…a long-standing focus for Catholic discontent.

There is an element of Groundhog Day in the sudden outburst of debate on education and integration/segregation. Despite Brian’s claim that Catholic schools were fully funded in the 1970s (see point 10 in his list), that didn’t occur until November 1992 when it was announced that:

In a historical deal agreed between the Catholic bishops and the Department [of Education], Catholic schools will now be entitled to 100 percent financial support for new buildings. Hitherto they had to meet 15 per cent of such capital costs.

The move redresses what has been a long-standing focus for Catholic discontent. State-controlled, but de-facto Protestant schools and religiously integrated schools already receive full funding. (taken from a piece by Carmel McQuaid in The Irish Times, 6 Nov, 1992).

Previous to that (in November 1989), Brian Mawhinney (as NI Education Minister under direct rule) ended a year and half consultation process and moved on mainstreaming integrated schools in tandem with the state sector. At the time this was also heralded as the end of Catholic education as it was believed that full funding would only be awarded if they only taught the curriculum offered by the states religious schools. In the 20 or so years since, I don’t think that has happened.

As Mark has pointed out, there is undue focus on Catholic schools as ‘religious’ within the current debate, implying that state sector and integrated schools somehow are secular.

The idea that forcing the integration of education in a society where a large portion live in segregated communities is inane. It is equally obtuse to try and shy away from the fact that the identity of most of the Catholic schools is ‘Irish’, not ‘British’. Adherence to religions has tended to act as a proxy for demonstrating people’s political and cultural allegiances in Ireland since the late sixteenth century. The same can be said about current attitudes to Gaelic games, the Irish language and other areas of life which have become identified with one community. The debate here is really about promoting a pretence of cultural, political and social homogenisation, although, even then, for many that is acceptable – as long as the Irish bits don’t survive the integration process.

[For the record – I attended two Catholic schools – Holy Family Primary and St Malachy’s College].

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  • Brian Walker

    John,
    Thanks for the correction . I spoke from fallible memory.

    Nonethless Catholic schools are fully funded now. I’m trying to wrest the debate away from obssessing about the past to working for the future.

    I’m struck by so many comments which were made as if the old unionist supremacy was still in force. They are so anachronistic. I suggest that with powersharing, the grounds for Catholic discontent ought to be diminishing, are diminishing and should be seen soon to disappear altogether.

    Please note my own description of a voluntary and graduated integration process based on parental choice. There are other models like the exisiting third sector.

    As has been pointed out, FE colleges are not segregated
    ( although there are far fewer of them and they are carefully located), What is there to prevent progress on sharing facilities, federating by consent or even integration to achieve the entitlement framework in some working class areas?

    Ok it’s easier in middle class areas where creeping integration is happening already but why should working people be yet further disadvantaged and writtten off as irreconcilables? Opinion on this is far form fixed and support can be found in all areas for integration at least in theory.

    It is also time for the teachers’ unions to speak up.

    There’ll be many – like MLA in all parties – who won’t undersestmate the challenge but will not dismiss it as “inane.”

    As has been aired in other comments, I don’t accept that the identity contrast is as stark as you suggest. It is not the business of education to reinforce it but rather to allow students full rein to make up their own minds up or even play down the whole bally subject if they want to.

    Quite a few of us cut our teeth on generational battles over hard line unionism and fundamentalism or moderate nationalism vs republicanism, the abortion debate etc.

    Issues like GAA and the Irish language are far more amenable to settlement in a context of integration with diversity than they are in a situation of zero sum squabbling.

    Clearly you and many others need convincing – fair enough – but it would help I suggest if you left the comfort zone of your own background and look at the thing again with an open mind.

  • Alias

    Good post, John. I guess you could call it ‘integrated segregation.’ An oxymoron where the state pretends that Christian education is somehow ‘secular’ while Catholic education is somehow not Christian education but is a repulsive form of apartheid that must be eradicated from society for the common good. All Christian education is segregated education, and there is no proposal at all to end that – but merely a proposal to end education by one particular Christian denomination.

  • Drumlin Rock

    John, there was, and remains, a problem with the ownership of the schools estate, with the state owning all the property of the controlled sector, while the Catholic Church retains ownership in the maintained sector, 100% funding for something you dont own was questionable then, and remains so.

  • you already know

    I’m struck by so many comments which were made as if the old unionist supremacy was still in force. They are so anachronistic. I suggest that with powersharing, the grounds for Catholic discontent ought to be diminishing, are diminishing and should be seen soon to disappear altogether.

    i am not british i dont feel british i dont want to be british my children dont either and i am not discontented please keep the british money coming the old unionist supremacy shaped all our thinking and it will be many decades generations before it fades away who knows who will rule europe by then and i am sure that my british counterpart in the north feels exactly the opposite to me and will do for just as long until time dims everything

  • Brian – since you had made the error about funding in Catholic schools, I think it is a bit unfair to suggest that I am the one that needs to leave my comfort zone. I don’t think anyone who was through the Catholic school’s system in the 1970s, 80s or early 90s would have been unaware of the underfunding of infrastructure.
    I don’t disagree on integration with diversity, either. I’m against bland homogenisation, which is a different matter, entirely (mainly because, in case no-one has noticed, nobody has ever really wanted to sign up to it).

  • “Catholic schools will now be entitled to 100 percent financial support for new buildings”

    Not just Catholic schools. Other voluntary grammar schools benefited too. EG Loreto and Inst in Coleraine.

  • My problem with this all the way along has been this – is the school system in its current form the way to instil an ethos of some kind. Teaching is less of a “vocation” now than a career – not least because of the massive drop in the involvement of religious orders in teaching. While European law may protect the NI education sector from direct input by the equality industry, it does not shield it from changes in society at large.

    What does this boil down to? Perhaps we need to change what we understand as “school”. If parents want to continue to a) outsource the instilling of an ethos in their children or b) wish to engage in a cooperative manner with others to instill this ethos themselves, this is not necessarily an activity which requires the direction and participation of a government agency.

    The way schools in Britain and Ireland are run in terms of hours and structures might be different from those experienced by great-grandparents of current students but not radically so, and are therefore due for a complete floor to ceiling rethink – why can’t NI lead the way?

    How about moving to a 4 day education week where the child learns academic subjects with the 5th day the child spending in some form of philosophical or religious environment chosen by the parents at their cost which would handle not just cathechetics (sp?) where the child is enrolled with a religion-sponsored group, but ethical and philosophical instruction which engages with the material the child learns elsewhere – not just in school but the internet, the media and so on. 4 days of learning, 1 day of thinking.

    To my mind there are things that almost all parents of almost all traditions can have little difficult accepting as common – these the State should provide. Where there is substantive division the State should require communities to provide for themselves.

  • Hmmmm. I wonder did the state ever offer to buy out the schools estate from the maintained sector? I’d imagine, with their current, eh, worries, the Catholic bishops would sign up to be Plymouth Brethren en-masse for the massive sum that would bring in…

  • Alan Maskey

    Drumlins Rock: The state owns the state schools and pays for them, in large part out of the taxes Roman Catholics pay. Ulster’s Catholics subsidise Ulster’s Protestants, as do British Catholics.
    Would you support ther (bankrupt) State paying a subsidy to the Catholics for the use of their children to educate Catholic (and Sikh and Muslim) kids? Vouchers, one child, one voucher.
    imho, your problem and that of other liberal (!) Unionists is you are prisoners of the past. You have got a very easy ride in life, in large part from Catholics and not only do you want that to continue but you think you have some kind of moral authority in this.
    Religious schools, mission schools, purpose schools, give value for money. In general, State schools do not.
    You (not you personally but Protestant Unionists in general) want to have your cake and eat it.
    You object to the GAA getting money, Irish language schools getting money, Catholic schools getting any money and on it goes.
    All you seem to have in your corner is the big stick of Britain. Not very attractive.
    This is not directed at you personally. I know plenty of ok Prods who do their stricken Catholic neighbours a turn and don’t care one way or the other about the local GAA club (which often gets torched).
    In the context of the six counties, the Catholic stance is at least as valid as the one Protestants purport to uphold.
    If Stormont, McCausland, Robinson, McGuinness all went oin the Budgetary Review cuts, that would be a start. Anything that muzzles Unionists to the degree that they should be muzzled is a good thing. (PSFers should merely be held up to ridicule for the jokes that they are).

  • Halfer

    Brian, what’s irreconcilable is the two polarized political aspirations of Irish republicanism identified primarily with catholic community and the British monarchical loyalty represented by the Protestant community as John pointed out.

    Integrating education alone will not diminish this significantly enough to get consensus on the issue.

    Although he opened to the door for the debate, Im still extremely skeptical of Peters agenda. I think he intentionally stole the limelight off Tom Elliotts recent posturing by sticking a boot into the taigs. Does anybody really believe that Robbo is a secularist? Please!

  • Halfer

    Spot on Alias.

  • White Horse

    There is something that seems to be missing from the informed debate and that is that a damaged Peter Robinson is making these proposals, knowing that they are offensive, in order to curry favour with DUP electorate in East Belfast and beyond who will, he hopes, be fooled into believing that the changes he proposes have even a modest chance of succeeding and that the “evil” Roman Church will be brought to book.

    These proposals will only add to Catholic suspicions that unionism has no place for Christianity in its schools or in its politics and that it learns about Jesus Christ through the lens of a shallow adherence to Orangeism, a political ideology that defines Christ as a bowler-hatted, highway hogging, flag-waving, monarch-worshipping, Catholic-hating racist who never actually got around to loving either his neighbour or his enemy. Get a grip, Peter.

  • John East Belfast

    White Horse

    Protestants “learn” about Christianity in their Church – that is where they should learn it – in Sunday School and Bible Class therein.

    You are only highlighting your own prejudice and ignorance with your comments above.

  • anne warren

    latest headline from the Tele:

    Peter Robinson: I won’t be cowed by Catholic Church

    Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/peter-robinson-i-wonrsquot-be-cowed-by-catholic-church-14980391.html#ixzz12koluQ2L

    That’ll do a lot to enourage ” shared schools”

  • Brian Walker

    A lot of you are walking arguments for integration,
    Lots of people here talk as if teaching is done in secret cells hidden from the other side. It’s all out there, well known, easy to share and compare.

    As for the horrors of otherness.”These are terrrors for children Master Cromwell, not for me.” (Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons – and that’s being rough on children)

    Halfer ” British monarchical loyalty”?? Where have you been? Queen Victoria is dead. You wildly caricature the differences. And it’s facile to hang the whole integration idea on a bum remark by Peter Robinson.

    John O’Neill, the factual error obviously doesn’t undermine my case. Why not correct gracefully, rather than trying to score a point? I’m sure they taught you that at Holy Family. Good to see you’re not irreconcilable, though. Who wants bland homogeneity?

    Why do people think all kids are interested is the old drumbeats and must be shielded from the other noise? What about the odd song, social life, sex and even sums?

    God help them if they turn out like some of you lot…

  • White Horse

    JEB

    Which Church – of the many dozens?

    One can’t help feeling that the fragmentation of Protestantism engenders a feeling in Protestants that the only thing a Church should be is different to Catholicism. That being the case, and it must be for many, Jesus Christ becomes less and less important and can even be characterised in one severe instance as a loud-mouth bully who threatens all and sundry to get his way.

    One can’t help feeling that ideological nationhood, as it effects British unionists and Irish republicans in this sphere, renders Christ a bit player and any teaching of his is used to support an unsustainable argument. British unionism is particularly at odds with Christ’s teachings in that its values have evolved from the Empire, so part of the purpose that Christianity set its eyes on defeating. Its violence and the violence inherent in republican theology means that they are the enemy of Christ.

    One can’t help feeling that political unionism bears little evidence of a unionist people who have a deep knowledge of Christ and that the prevailing inspiration tends to be right wing rather than compassionate.

    Indeed Peter Robinson, with his staccato speech creates an impression that having empathy is far from his way.

  • Sorry Brian – I should have prefaced those comments by saying that I think it says a lot for you that you took the time to comment. I wasn’t intentionally point scoring, I just don’t take well to being told that I should get out of my comfort zone. I’m sorry, but I thought I had a reasonable case as well as the error suggested a deeper dissonance with Catholic experience on the issue. Anyone who was familiar with the Catholic school system and the issue of funding couldn’t have made such a basic error over when 100% capital funding was introduced. Even though I was only passing through the system in the 1980s and early 1990s, I was aware of it then. It was such an extreme sore point for a long time, and had become particularly acute in the late 1980s, for some reason. I think the 30 year old temporary classrooms that had been acquired in the 1950s, for a couple of years were dying their final death by that point. I just thought that, despite the authority you bring to the debate (actually I probably emphasised it because of that), that did weaken your arguments somewhat as it was bound up in a more complex and intractible sense of alienation between Catholics and the state.
    I don’t believe that, in the case of the Catholic sector, that the issue is as much religion as it is cultural with an ‘Irish’ ethos (I think it is a vanity on the part of the bishops to see it as a religious thing). Similarly, from discussions with all the people that I know who came through the state schools, they would see the main differences in the cultural mix as being stamped with a British ethos. I don’t see a tidy solution from trying to integrate them, just an idealised one with a bland outcome (and frighteningly teetotal, asexual, wordless dirges, coming to think of it).

  • Comrade Stalin

    I hope one day you’ll get to meet a few Protestants, and maybe then your misconceptions about their religion (or lack thereof) will become more obvious to you.

    renders Christ a bit player and any teaching of his is used to support an unsustainable argument.

    Christ is a bit player. How many new Catholic priests were ordained last year ?

  • John East Belfast

    White Horse

    You should go and read up on Protestantism – the whole point of the Reformation was that the Catholic Church/Priests & Mary were getting in the way of Jesus Christ as far as the Reformers were concerned

    However if you had read my posts on this matter in recent days you will see that I dont believe the NI conflict has anything to do with religion now other than the fact the labels associated with it define the identity lines

  • White Horse

    Comrade

    What misconceptions?

    You adequately describe the dilemma for unionism and republicanism when you suggest that Christ is a bit player.

    Honouring Christ with their lips and not their hearts has rendered Christ meaningless in these agendas.

    JEB

    The reformation was misguided in the sense that it has led to fragmentation and the rejection of Mary demonstrates a lack of understanding of the purpose of Christianity – to grow empathy.

    THe NI conflict has all to do with the use and abuse of religion, the use and abuse of Christianity and Christ, and the ennoblement of sections of our people for actually adhering to Christian love and empathy in their political policies. Empathy for others, particularly the vulnerable, is the purpose of Christianity and this was a primary example of how that was set aside by the usual suspects of ideological nationhood and its violence.

  • alan56

    Is it right for kids to be educated in a system with a protestant and british ethos on the one hand or an irish/catholic ethos on the other. If you think yes then I suppose the status quo is great!

  • JAH

    “The idea that forcing the integration of education in a society where a large portion live in segregated communities is inane. ”

    They said the same about ending racial segregation in the US Schools. It still happened.

    Isn’t it ironic how Robinson has really touched a very raw nerve. And doesn’t it say something about how shallow the Catholic tradition is the way all shades of green have rushed to the barricades? Are these much vaunted traditions actually built on hills of sand that time is quickly blowing away as we become a secular society.

    What would we do without an education system that perpetuated hate?

  • Brian Walker

    John ONeill,
    Thanks for that and yes indeed, I don’t have your direct experience. Sorry if I scold but the days are getting shorter and I’m an ageing man in a hurry.

    Overall the debate was been set off by a comment from the Sec of State ( who doesn’t have responsibility for education).
    Amazing that it should be left to him to do so.

    It ‘s inevitable I suppose that the debate is a muddle of mixed motives and point scoring, revealing much basic distrust. While it requires sensitive handling what’s also needed now is a lead in working through the problems towards more shared schooling.

    The 1920s framework for the churches should not be sacrosanct. But it will need a lot of debate to make changes. That is why I advocate parental choice, as a compelling approach that would be hard to resist. After all in many cases parental choice would reaffirm the position of religion in schools even if it reduces ( further?) the churches’ institutional roles..

    One big problem is; who is going to lead the debate? Politicis is not constructed to produce cross community movement. The best hope is ferment among civil society – parents, teachers and – if they dare – business, to capture a real undertow in pulbic opinion that, however we do it, we should not go on as we are.

    Then if one party sees a chance of gain, the others may follow. However clumsily put, the pick- up from Paterson shows they are not impervious to the arguments in favour integration or – as we might better call it – shared schooling.

    At least a dam may have burst. I hope against hope that momentum won’t be entirely lost and buried by the spending cuts.

  • Halfer

    Brian,

    I thought that I gave a measured response. It’s you who seems erratic in your response to me. If unionism isn’t loyal to the faith and crown, then what is it loyal to?

    As for communal integration through integrating education well that’s just hogwash in this political context. It’ll take a more profound societal change to achieve that.

    Moreover, I don’t believe that Robbos intentions were to stimulate better community relations but rather to stick it to the taigs. That’s the most perverse aspect of this little saga. It’s sectarianism cloaked in language of benign peacemaking.

    The discussion on homogenizing education is a moot point because it has no basis nor political will. The real story in this is Peters agenda.

  • White Horse

    A call for the loyal orders to shut up shop would be a meaningful way of demonstrating that you want to end the hate.

  • White Horse

    Well said, Halfer.

  • Brian Walker

    Halfer.. You have a modest idea of a real story. There’s a chink of an opening to begin work on a shared future – maybe not immediately but soon ( see above.).

    Faith and Crown is surely a faded concept not quite dead but sleeping deeply. Even few Conservatives talk like that any more – haven’t you noticed?

    One final point – sorry to hog.
    Catholic education was once “national” in the old Union but largely taken over by the Church by the will of the people.

    In the new northern State, recognition of Catholic separateness was mutual ( a) because Catholics wanted it and (b) it partly balanced Catholic/nationalist exclusion from political power.

    The Protestant churches also saw an opening to cement an institutional role in schooling.

    This political concordat no longer seems to me to be necessary now that the powerssharing delivers Catholic/nationalists an equal role in government. The Churchs’ institutional roles are no longer necessary to redress the political imbalance.

    That of course does not automatically lead to shared schooling but it does mean everyone can start again if they so wish on an equal footing..

    Ownership is a sticky problem but how real is ownership when schooling is fully funded by the State?

  • Halfer

    Brian,

    You still haven’t articulated to me exactly what it is that loyalists are loyal to. Nor even why.

    Though I”m tempted to call this unionism aspect a side issue, I think it goes to the heart of this.

    Your belief, (and I believe that your intentions are august) that there is a shared future on the horizon is flawed as it requires all those who live within the six counties who aspire to a unified republic on the island to jettison that hope. Integrated education won’t make a blind bit of difference until that happens and it won’t happen.

  • GoldenFleece

    How does integrated education work against a United Ireland exactly?

    Whether a UI happens are not we are going to have to learn to work together anyway! Why delay it?

  • Integrated education would increase Protestant power over Catholics. THAT is the raw nerve of the Ulster Catholic tribe which Peter Robinson has touched.

  • Four years ago in a State school in Derry (Londonderry to you) students were taught how to fit condoms on to the appropriate parts of plastic models. Two of the students in the class were Catholics.

    Do you really think that sort of lesson would be taught in State schools which were trying to cater for all citizens?

  • slappymcgroundout

    ““The idea that forcing the integration of education in a society where a large portion live in segregated communities is inane.”

    They said the same about ending racial segregation in the US Schools. It still happened.”

    A few points:

    (1) We did not even begin to attempt to integrate society by integrating the schools. We weren’t that stupid. The point was provision of roughly equal resources, i.e., maybe the school district doesn’t discriminate anymore in providing school resources, since cracker is going to the formerly shafted school and the only way to bring him home is to convince the judge that you’re providing a roughly equal educational opportunity for all. So you can’t help but the point, the point of the exercise was NOT integration of society but the provision of roughly equal resources, which would presumably lead to a better minority academic performance than was prevailing at the time. Note the below remarks re the failure of that attempt.

    (2) In addition to note significant academic performance improvement, the other end result of forced integration was more segregation than ever.

    (3) To borrow from Wikipedia:

    Even though school districts provided zero-fare bus transportation to and from students’ assigned schools, those schools were in some cases many miles away from students’ homes, which often presented problems to them and their families (my note, say mom or dad takes off work on break or ends work early in the day to pick up the kids, and so how does that work when one child is bused and the other isn’t?; another concern is extracurricular activities, i.e., 100 bused students, 20 of whom wish to participate in some form of extracurricular activity, how does that work, as we can have 1 bus take them all across town to the school in the morning, but we’ll need more than 1 bus to bring them back, or the non-extra curricular activity kids will have to twiddle their thumbs until the extra-curricular activities are over and the kids can all leave in one bus, and never mind the parents and whoever else concerned having to go across to town should they wish to have some manner of participation in the activities; buses otherwise get in accidents occasionally, some students get motion sickness from motor vehicle transportation, etc.). In addition, many families were angry about having to send their children miles to another school in an unfamiliar neighborhood when there was an available school a short distance away. The movement of large numbers of white families to suburbs of large cities, so-called white flight, reduced the effectiveness of the policy (my note, wasn’t just whites, as blacks too would move so that they didn’t have to bus their kids either; wasn’t really based on color, those who had the financial wherewithal and desire, got out of either the sytem or the area). Many whites who stayed moved their children into private or parochial schools; these effects combined to make many urban school districts predominantly nonwhite, reducing any effectiveness mandatory busing may have had. …

    In a Gallup poll taken in the early 1970s, very low percentages of whites (4%) and blacks (9%) supported busing outside of local neighborhoods. (now for the increased segregation as noted above) Critics point out that children in the Northeast were often bused from integrated schools to less integrated schools. The percentage of Northeastern black children who attended a predominantly black school increased from 67% in 1968 to 80% in 1980 (a higher percentage than in 1954)(my note, ’54 is Brown v. Board of Education). …

    (my note, now back to my prior point) The increased average distance of students from their schools also contributed to the reduced ability of students to participate in extracurricular activities and parents to volunteer for school functions. …

    Ultimately, even many black leaders, from Wisconsin State Rep. Annette Polly Williams, a Milwaukee Democrat, to Cleveland Mayor Michael White, have come to the conclusion that it is patronizing to think that minority students need to sit next to a white student to learn, and as such led efforts to end busing. …

    In 1978, a proponent of busing, Nancy St. John, studied 100 cases of urban busing from the North and did not find what she had been looking for: she found no cases in which significant black academic improvement occurred, but many cases where race relations suffered due to busing, as those in forced-integrated schools had worse relations with those of the opposite race than those in non-integrated schools. (MY NOTE: LET THAT POINT SINK IN, AS IT IS THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT ROBBO, BRIAN, AND SOME OTHERS ARE CLAIMING WILL BE THE RESULT OF FOR YOU ALL) Researcher David Armour, also looking for hopeful signs, found that busing “heightens racial identity” and “reduces opportunities for actual contact between the races.” A 1992 study led by Harvard University Professor Gary Orfield, who supports busing, found black and Hispanic students lacked “even modest overall improvement” as a result of court-ordered busing. Likewise, a National Institute of Education report could not even find a single study showing black children fared appreciably better following a switch to integrated schools. … (my note, as I also said above) “White flight” damaged the demographics and reputation of public education, ultimately draining desegregated school districts not only of whites but of wealthy blacks and Hispanics.

    (4) You might think the US South would have been the scene of the greatest or worst opposition. No. Boston.

    (5) the Boston experience:

    There were a number of protest incidents that turned severely violent, even resulting in deaths. In one case, a black attorney named Theodore Landsmark was attacked by a group of white teenagers as he exited Boston City Hall. One of the youths, Joseph Rakes, attacked Landsmark with an American flag, using the flagpole as a lance. A photograph of the attack on Landsmark, The Soiling of Old Glory taken by Stanley Forman for the Boston Herald American, won the Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography (now the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography) in 1977. In a retaliatory incident the next day, black teenagers in Roxbury threw rocks at a white man’s car and caused him to crash. The youths dragged him out and crushed his skull with nearby paving stones; when police arrived, the man was surrounded by a crowd of 100 chanting “Let him die” while lying in a coma from which he never recovered.

    In another instance, a white teenager was stabbed nearly to death by a black teenager at South Boston High School. The community’s white residents mobbed the school, trapping the black students inside. There were dozens of other racial incidents at South Boston High that year. The school was forced to close for a month after the stabbing. When it opened again, it was one of the first high schools to install metal detectors; with 400 students attending, it was guarded by 500 police officers every day. In December 1975, [Judge] Garrity turned out the principal of South Boston High and took control himself.

    By the time the experiment with busing ended in 1988, the Boston school district had shrunk from 100,000 students to 57,000, only 15% of whom were white. Today the Boston Public Schools are 76% black and Hispanic, and 14% White. According to the 2000 census, Boston’s white (non-Hispanic) population is 54.48%, whereas Boston’s black and Hispanic populations together total 39.77%.

    My note, I, for one, will never forget the televisioned scene of the one crowd throwing rocks at a bus full of school children. Not described by our Wikipedia author presumably because no one was injured.

    (6) The Los Angeles experience:

    As of 2007, students of Los Angeles Unified School District were predominantly Hispanic (73%) and black (11%), 9% were White. The city of Los Angeles was 49% Hispanic, 29% White, and 9% black.

    (7) The Pasadena experience:

    In 1970 a federal court ordered the desegregation of the public schools in Pasadena, California. At that time, the proportion of white students in those schools reflected the proportion of whites in the community, 54% and 53%, respectively. After the desegregation process began, large numbers of whites in the upper and middle classes who could afford it pulled their children from the integrated public school system and placed them into private schools instead. As a result, by 2004 Pasadena became home to 63 private schools, which educated one-third of all school-aged children in the city, and the proportion of white students in the public schools had fallen to 16%. (In the mean time, the proportion of whites in the community has declined somewhat as well, to 37% in 2006)(my note, again, as I said, those that could afford private schooling availed themselves, and some of those who could afford to move out the ‘dena did so)

  • Neville Bagnall

    “You still haven’t articulated to me exactly what it is that loyalists are loyal to.”

    It is an interesting point.

    Brian did answer, but in a negative, saying that unionism/loyalism wasn’t (primarily) about Faith and Crown.
    But then economic nationalism of the original Sinn Fein variety died with T.K. Whitaker’s white paper.
    The ground has shifted but the labels remain.

    What are the touchstones of unionism, loyalism, nationalism and republicanism now?

    Maybe Slugger should have its own variant on the Newsletters Union 2021 series. I would be very interested to read thoughtful essays on the following questions:

    Why are you a [Unionist/Loyalist/Nationalist/Republican (ULNR)]?
    Are there ways you feel you do not conform to the stereotypical image of a [ULNR]?
    Would you want and expect your children to also be a [ULNR], and if so why?
    Would you expect the children of another background to become a [ULNR], and why or why not?

    Maybe one of those with posting rights could get the ball started if they think its a worthwhile idea.

  • USA

    “It’s sectarianism cloaked in language of benign peacemaking.”
    That has to be the quote of the week. I too would question Robinsons motives on this issue.

  • Lionel Hutz

    You have hit the nail on the head there john. Bland homogenisation is exactly seems to be the best our political leaders can envisage.

    Schools in any part of the world will have an ethos reflecting pride in the country they are in. Further, the best schools will to claim to provide and quite often are successful in providing a rich learning environment, which is by and large based on following an ethos instilling pride and a sense of identity (from history, to sport, music, and, yes, quite frequently,religion) in their pupils.

    If there is to be any meaningful debate on the future of our education system it must recognise that there are two sectors which cater for respective traditions, as oppose to having a default sector and a sector for those catholic sheep. This is not segregation; none of this is enforced. This is not the separate but equal system that existed in certain American States 50 odd years ago; those pupils were all american after all.

    I find Peter Robinson’s remarks all the more laughable when set against the recent answers to a shared future. The CSI strategy was laughable in not dealing with how the N.I. could ever come together, rather than settling for living side by side. DUP and SF have given up on having a top down approach to a shared society so it seems Robinson has decided that the only way to deal with it is put all the next generation into the one classroom and see what happens.

    Who really wants to use their children’s education as some sort of social experiment?

  • Lionel Hutz

    Are you suggesting they move sunday school to a friday?

    I think you are missing the point that the ethos of the school is supposed to provide a holistic learning environment – and it seems to work!

  • Mark

    Do the Robinson comments have implications for our much loved voluntary grammar schools also?
    If only a revised state sector would receive funding in his future scenario, would this mean withdrawal of funding from these schools who are outside the current controlled sector?
    If not, why not?
    Would this mean the emergence of fee paying and expensive private schools in NI where the rich are not subsidized by the state as at present?
    If Robinson is truly interested in a new order of schools why did he not also challenge state funding of these schools also?

  • pippakin

    Lionel Hutz

    “Who really wants to use their children’s education as some sort of social experiment?”

    I completely agree, btw would you say the past forty odd year have been a shining example of how to educate children?

    Somehow young children have been ”taught’ to hate, ‘taught’ that violence can be justified.

    I would not be surprised to find there are some children, under the age of, say, twelve, who have never met a person of the opposite and equal religion. I’m pretty sure such children will not have been taught that the other religion is equal.

    I don’t care what church someone goes to or takes the children to on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. I do care that come Monday morning they should be receiving a balanced education.

    I see integration as the right way forward. Check that word: forward, not back.

  • Halfer

    I imagine interfaith education in a UI would look the same as anywhere else. I would predict though that the education system would be as diverse as to meet the varying needs and wishes.

    I’m not against integrated education by the way. I’m a secular atheist but I scorn this idea that integrating education alone will move to harmonize society in the north. Besides that, it’s going to take a lot of genuine political will and consensus to do it and I just don’t believe that it’s there right now.

  • Mike

    “These proposals will only add to Catholic suspicions that unionism has no place for Christianity in its schools or in its politics”

    Plenty of people would say that such a situation would be a mighty good thing…

  • Seymour Major

    Would the elimination of segregation be a threat to the British or Irish identity?

    That is the awkward question which is coming out of this thread. Much as I regret to admit, it is not possible to make significant progress in tackling political and social sectarianism without endangering the preservation of the British or Irish cultural identities in their present form.

    Just to put that into context, if there was an end to segregation in schools, how would that affect the future of orangism?
    My guess is that it would have an adverse effect on future recruitment.

    What about the cultural side of the Irish identity?
    On this thread has been mentioned Gaelic Sports, the Irish Language etc. It is likely, in my view, that in the mediuem term future, these aspects of Irishness are unlikely to be the exclusive preserve of the Catholic community. However, I also think that the GAA will find itself less popular with Catholics, as well as Protestants, if it does not make rule changes which make the sports more appealing to Unionists.

    The third identity (the Northern Irish pluralist one) is evolving and growing, whether anybody likes it or not. It is only the speed of its growth which can be changed. An end to school segregation would certainly hasten that process.

    So bringing an end to segregation a good or a bad thing?

    The desire by some for the preservation of pure identities in their present concentrate form and the desire to preserve parental choice should not, IMHO take precedence over a change which will be of such positive benefit to NI society.

    Can the proposed changes be made to work in practice?

    If there is not majority cross community consent on both sides, the proposed changes are unlikely to be forced through. If it does exist, they can and the precedents sited by slappymcgroundout would be unlikely to apply in Northern Ireland.

    Even if there is not majority cross community consent now, a campaign ought to continue until there is.

    I finish by mentioning the Eames Bradley report. It was recommended that there be a legacy commission which would make proposals for the contributions which churches make to tackling sectarianism. That proposal ought to be revisisted as it would increase the moral pressure on churches. It is worth quoting the following passage from the report.

    “Any society moving forward from conlict has no choice but to address the separations that exist between its people. These separations are negative and destructive when they exist in housing, employment and social life.

    Specifically the arguments about the ethos or quality of education provided in the faith based sectors have to be balanced against the reality that reconciliation may never be achieved if our children continue to attend
    separated schools.”

    http://www.consultationonthepast.org/?p=99

  • Anon

    Then maybe that’s what they should be arguing for, and see how it flies.

  • Anon

    On this thread has been mentioned Gaelic Sports, the Irish Language etc. It is likely, in my view, that in the mediuem term future, these aspects of Irishness are unlikely to be the exclusive preserve of the Catholic community. However, I also think that the GAA will find itself less popular with Catholics, as well as Protestants, if it does not make rule changes which make the sports more appealing to Unionists.

    And this staggering change in the most popular sports in Ireland would be brought about because…..? Is this limited just to the North here, or will the Catholics of the South be similarly affected? The only way this happens if people are denied the opportunity to play it.

    The third identity (the Northern Irish pluralist one) is evolving and growing, whether anybody likes it or not. It is only the speed of its growth which can be changed. An end to school segregation would certainly hasten that process.

    Please don’t project. Who knows what will happen? And as it is, it’s not entirely clearly peopel aren’t just giving a “right” answer.

    Specifically the arguments about the ethos or quality of education provided in the faith based sectors have to be balanced against the reality that reconciliation may never be achieved if our children continue to attend
    separated schools.

    Balance your own life, and stop worring about balancing everyone else’s.

  • Halfer

    “The third identity (the Northern Irish pluralist one) is evolving and growing, whether anybody likes it or not. It is only the speed of its growth which can be changed. An end to school segregation would certainly hasten that process”

    Northern Irish identity? What a completely vacuous concept. National identity is only really garnered through collective pride in a societal construct. Is this possible in this retarded political backwater with near zero sovereignty? Stop scapegoating education for division in NI. The division is due to opposing political ideals, years of discrimination and social marginalization.

    Making education the patsy and the cure is absolutely absurd. At the heart of this is the chauvinistic myth that the identity and aspirations of the sizeable minority of Republicans are without political basis and can be cured by education reform.

  • Aldamir

    Does the Catholic Church own the real estate? I have doubts. It seems more likely that local school governing bodies own the property.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Pippakin,

    I don’t know what schools you’ve been to but you are not ‘taught to hate’ and certainly that violence can be justified. This uber emotional language sort of undermines any point you make.

    I went to a catholic school. I’m not religious, so if their some indoctrination, it didn’t work on me. The school is possibly the most successful at Gaelic football in N.I. but I don’t bother with it. But I still believe that a rich cultural setting, a sense of identity and so on helped provide the best learning environment. Oh, and I can’t ever remember being told that violence was good.

    I don’t have much difficulty with our sectors. I believe that intergrated education should be supported but not enforced, something which would be massively couter productive.

  • The idea that forcing the integration of education in a society where a large portion live in segregated communities is inane.

    Blinkered rubbish.

    A post focused on maintaining little other than the current divide, using a quote from 18 years ago as the title.

    Yesterday’s man.

  • National identity is only really garnered through collective pride in a societal construct. Is this possible in this retarded political backwater with near zero sovereignty?

    lol.

    At the heart of this is the chauvinistic myth that the identity and aspirations of the sizeable minority of Republicans are without political basis and can be cured by education reform.

    Ultra-defensiveness. No one’s trying a mass conversion here. A little familiarity and civility between two parts of the community never hurt anyone. If only the same could be said of republicans and the other extremists of course…

  • John East Belfast

    Halfer

    “Northern Irish identity? What a completely vacuous concept. National identity is only really garnered through collective pride in a societal construct. Is this possible in this retarded political backwater with near zero sovereignty?”

    It is very possibe among the unionist community where there is a collective pride in Northern Ireland.

    Therefore it is ok for you to diss such a concept from your own point of view and even the wider nationalist community if that is your belief but you cannot make such an asertion on behalf of Northern Irish unionists – you are highlighting incredible ignorance or indifference to unionist thinking.

  • Hmmm – the clue in the post title was that this isn’t exactly a new issue and the solution is pretty dog-eared – well done for spotting that (the Groundhog Day reference in the first line was the giveaway wasn’t it?).
    Ok, St Etienne – you’ve given your smart put downs, but just how do you see integration working then?

  • Seymour Major

    “Stop scapegoating education for division in NI.”

    In view of that that demand, I will repeat the following passage from Eames Bradley

    “Specifically the arguments about the ethos or quality of education provided in the faith based sectors have to be balanced against the reality that reconciliation may never be achieved if our children continue to attend
    separated schools.”

    These are not my words. One of the Authors was for many years Ireland’s most senior Anglican cleric. The other is a former Catholic Priest. This is an authoritative statement by learned theologians from both communities. It can not be ignored – not even by the Catholic Church.

  • pippakin

    Lionel Hutz

    I’m sorry I did not intend to suggest that any school teaches children to hate. My comment was meant to high light the fact that some children on both sides are obviously taught to hate since hatred is not something anyone is born feeling.

    Everyone knows education is happening all the time, in school or not.

  • Halfer

    No I’m not John. What I am doing is highlighting unionisms failure to describe their democratic aspirations beyond the twee “our wee country” mantra. I’m speaking from a Republican perspective so Its your responsibility and not mine to describe and defend what this so called Northern Irish identity is and why it is that your so proud of it’s society.

    St Etienne,

    I can’t reply to a “lol” comment. Serious discourse needs more than text speak.

    Your second comment talks of civility yet brands republicans as extremists in one breath. And if you are to be honest, you must admit that an ideal unionist scenario would be for the republicans in the north to abandon their democratic aspirations and content themselves in the failed democratic entity that exists here. Or is there something that you know and I don’t?

  • Halfer

    I disagree Seymour. It is not an authoritative statement but an subjective opinion from two religious leaders that perpetuates the myth that division in the North is still motivated by religious differences.
    This view is dangerous as it tries to politically sterilise the conflict and diverts attention away from its main catalysts.

    If they were able to cite empirical examples, locally or internationally where integrated education in similar circumstances achieved substantially improved community relations then I would accept it’s authority.

  • Alias

    It really doesn’t make any difference what Robinson, Ritchie, and McGuinness are told to do by the viceroy or what the viceroy would like to do in the promotion of British national interests since the UK doesn’t have the moral authority to (a) determine if primary and secondary education should be funded by the state, and (b) determine if primary and secondary education should be secular or aligned to a faith. That is determined is international law under Article 26 (1) and (3) of the UDHR.

    Furthermore, the UK government and its regional administrations do not have the sovereignty to make any law that contravenes the ECHR, transposed into UK law under the HRA. That declares in Article 2 (also declared in Article 2 of the ECHR) that “No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.”

    The viceroy cannot claim that state funding of education is discretionary since Article 26 of the UDHR makes it a positive right and obliges the state to fund it (“Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages.”) and also allows the parents to determine the nature of it.

    Therefore, since the viceroy cannot issue decrees in this area, the viceroy must use his puppet parties to lead their supporters give up their human rights as expressed under the relevant Articles. They are expected to deny their human right as parents to educate “in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions” in order to promote British national interests. Some will be led to do that but I don’t see a majority being led to do it or even a significant minority.

    That said, the interesting thing about mutual vetoes when applied to religion is that atheists also have them and, oddly enough, the atheist’s veto wins out over the theist’s veto under European law so some vetoes are more equal than others. For example, the ECJ held last year that Italy’s schools could not display a crucifix in classrooms because this violated the ‘equal’ right of an atheist under Article 2 to educate her child “in conformity with [her] own religious and philosophical convictions.” So all of the other parents in Italy are now denied their right to educate their children “in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions” because to grant that right to theists would deny that right to atheists. That is the madness of the EU for you!

    The unappreciated reality of that decision is that, under Declaration 17 of the Lisbon Treaty, the UK must take account of all judgements delivered by the ECJ irrespective of its domestic courts role in enforcing the HRA. In other words, if it is illegal for schools in Italy to (more accurately public buildings) then that is now the law in all member states and the government could be duly forced through its own courts to implement it in the UK.

    There is good and bad about the UK giving much of its sovereignty away: on one hand, it can’t abuse the rights of Catholics as it once freely did, and on the other hand, there is no telling what the ECJ will do to promote the EU’s integration/multicultural agenda (which even Merkel now admits has “utterly failed”)…

  • joejoe

    The type of state-system Robinson had in mind is all important if kids from both main traditions are to be educated together. I had assumed he meant something like the current integrated schools sector; yet some -on both sides- think the intent was that the state-sector would continue as is, (the state is the the UK so the UK/British flag, UK/British/English Queen, UK/English language, UK/English-initiated sports etc., must have pre-eminence & special homage).

    Robinson should make it clear which type of education he has in mind, and if his is a genuine British-Irish parity-of-esteem idea, hopefully gain support. Surely, it wasn’t just a unionist brain-wave on seeing a state-sector-educated (Sullivan-upper) catholic golfer waving the old NI Unionist government banner; something most catholics would not do?

  • Seymour Major

    It is not an authoritative statement but an subjective opinion from two religious leaders that perpetuates the myth that division in the North is still motivated by religious differences.

    The Eames Bradley report is certainly not subjective. It has a bibliography which refers to an extensive amount of research data and publications. I refer to one of those mentioned publications which is a report by the Northern Ireland Council on Integrated Education entitled “A shared future: policy and strategic framework for good relations in NI.

    http://nicie.org/archive/A%20Shared%20Future%20education%20paper%20(2).doc

    It is an interesting document discussing policy in the education sector for promoting integration. The thrust of the policy is that all schools (both denominational and non-denominational ) will have a responsibility to promote sharing over separation. The policy would not have arisen unless it was clearly recognised that segregation was damaging

    That document refers to an earlier publication upon which the policy is based“A Shared Future: The Policy and Strategy Framework for Good Relations in Northern Ireland (ASF)”

    This document cites two important legal duties of the DENI under section 75(2) of the Education (Northern Ireland) Order 1989

    1. “to encourage and facilitate integrated education”

    2. “to to have regard to the desirability of promoting good relations between groups specified in the Northern Ireland Act 1998” [Article 75(2)].

    It goes on to cite its general educational policy for the purpose of meeting that duty. I quote:

    2.4.3 There are now some 55 formally integrated schools with over 17,000 pupils across Northern Ireland. This represents around 5% of the total number of pupils in schools in Northern Ireland. The remainder are educated either in Controlled (largely Protestant) or Maintained (mainly Catholic) schools. In 2001/2002, 5% of pupils in Controlled schools were from a Catholic tradition and 1% of pupils in Maintained schools were from a Protestant background.
    2.4.4 For some, integrated education is seen as a barometer of good relations between and within communities in Northern Ireland. However, a move towards greater sharing in education, as a whole, is perhaps more important.
    2.4.5 The exercise of parental choice is central and both integrated and denominational schools have important roles to play in preparing children for their role as adults in a shared society. There is a balance to be struck, however, between the exercise of this choice and the significant additional costs and potential diseconomies that this diversity of provision generates, particularly in a period of demographic downturn and falling rolls.

    This is where the Catholic churches are likely to defend themselves. They will say that the policy is working and that they are doing their utmost to promote contact between children of other schools. On another thread, I did praise the work done by St. Michael’s College (Enniskillen) – a Catholic Grammar School – with its work in promoting integration. My eldest son went to school there. My youngest son still attends that school.

    On the other hand, there is other research which clearly indicates that Integrated schools are having much more succcess at educating people who come out with a significantly less sectarian attitude.

    Here is a link to a significant survey by Arc

    http://www.ark.ac.uk/publications/updates/update43.pdf

    This information was published 4 years ago. Note the fact that those who attended an integrated school are significantly more likely to react strongly against sectarianism.

    I have to admit that since I published my previous comment, I have learned a lot more about the huge amount of work which civil servants are making in dealing with segregation and I salute them for their work. Their approach is much more balanced and sensible than many people probably realise.

    On the other hand, you can not ignore the fact that Integrated Education is a much more successful medium for dealing with segregation.

    Peter Robinson has a strong point but the strongest point for change, underpinning his speech, is the opinion poll within the Arc survey. 81% of parents would prefer their children to go an integrated school. It is a statistic which jumps out of the page and should not be ignored.

    It is absolutely right that this debate should continue.

  • HeinzGuderian

    How can a child know what religion,he/she is meant to be ? How can a child possibly make that informed decision ?

    Their parent may label themselves with religious identities,that is their personal choice BUT……………little children are little children,and they should be educated together !! They can make their minds up about religion,or lack off………when they are older !

    If your parents are alcoholics,does the Primary School send the P1 pupil to alcoholics anonymous ?? 🙁

  • HeinzGuderian

    Instilling |YOUR chosen religion(or your parents,or their parents,……..) onto your children,is nothing less than CHILD ABUSE !!! It is WRONG !! Plain and simple !!

  • HeinzGuderian

    Halfer…………..if Northern Ireland is a ‘failed democratic entity’,how would you describe Eire ?? 🙂

  • Seymour – I don’t think anyone with a serious interest in education or cross-community initiatives would contradict you here (although I can’t find the 81% poll in the Ark survey – is the link right?). I don’t know if there is any substantive research into the pedagogic value of integrated education per se over, e.g. the grammars or bi-lingual schools, etc (I am happy to stand corrected if there is). So genuine proponents appear to be largely promoting the trade off of favourable future community relations (not educational benefits) against the complex re-engineering the education sectors would need to achieve the suggested aims. At least making sure that there aren’t barriers to parental choice should be promoted in the interim.
    Looking at the disparate responses and conversations here – people seem to associate a number of distinct strands around the subject of integrated education and see different motivations behind its promotion. Obviously some are actually seeing it as an issue about religion (or another chance for a few sharp sideswipes laced with sectarian undertones).
    Despite all this, I do think Peter Robinson’s comments (whether people like it or not they have to face the fact that he certainly wasn’t being particularly subtle) on ‘church schools’ were meant to convey the understanding that integration is solely an issue for ‘Catholic’ schools and an opportunity for assimilation (or, if you want to be crude, continuing to prosecute war by other means). In tone, it doesn’t feel a million miles away from Terence O’Neill’s old nonsense about howif you treat Roman Catholics with due consideration and kindness, they will live like Protestants. The underlying empathy you’d think should be present when supporting something like integration isn’t there in his speech (as much as some would yearn for it to be there). I don’t think its the type of intervention that does supporters of educational integration any favours.

  • JoeJoe

    Jeez Seymour Major, you turn out to have a kid that went to a catholic school. I thought -from your handle-, you were a liberal protestant that I warmed to (I like warming x the divide).. aw well, back to Turgon

  • Lionel Hutz

    Here is a link to a significant survey by Arc

    http://www.ark.ac.uk/publications/updates/update43.pdf

    This information was published 4 years ago. Note the fact that those who attended an integrated school are significantly more likely to react strongly against sectarianism.

    ————————-

    Does that say alot about integrated education or the parents who send their kids to integrated schools. I think sectarianism is taught in the home and those parents who send their kids to integrated are less likely to teach it at home

  • Halfer

    As a failed economic entity

  • Lionel Hutz

    Can they still not make such a decision on religion? I did…….

    So let me get this straight, you think parents should have no say over whether their children should be taught a certain religion. Its this type of nonsense that undermines those who propose integration.

    I may be pretty much secular myself, but I’m coming to the view that aggressive secularism really does exist. TBH I’d prefer the religious nuts – atleast their high and mightiness is based on an external deity rather than just believe that they themselves are high and mighty

  • slappymcgroundout

    “I’m coming to the view that aggressive secularism really does exist”

    Did you miss the chart? Here:

    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/COM.TAB1.GIF

    That middle number there in under a century is more than the religious folk killed over the last 2,000 years.

    Next, for Dawkins’ (and Heinz’s) own brand of abuse:

    A foreign publisher of my first book [The Selfish Gene] confessed that he could not sleep for three nights after reading it, so troubled was he by what he saw as its cold, bleak message. Others have asked me how I can bear to get up in the mornings. A teacher from a distant country wrote to me reproachfully that a pupil had come to him in tears after reading the same book, because it had persuaded her that life was empty and purposeless. He advised her not to show the book to any of her friends, for fear of contaminating them with the same nihilistic pessimism.

    Lastly, for how lame the claim of abuse:

    Christians should give some serious thought to how (and what) they teach about Hell, especially to children; but atheists should give some serious thought to the fact that without Heaven and Hell, their worldview offers neither justice nor hope, in a godless universe that fails to provide any moral grounds for the condemnation of child-abuse.

    As you can presumably appreciate, Richard doesn’t have External Deity to rely on as justification. He can offer nothing but a pointless, purposeless universe. As Dawkins himself put the matter:

    If somebody used my views to justify a completely self-centred lifestyle, which involved trampling all over other people in any way they chose. . . I think I would be fairly hard put to it to argue on purely intellectual grounds. . . I couldn’t, ultimately, argue intellectually against somebody who did something I found obnoxious. I think I could finally only say, “Well, in this society you can’t get away with it” and call the police.

    By the way, re notion of “might makes right”, there it is, in Dawkins’ own words. That’s all Richard can offer.

  • Seymour Major

    Sorry to disappoint you JoeJoe,

    Of course, none of us can chose where we come from. I have a Protestant father and a Catholic mother. I had to listen to sectarian arguments (of the doctrine kind) since I was knee high. Of course a lot of this guff was about having statues in churhces and priests not marrying when St. Paul says they should. You know the sort of stuff that Protestants often say about the Catholic Church.

    I was given religious instruction as a Catholic but my father made sure that I attended Protestant schools. So there you have it. I had to put up with bible-thumping teachers at the school and go to mass on a Sunday.

    My wife is a Catholic. Although I am an atheist, I did not object to our children having a catholic education. What was important was that the schools are superb and of a much higher standard than the Erne integrated in Enniskillen. I am pleased to say that my children are all well adjusted. They socialise with Protestants of their own age and are free of the sectarian mindset.

    Turgon? You might find trouble finding him. He’s away with the fairies on planet zog.

  • Reader

    slappymcgroundout: By the way, re notion of “might makes right”, there it is, in Dawkins’ own words. That’s all Richard can offer.
    So under your regime, there would be no police because they would not be needed? When has that ever worked?
    Mankind has co-evolved into a complex, cooperative society, which has created God in its own image. Those rules you think we got from God – we created them ourselves. That is obvious to an atheist, perhaps a bit of a struggle for a deist. If, and when, we decide the rules are wrong, we can, and do, change them. More and more, our laws are based on the Golden Rule and sustainability rather than the 10 (11?) commandments.
    And as for your perception of an absolute morality that we are starting to lose; we have more protection for children now than we ever had under a theocracy.

  • Seymour Major

    John,

    The 81% was actually 82%. I saw it written in this article

    http://www.johannhari.com/2009/03/14/the-answer-to-the-northern-ireland-crisis-lies-in-the-schools

  • Rory Carr

    Of course it’s not child abuse. Now that is twaddle. Plain and simple.

  • Alias

    Parents have responsibility for their children, not the state. The day the citizens allow the state to take ownership of their children and dictate at its discretion what propaganda it can inoculate into them is the day you lose your humanity and your freedom.

    The other complicating factor is that the British state exists to protect and promote British national interests, and not the national interests of a foreign nation – which must be persuaded to suppress any claim to self-determination it might make to challenge that state’s territorial integrity. Since the British state’s national interest in this matter is the diametric opposite of the Irish nation’s national interest, it will use its sovereign state to direct the non-sovereign nation in its territory accordingly.

    The agenda here has nothing to do with education and everything to do with politics – British state politics.

  • Nobody in Northern Ireland should need your lesson from the USA. The present day sectarian tensions in Ulster are a direct result of the tensions which developed in 19th century Ireland as a result of an attempt to establish integrated education.

    P.S. I suggest that anyone interested in this subject should research the period 1831 to 1859 – with special attention to the events concerning the Presbyterian primary school in Broughshane, Co Antrim in 1846.

  • “However, I also think that the GAA will find itself less popular with Catholics, as well as Protestants, if it does not make rule changes which make the sports more appealing to Unionists.”

    What changes? And where did you get the idea that the GAA will forfeit the support of many Catholics if it does not make its sports more appealing to Unionists? In my experience, the exact opposite is the case.

  • Now, now, now Mr Seymour, you are leading with your chin.

    When Dr Robin Eames was Church of Ireland bishop of Derry and Raphoe, he called for integrated education in Northern Ireland and sparked off a very public row with his Catholic counterpart, Dr Edward Daly. Some years later, when Dr Eames was bishop of Armagh and primate of Ireland, he made a speech in Cork defending the right of Protestants in Eire to have their own schools.

    Do I have a right to be suspicious of a Protestant who supports integrated education for societies in which Protestants are in a majority and who opposes it for societies in which Protestants are in a minority? I merely ask.

  • smellybigoxteronye

    There is a lot of nonsense that is talked here about the “opposing” “British” and “Irish” identites and ethoses in schools.

    The British identity is an inclusive identity that encopasses all the cultural aspects throughout the entire British Isles archipelago. An “Irish” identity/ethos is therefore a crucial and integral part of a “British” identity/ethos. The fact that our southern neighbours decided to become separatists does not change that fact.

    Anyone who has obtained a Northern Ireland state education will be well aware of the large numbers of all-Ireland academic and sporting events that take place within the so-called “defacto protestant” schools today. A very large proportion of the History taught is dedicated to Irish history and is usually fairly balanced in its teaching.

    The issue of the GAA is also a misleading one, given that the GAA is primarily a political organization dresssed up as a sporting one. If the GAA were a reformed and merely solely sporting organization it would not be an issue – the problem is that the GAA is part an Irish Separatist political movement – it’s not Irish at all, rather Irish separatist in nature.

  • “You know the sort of stuff that Protestants often say about the Catholic Church.”

    Yes, Mr Seymour, I do know. That is one of the reasons why I am so opposed to integrated education. Verbal aggression against Catholicism seems to be the default mechanism of nearly all Protestants. Most of you just cannot leave Catholics alone. Remember the outbursts of sectarian aggression during the Pope’s recent visit to Britain.

    Why should Catholics send their children to schools in which they would be subject to that sort of sectarian harassment? Catholic schools were the result of anti-Catholic bigotry – in Ireland, in Scotland, in England, in the USA and in Australia. Until nearly all Protestants have learned to behave themselves, Catholic schools must continue.

    When universal education was established in Ireland in 1831, the schools were integrated. The Catholic bishops (more fools they) agreed even though the Board of Education consisted of 5 Protestants and 2 Catholics for an Ireland which, at the time, was about 80% Catholic. But Protestant resistance, much of it violent, ended that experiment.

    Fool me once, shame of you
    Fool me twice, shame on me.

  • It does not matter what the GAA is. If gaelic games are not acceptable to State schools, those schools will not be integrated.

    And if Irish nationalism is not acceptable in State schools, those schools will never be integrated.

    And if Catholic teachers (including priests, monks and nuns and members of Sinn Fein) are not acceptable in State schools, forget about integrated education.

    Where did you Protestants get the idea that you could have integrated education entitely on your terms?

    The STATE schools of Northern Ireland are more than de facto Protestant. The law treats them as Protestant property. The Protestant churches have a statutory right to appoint 50% of the voting governors of every State school — including one State primary school all of whose pupils are the children of Catholics.

  • If integrated education is so wonderful, why should anyone want to coerce anyone into taking part? It is a poor product which needs a captive market.

    I have a suspicious mind.

  • Have YOU displayed any civility?

  • Mr Walker

    “Catholic education was once “national” in the old Union but largely taken over by the Church by the will of the people.”

    Why was it the will of the Catholic people? Please tell the truth. The Catholic Church in Ireland was driven out of the integrated system by a Board of Education responding to Presbyterian pressure by defaulting on its statutory duties to Catholics. Even after that default, the Catholic bishops tried for 13 years to solve the problem until, in 1859, they lost heart and turned their backs on integrated education and they have never relented in their opposition to it. The Catholic Church was well and truly sickened by what it and its people had to endure in the integrated system.

  • Golden Aviator

    Could you clarify what you mean by “holistic”?

  • Golden Aviator

    This is a point that gets overlooked.

  • Golden Aviator

    This sort of comment is purely inflammatory.

  • Seymour – the Johan Hari paper only quotes a ‘report’ with no references. I’d a look around (in case anyone wants to read more on this), the figure appear to come from a Millard Brown Ulster Omnibus Survey, and there is more on the NICIE website, including an outline of a 2008 attitude survey.

  • slappymcgroundout

    Reader, no one creating the “rules” would have done so without leaving an out. There are a whole bunch of “rules” in the one faith for which there is no out, despite the fact that on more than a few occasions, an out would seem to be rather useful, at least from a perspective of even a minimal self-interest. Your way leaves more than a few outs, what with the old phrase that you all have given up as it turned out to not sound all that appealing (“situational ethics”). Never otherwise said that we don’t need the police. The point was, and here Bertrand Russell also agrees, but point was and is, that both Betrand and Richard can’t offer any principled objection to murder. The best they can say is that we’ve made some pact to not murder and punish offenders, as it’s in your and my interest to do so. Problem is, going back to situational ethics, it may not always be in your and my self-interest to not murder. I would rather you believe that Deity has told you to not murder than to have it so that on day you might see relative advantage in my murder and decide to do so. The one way is much safer for the both of us. Even if you wish to call it delusion.

  • An Ceide

    Why does it have to be taught at all to kids who can operate i-phones, x-box’s and all other modern must have’s, Its hardly like putting on a condom will cause a stumbling block for them?

    The education system needs a new generation of 30 to 40 year olds to come in and do a 1 hour makeover for it to move with the times.

  • Golden Aviator

    Does this make you more wary of those who don’t have a religious faith?

  • Seymour Major

    I have wider concerns too about the GAA’s rules but that does not justify barring the sport from the schools. There are people out there who love the sport and nothing more.

  • Republic of Connaught

    smellybigox,

    The only “separatists” in Ireland are the small minority of Unionists. 85 per cent of the people across the 32 counties of Ireland want one independent country and always did.