Tuesday, May 5, 2009

One step forward, two steps back

Not too long ago, I was writing about the new changes that could come about following the inclusion of people with no specific religious denomination in graduation speech, but this sorta makes you want to take your head and ram it at full speed into the nearest wall.

Indeed it seems that Alberta wants to pass a bill that has in one of its side rules that:
"require schools to notify parents in advance of "subject-matter that deals explicitly with religion, sexuality or sexual orientation," [and this..] is buried in a bill that extends human rights to homosexuals. Parents can ask for their child to be excluded from the discussion"

Now first and foremost to give a parent the "right" to exclude their child from certain discussions in a public school environment seems a bit harsh especially when faced with many-a-discussions on biology, geography, history and so on...Frank Bruseker, the head of the Alberta Teachers' Association goes on to suggest alternatives like home schooling or a private school that holds up ones points of view, but of course this is not accessible for everyone.

My two cents on this? People who go to public school should follow the curriculum prescribed, especially when it comes to issues like evolution and sexual education. The students don't agree? Beautiful! They'll ask questions, push the issue and maybe even spur on a healthy debate in class. Parents are "offended" by the propagation of a scientific fact or, let say, safe measures to prevent diseases, well they can move along their ideals to their child once he or she gets home, and hope that the "evil" machine that is the Education system, hasn't "corrupted" their young ones with defiance of unequivocal, bottom line, impossible to argue answers like: God did it or because God says so...

If we start pulling kids out of classrooms when the teacher mentions evolution or any other related subjects, what will their tests be like? What will they compensate it with? This can only lead me to write something like:

Dear teacher, JF needs to be excused from the class anytime the concept of mathematics is mentioned since our church denomination, Post-abacus Pre-calculator of our Lady of Counting on Her Fingers, explicitly demands that his knowledge on that subject stay minimal and shrouded in deep impenetrable mysteries...and then what no maths for JF!?

Silliness aside, the point I am trying to make here is still there: the public classroom is a place of learning and needs to have a certain curricular structure like for instance science in science classes and math in math classes and of course religion in religion classes, and students should all be on equal footing when it comes to being tested on these topics.

Finally the ever full of wonder, Education Minister of Albert, Mr Hancock, pushes the issue with this nice little twist of phrase, that makes it sound so laudable and righteous, it hurts:

"With respect to values, religion and sex education have always been areas of concern for parents, and they've always been areas parents have had the right to be notified about and to exempt their students from,"

Sure it sounds good and as a parent I want to say, right on mr Hancock, let me have a say in my kids education...but the sad truth here is that it's NOT bettering his or her education, it's stunting the learning process, the eduction process of seeing both sides of the coin. But no, we really don't want to create a world with people at it's helm with things like: critical thinking, perspective and a greater understanding of human nature in all its aspects, now would we?

1 comment:

Heather in MTL said...

I think it's ridiculous that they're writing it into a bill in Alberta. However, when I was in school at Mac, parents had the choice to pull their kids from Sex Ed or MRE (Moral & Religious Education). I'd be more worried about giving parents the right to pull their kids from science or english or other classes that are prerequsites for higher education..... because despite a parents attempt to shield their kids from sex or religion, they're eventually going to encounter it later in life