think this issue should be given to the people here as they are far in front of their politicians.

    A referendum could include

    Faith based primary schools – Yes / No
    Faith based secondary schools – Yes / No
    Selection at 11 – Yes / No
    Selection at 14 – Yes / No

    I am sure others can be added.

    I think the answers could be be very informative for all our politicians.

  • Driftwood

    FD
    The referendum should add the caveat that the meaning of ‘faith’ is belief without evidence.

    For all wannabee medical students 🙂

  • Coll Ciotach

    Driftwood

    They do pay for it as they also pay taxes

  • Driftwood

    Coll
    I assume Free Presbyterians also pay taxes, at least some of them. But their schools are not funded by the state because they only enrol Free Presbyterians. Again, fine.

    Do you think the NHS should also adopt ‘faith based’ hospitals where only Protestants or Catholics are treated? it’s the same logic.
    Why should secular taxpayers fund religious indoctrination? Do you think Mathematics is taught on the basis of ‘faith based’? Or is it similar to that taught in state schools?

  • 0b101010

    If you do not want a rerun of the long war some time in the future, you need to give hope to those young people who live in the working class estates.

    You are suggesting that we should be blackmailed into coddling and force-feeding large swathes of society with aspirations they do not hold, for fear that their natural impulse is to destroy and murder those that do. That’s absurd.

    There is absolutely nothing in our current education system blocking any young person, regardless of “socio-economic background”, from working towards their academic aspirations.

    The key problem is that underachievement is held by many as a badge of honour. I hear it regularly, and exclusively from the only people that give any time to the idea of “class”.

    I included the provision because I believe very many parents here believe their children should have the right to faith based education.

    This means that if the Free Pees want to educate their children outside of the “approved” (which should be the “suggested” at best) curriculum then they should be able to do so and should receive the appropriate funding.

    I believe I should have the right not to pay to promote belief in the supernatural, especially into the minds of children.

    Faith-based schools, which is indeed an oxymoron, should only ever be private. If those families want to opt-out of funding the state secular option (which, again, doesn’t exist) then that’s absolutely fine by me.

  • eranu

    why not have a grammar school entrance exam at the end of primary school and then one for the end of each year of secondary school? an 11+, 12+, 13+ etc. that would allow academic kids to transfer to a grammar school education at any stage. less pressure on the kids etc.

    the real problem in secondary schools, which cant be got rid of, is that of scumbag parents that couldnt give a toss about their kids education. they bring up foul mouthed disruptive kids that don’t want to learn anything and so achieve little. they ruin the class for the kids that want to learn. if they were brought up better then they could perhaps have achieved a good education for themselves but sadly they werent and they dont. unfortunately this is a problem with society.

    i also think that bringing back ‘physical discipline’ to schools would do wonders for the education of kids that are stuck with disruptive scum in their classes. a smack in the face will shut up a scumbag right away.

    all this ‘No More Failures’ and ‘the system has failed the kids’ PC shrieking is silly. everybody cant get straight As. whatever terms people want to use, it boils down to the fact of life that some people arent very smart and some peolpe are. theres a range, and some people are at the bottom. there will always be people who havent got the ability to do well in an academic education.

  • barnshee

    “.why not have a grammar school entrance exam at the end of primary school and then one for the end of each year of secondary school? an 11+, 12+, 13+ etc. that would allow academic kids to transfer to a grammar school education at any stage. less pressure on the kids etc”

    We already have this it’s called the “review” currently it operates mostly after GCSE when the transfer to grammar school for A levels happens
    Before that? well secondaries don`t want to lose their best pupils– think what it would do to the GCSE results

    Incidentally how many of the pundits here have ever taught in the post primary sector?

    Thought not

    A level playing field is impossible how do you prevent PARENTS using thir own experience (maths teacher) married to french techer ) to coach their children. Not to mention the moderately well off buying experiences which develop their children?
    Cant be done

    mind you an examination that measured the ability to work accurately and write legibly under s time constraint would highlight those with and (without) these qualities. I know lets call it selection

  • Coll Ciotach

    The education of children is primarily the responsibility of the parents. It is not the place of the state, unless in extremis, to supplant this responsibility. The state should only be there to aid the parents in fulfilling their responsibility.

    If Free Pees wish to educate their children in schools affioliated in some way to their church or their church teachings this again is no business of the state within the usual sensible parameters.

    If the state wish to suggest a curriculum on which children can be tested it is up to the school if they wish to teach it and/or set the exam. Why would anyone except those who wish to curtail and control wish to deny this to the parents of these children. This is nothing but the state controlling the freedom of parents.

    As for the very sputrious tax argument that can be extrapolated to anything. I do not like my taxes subsidising football for instance – can I opt out of that?

  • Coll Clotach:

    The problem with funding faith-based education is that it perpetuates the divisions in our society. When all the Catholic children in town go to a different school from the Protestants, what does that teach them?

  • Driftwood

    The education of children is primarily the responsibility of the parents.

    Fine, again, educate them at home-fill them full of whatever creation myth nonsense you see fit, other parents can send their kids to a school that actually EDUCATES them. Simple really.

  • 0b101010

    If Free Pees wish to educate their children in schools affioliated in some way to their church or their church teachings this again is no business of the state within the usual sensible parameters.

    It’s the business of the state if they expect the state to pay for it. If you don’t want the state to have a say, you shouldn’t ask the state to pay your way.

    This is nothing but the state controlling the freedom of parents.

    How much freedom from the state are we talking about here? Who would you have decide what’s extreme and what’s sensible? Should parents have the freedom to deny their children life-saving medical treatment on religious grounds? Should parents have the freedom to marry their children off as their religion and traditions allow? Should parents have the freedom to mutilate, remove and/or stitch-up the genitals of their children as their religion and traditions demand? Should parents be allowed to sacrifice their children to their gods?

    As for the very sputrious tax argument that can be extrapolated to anything. I do not like my taxes subsidising football for instance – can I opt out of that?

    I believe you should be able to opt out of your taxes subsiding football, absolutely.

    I should find it quite surprising that, on one hand, you believe the state should keep out of the affairs of the individual yet, on the other hand, hold that it’s acceptable for the state to take what it wants from your bank account under threat of force and spend it on whatever it wishes.

    I should, but I don’t, because you’re a single-issue apologist: ranting about Marxism one minute and demanding state hand-outs the next.

  • What century are some of you people in with rants about marxism and calling children scum.

    I’m with driftwood on this, the whole point about having a broad based liberal education is it enables children to be educated widely and not just have the prejudices and religious intolerance of their parents stuffed into their heads.

    Of course lack of ambition for their children is a major problem amongst ‘some’ working class parents, but hey please do not feign mock surprise, as it is exactly what some of you want to justify your own wretched prejudices. If parents have had a paltry third class education themselves, it is hardly surprising they have little idea how to navigate their kids through the educational system, that is in many ways already stacked against their kids.

    Instead of talking about scum etc we should be highlighting those kids who do well and come from economically deprived communities. Believe it or not there are many kids out there, especially within the comprehensive system, who have achieved academic success or just gone on to lead fruitful lives. So less of the scum, please.

    As I wrote on another thread, there is no comfy 1950s world, for the middle classes to retreat into, and there is no doubt in my mind that those who refuse to accept the inevitable ending of selective education are attempting to do just that.

    As to home education, I feel it comes close to child abuse, as not only does it inflict the sins of the parents on the child, but it also denies the child the benefits of the rough and tumble of daily school life, which undoubtedly plays a role in equipping the child for later life.

    In its own way, ring fencing middle class children in grammar schools also defeats the object of a broad based liberal education of the type most of the best of these schools attempt to give their pupils. As it segregates the children from their working class peers, which can and does have negative consequences for society in general, as some of the comments to this thread proves.

  • Conall

    Apologies for misjudging you over comprehensive education, thanks for the link.

    Mick

  • Mickhall:

    Believe it or not there are many kids out there, especially within the comprehensive system, who have achieved academic success or just gone on to lead fruitful lives.

    This argument is brought up regularly by both sides in the selection debate. Is there any hard evidence to show that comprehensive schools are better than grammar schools in breaking class barriers?

    Let us not forget that there is still selection in the English comprehensive system – it is just less transparent. Selection by faith, postcode or money; all of which are less preferable to selection by ability.

  • Coll Ciotach

    Andrew

    I do not accept that faith based education cased or perpetated division in Ireland. In fact I would say the pposite is true. THe cause of division is political. Faith based education is a common form of education around the world. It is not the cause of Irelands problems and does not exacerbate them. The fault for that lies elsewhere and there is no need to make faith based education the scape goat for societies ills.

  • Coll Ciotach

    Driftwood

    I do not understand what you mean by sending children to a school that actually educates them, I presume you must be referring to the Catholic Grammars which top the results table.

    As for not wanting the state to have a say, too right I don’t. I subscribe to the opinion that the state should have as little to say in peoples lives as possible.

    0b101010
    If the state does not wish to live up to its responsibilities as regards supporting parents to educate their children by providing the means for that to occur I am sure that the state would have no problem in giving the aforesaid parents a tax rebate in respect of that.

    As for the rest of the posting I knew someone would come up with this nonsense – try and keep it within the realms of sense – of course you do not have the freedom to mutilate your children. That is an idiotic point which is more at home with the end of the night at the student unions drinking society debate than the standard of exchange I would expect here, so I will not engage with those points any further.

    I do believe that the state has the right to tax you, however that is balanced by the responsibility to keep the level to as low as can be and spending it wisely, I for one do not think subsidising sport is reasonable but I accept the state right to do so and charge me. I want no handout, I do want the state to exercise its responsibility and pay for the execution of those responsibilities. I am further impressed by your psychic abilities and in specific your divination of me being a single issue apologist, however your occult powers are as strong as your argument is logical as I have opinions on a range of issues.

  • Coll Ciotach

    As far as faith based edcation is concerned as far as I can see it is the faith based which is the problem, the peopole opposed to it are opposed to faith. the seek to destrot faith by stopping parents educating their children in their faith.

    These people are nothing more than control freaks who wish to mould other peoples children in their image. They are against freedom.

    I do not care were anyone sends their children to get educated. That is their business not mine our any governments. I for one would not trst any government control what is the correct way to educate children. The dangers there are obvious for all to see.

    Imagine if the government imposed gaelic for example as a compulsory core subject. What dividionist would agree to that? An extreme I know but it makes the point. The safest way to educate children is to alloww the parents to decide. It may not be totally safe but it is the safest.

    That is why we must allow as many forms of education to survive as we can, that includes grammars, comprehensives, state and religious education. The people will decide and those that survive will be the best for the children.

    Anyone who says different are just pocket control freaks who wish to control the minds of children and should be resisted.

  • Coll Clotach:

    I would never try to argue that faith-based education caused our problems. However, it is unarguably one of the main factors perpetuating the divisions.

    When you divide your society at the age of four into two camps based on religion, and then educate them separately through their formative years – right up to the age of 16 or 18 in many cases – you have trained them to think of each other as different. Children know that the school system is segregated and that they are being kept apart from each other. They just don’t understand why.

    I had no friends from “the other lot” until I went to university. None. I was part of a school exchange project in primary school once where two children from a State school and two from a Catholic school were entered into a competition together. That lasted all of a few days, and taught us precisely nothing.

    In NI, we have several overlapping divisions: culture, religion, politics. Every aspect of society is divided into “ours” and “theirs” and this division starts at school. You go to a Catholic (State) school, you play Gaelic sports (rugby), you learn Irish (or not), you meet nobody who challenges your preconceptions and you grow up to be a good Nationalist (Unionist) like everyone you know.

    We train our children to think inside the box. When we send them out into the real world they have no idea how to deal with people who don’t fit into their cosy paradigms.

  • Coll Ciotach

    Andrew

    I do not accept that in the slightest, I had, and still have, many friends of a different faith who grew up with me, they came and went, as did their parents, between the houses, I being fed with them and they with us depending who was were at dinner time. Did this intermingling change our political perspectives. Not a jot. Proximity and friendship did not override traditionally held aspirations. That is stronger than mere childhood friendships or even neighbourly acquaintance.

    This is replicated throughout the world, Serb and Croats, Tutsi and Hutu for example, living together and being educated together did not salve their differences when it came to the bit as it will not do here. The red herring of blaming the faith based schooling is not being accepted by the people as they see it for what it really is. An attack on the nationalist culture, pure and simple and the usual useful idiots jump onto the bandwagon of social acceptability. There may even be a quango seat for some at the tale end.

    The division here is deeper than religion, it is cultural and historic.

    The sooner we face that elephant and get rid of the physical division in the country the other divisions will melt away.

    There cannot be real peace in Ireland until the division of the country, that acts as a bulwark for other divisions, is dealt with. It is axiomatic – “Ireland unfree will never be at peace” – all this talk about schooling ending division is just skirting around the real issue – division of the nation by a foreign force.

  • Driftwood

    Coll
    What a load of bollocks, with your real agenda bolted on at the end.
    Here speaketh a true champion of real education..

    To slap a label on a child at birth – to announce, in advance, as a matter of hereditary presumption if not determinate certainty, an infant’s opinions on the cosmos and creation, on life and afterlives, on sexual ethics, abortion and euthanasia – is a form of mental child abuse… [H]ereditary peers, though undemocratic and often mildly eccentric, are not dangerous. Faith schools almost certainly are. There remains the pragmatic argument that, notwithstanding the knockdown objection to the principle of faith schools, they get good exam results. Well, maybe. If it is true, by all means let’s try to bottle the secret and share it around. But bottled or not, careful analysis fails to uncover any real link with faith…The way to be fair to hitherto unsupported denominations is not to give them their own sectarian schools, but to remove the faith status of the existing schools…

  • eranu

    fair enough mick. scum might be a bit strong for you, but its the word everyone uses. it has nothing to do with class by the way. what word would you use to describe those parents and those children? you seem to be trying to blame anything else as long as its not the actual people taking responsibility for their own actions. its the PC gone mad way of todays society.
    Hard work and effort and personal responsibility for our own life is how the real world works.

  • Did this intermingling change our political perspectives. Not a jot. Proximity and friendship did not override traditionally held aspirations.

    But perhaps it gave you a better understanding of the opposing point of view? One that others could benefit from?

  • Coll Ciotach

    Driftwood

    Ballocks to your opinion too. Now we have the ignorance out of the way.

    Your assertion that educating children in faith schools which teach the morality to which you (as a Christian mostly) ascribe to is a form of child abuse is just pure nonesense and fantasy, in fact I would say the opposite, if you believe in a faith and do not educate your child about it that would be child abuse. Schools which take their curriculum and values from the state are wide open for abuse of children. Children should never be at the mercy of any state when it comes to the inculcation of vales. Only an idiot would allow the state to teach a child values.

    The statement you come out with at the end of your rant that, in order to spread out the secret of the success of faith schools to other schools is to remove the faith element of the school is frankly ridiculous.

    faith schools work – the figures are there to prove it.

  • 0b101010

    If the state does not wish to live up to its responsibilities as regards supporting parents to educate their children by providing the means for that to occur I am sure that the state would have no problem in giving the aforesaid parents a tax rebate in respect of that.

    They won’t, but they should. It’s our money.

    As for the rest of the posting I knew someone would come up with this nonsense – try and keep it within the realms of sense – of course you do not have the freedom to mutilate your children.

    Who gets to decide what is in the realm of sense when it comes to superstition and the supernatural?

    It’s all too easy to make a sweeping declaration that the freedom of the parent to decide for their child is paramount, just as it’s all too easy to cast aside the obvious counter-examples as “nonsense”, but these are very real, very common and sometimes very serious issues we have to balance at all levels of government every day.

    You don’t have the freedom to mutilate your children? Sounds perfectly reasonable, but what do you call Jewish ritual circumcision? The state allows that. Then what about female genital cutting and stitching prevalent in African traditions?

    If the state has no business involving itself in parenting, what right does it have to force the children of Jehovah Witnesses to take life-saving blood transfusions?

    Is it only sensible if we’re talking about your own religious practices?

    I am further impressed by your psychic abilities and in specific your divination of me being a single issue apologist, however your occult powers are as strong as your argument is logical as I have opinions on a range of issues.

    Impressed as only a supernaturalist would be. That would be great if it was what I was meant by single-issue apologist, but it wasn’t. In simpler terms: you’re a hypocrite. You’re apparently happy to make exceptions to your own arguments when it suits your own ends:

    I want no handout, I do want the state to exercise its responsibility and pay for the execution of those responsibilities.

    …and, previously…

    SF is wedded too strongly to marxists theory when it comes to education … The function of the state must be to facilitate the wishes of the parents and the principle of the parents being the primary educators of the child must be upheld. This means providing educational resources to meet the expectations of the parents.

    Can you really read that and think you’re being logically sound?

    As far as faith based edcation is concerned as far as I can see it is the faith based which is the problem, the peopole opposed to it are opposed to faith. the seek to destrot faith by stopping parents educating their children in their faith.

    Make no mistake: I am opposed to religion. I am opposed to religious schools. I am absolutely opposed to paying to promote other people’s superstitions in the supernatural, and I am appalled at being forced by the state to pay to brainwash other people’s children.

    There cannot be real peace in Ireland until the division of the country, that acts as a bulwark for other divisions, is dealt with. It is axiomatic – “Ireland unfree will never be at peace” – all this talk about schooling ending division is just skirting around the real issue – division of the nation by a foreign force.

    Wow, that didn’t take long. I propose a comparable axiom to Godwin’s Law: the probability that discussion related to Northern Ireland will eventually come around to nationality, no matter how much of a non sequitur, is 1.

  • 0b101010

    Schools which take their curriculum and values from the state are wide open for abuse of children.

    Yet religious schools across Ireland have had the greatest incidence of physical, emotional and sexual abuse of children, to the point of indicating an institutionalised pattern of abuse. Granted these schools were also meant to be under the supervision of the state but, even then, this is a state that enshrined religion — and a particular sect– in its constitution:

    In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred,
    We, the people of Éire,
    Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial,
    Gratefully remembering their heroic and unremitting struggle to regain the rightful independence of our Nation,
    And seeking to promote the common good, with due observance of Prudence, Justice and Charity, so that the dignity and freedom of the individual may be assured, true social order attained, the unity of our country restored, and concord established with other nations,
    Do hereby adopt, enact, and give to ourselves this Constitution.

    The State recognises the special position of the Holy Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church as the guardian of the Faith professed by the great majority of the citizens.

    The State also recognises the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Religious Society of Friends in Ireland, as well as the Jewish Congregations and the other religious denominations existing in Ireland at the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution.

  • Coll Ciotach

    0b101010

    When you say “Who gets to decide what is in the realm of sense when it comes to superstition and the supernatural?” you are missing the point – whether your religious belief advocates mutilation or not the society in which we live will decide upon the level of acceptable mutilation, I for one do not advocate the mutilation that is belly piercing, especially for children however as our society accepts the freedom of allowing people to perform such acts which I find disturbing I can accept it as something people are free to engage in. This argument about mutilation is childish – approaching the standard of my dad is bigger than yours. We all know that it is mostly cultural conditioning which forms our opinions on the degree of mutilation that is acceptable.

    Of course it is easy for me to say that the parent is the primary educator of the child – because it is accepted by the vast majority as correct – otherwise the state may as well open up huge creches for the “education” of children.

    Next time you consider me a hypocrit please say so instead of coming out with silly diatribes which you cannot defend. As for the two quotes which you think are not compatible – they are, the state should live up to its responsibilities to the parents and the parents to the child. Only those who believe in totalitarianism would accept otherwise.

    I am glad you admit that the root to your argument is the abhorrence you have towards religion and not any concern for the child or the parents. Your abhorrence at having to pay for parents educating their children as they see fit is based soley on your personal delectations and has no basis on societal needs whatsoever. You are behaving like a dictator who decides that all have to fit into your wants and needs. Contrast your stance with my argument that people should be free to choose. They can even choose to educate their children in an atheistic orientated school. If that is their wish I believe that they should have the freedom and to do so and they would get every support from me in accomodating that wish. Even though I feel their wish to be “appalling”.

    As for the position on the division of the country, that is a riposte to those that argue that the trouble in this country is due to religious education, it is not, no need to lay the blame on the schools for that one. Many may wish to create schools as the straw man in that argument and unfairly apportion blame but it does not wash. The “blame” is fairly and squarely in the political and historical arenas and should remain there.

  • Coll Ciotach

    0b101010

    Your posts about the recognition of religion in the consitution. So what? meaningless in this argument about what is to happen to education in the occupied counties today.

    Abuse happened for a whole variety of reasons and was allowed to continue for more.

    Does not detract from my argument about the freedom of parents to decide on the education of their choice.

  • 0b101010

    When you say “Who gets to decide what is in the realm of sense when it comes to superstition and the supernatural?” you are missing the point

    You are missing the point. You believe some religious practices are more “sensible” than others even though, by definition, “sense” has nothing to do with the supernatural. You believe the state has no right to intervene when you want to force the indoctrination of another human into your own particular supernaturalist cult, but you want them to pay for it and you admit that “of course you do not have the freedom” to force religious customs on your child that don’t align with your own belief system.

    Surely people such as yourself “are nothing more than control freaks who wish to mould other peoples children in their image” and “are against freedom.”

    Of course it is easy for me to say that the parent is the primary educator of the child – because it is accepted by the vast majority as correct

    So you berate Marxism but ascribe to tyranny by the majority? You decry totalitarianism but believe in moral absolutes set by “society”?

    Next time you consider me a hypocrit please say so instead of coming out with silly diatribes which you cannot defend.

    I honestly didn’t think I was going to have to dumb it down for you. I was wrong.

    Only those who believe in totalitarianism would accept otherwise.

    So, have I got this right: only those who believe in totalitarianism would believe it’s wrong to have their property taken from them by the state, under threat of force and detention, to pay for something they don’t want, vehemently oppose and is ultimately used for someone else to override the rights of a third-party minor by indoctrinating them into a specific supernaturalist cult? Then, no pun intended, I am what I am.

    I am glad you admit that the root to your argument is the abhorrence you have towards religion and not any concern for the child or the parents.

    I admit no such thing. I do believe religion is an abhorrence and I have grave concern for children indoctrinated into cults by birth. Do you not believe children have a right to freedom and self-determination?

    Your abhorrence at having to pay for parents educating their children as they see fit is based soley on your personal delectations and has no basis on societal needs whatsoever.

    This is the single most correct, and obvious, thing I’ve seen written by you so far. I am serious when I say that I should get this put on a plaque and hang it on my wall.

    You are behaving like a dictator who decides that all have to fit into your wants and needs. Contrast your stance with my argument that people should be free to choose.

    Your stance is that people should be free to choose what they “need”, but not free to choose what they spend their own money on or whether or not they want to fund every kooky whim of their neighbour. You want the individual to bend to the wants and “needs” of all society. Who does that make the dictator?

    Your posts about the recognition of religion in the consitution. So what? meaningless in this argument about what is to happen to education in the occupied counties today.

    Post, singular. It really wasn’t that long. Must I really repeat it?

    You said this:

    Schools which take their curriculum and values from the state are wide open for abuse of children.

    …and I pointed out that Ireland is notorious, world-wide, for a religious school system run by the largest “Christian” church and a self-declared religious state that covered up widespread, systematic physical, emotional and sexual abuse of its children for many, many decades.