Wednesday, October 18, 2006

On secularism

Matt Murrell:
"Segregated schooling, on whatever lines, will ultimately prove divisive and bad for social cohesion. Educating children from different backgrounds together is the best way to create the sense of an inclusive, united society which the government seems to desperately desire. They also breach the right to freedom of religion, with the government colluding in the imposition of beliefs onto children not yet old enough to make rational choices about their life. While parental (and community pressure) in religious matters will always exist, it’s another matter altogether when the state actively encourages it."
Polly Toynbee:
"Meanwhile, segregation gets worse, with a third of schools now religious. The Young Foundation's study, The New East End, warns that in Tower Hamlets white parents have taken over four church secondary schools, making them virtually all white, so neighbouring secular schools have become 90% Bangladeshi. Church schools aid segregation: the Institute for Research in Integrated Strategies finds that the number of children taking free school meals at C of E and Catholic schools is lower than the average in an area. That means nearby schools take more, magnifying the difference. Selection is the secret "ethos" of church schools."
Ken Baker, former Tory education secretary:
"The Conservative former education secretary told the House of Lords he saw some faith schools as "divisive", saying: "I just think it's wrong to divide children by religion at the ages of five and 11.""
Some? All faith schools are divisive by definition; they divide the children of those who believe from those who do not.

If people want schools like this, they should pay for them themselves. The state has no business funding religious segregation.

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