Education Policy meeting; your ideas.

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Ciaran
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Education Policy meeting; your ideas.

Post by Ciaran » Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:29 am

On Saturday 28th of November Atheist Ireland will hold an extraordinary general meeting to discuss & vote on our education policy. Firstly the meeting will briefly establish where Ireland is now as regards religion in education. Then it will focus on what we would specifically like to see replacing religiouly run schools.

This is a major policy area so I would greatly appreciatle you posting here any specific ideas or areas you would like to see discussed at the meeting. Feardorcha is compiling the material so if you would prefer you can get in touch with him by PM.

[Edit, to add venue details]

Just a quick reminder about the meeting:

Holiday Inn, Pearse Street, Dublin
Tomorrow (the 28th) at 2pm
“As I never tire of saying, heat is not the antithesis of light but rather the source of it.” Christopher Hitchens
Marcus
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Re: Education Policy meeting; you're ideas.

Post by Marcus » Wed Nov 11, 2009 11:09 am

Is it possible to know if there is any current policy or set of policies regarding religion in education that we can refer to and make headway as an improvement exercise?

If not, do you have a basic framework you want to introduce and we can add our thoughts that way?
nozzferrahhtoo
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Re: Education Policy meeting; you're ideas.

Post by nozzferrahhtoo » Wed Nov 11, 2009 2:10 pm

This is an area I am interested in but I am in France that weekend. Is it possible the meeting can be videoed or really specific notes taken for those of us not attending?

There is a lot of us who agree with the policies in general, but honestly have no idea just what religious involvement in schools actually entails. How is affected, how, to what degree, in what areas etc etc etc. I am wholly unable to articulate exactly what areas we are in contention with and how we want them to be changed.

On other threads a few users linked to publicly available documents about the primary school curriculum and I read them closely and repeatedly myself and found them vague on the subject at best. I feel no wiser.

If the meeting can not be minuted or recorded in that way, maybe I can contact and discuss in depth with our experts on the subject via email etc etc and piece together an informative and highly detailed blog piece on the subject for the blog??

Nozz

PS Maybe the first order of education business should be on teaching children the different between your and you're hehehehehe. Sorry could not resist :)
Ygern
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Re: Education Policy meeting; your ideas.

Post by Ygern » Wed Nov 11, 2009 2:23 pm

Title fixed for our Lexical Inspector :)
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Ciaran
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Re: Education Policy meeting; your ideas.

Post by Ciaran » Wed Nov 11, 2009 6:26 pm

Dagnabbit. Both of you. I hate making that mistake.

Anyway, we will video the event in detail and will have two cameras and good mics. At the moment we are gathering materials and there and we'll post a synopsis once we have most of it together.

As for a current policy, this is our first education policy to the best of my knowledge and I'm asking for ideas here for the reason that it needs to be formed by the organisation. I'll look into a framework and get back to you next week when I'm back in the country.
“As I never tire of saying, heat is not the antithesis of light but rather the source of it.” Christopher Hitchens
lostexpectation
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Re: Education Policy meeting; your ideas.

Post by lostexpectation » Wed Nov 11, 2009 6:57 pm

the reason it needs to be formed...

thats the question...

my suggestion

secular state schools

but then you'd have others atheist putting forward parent run schools or a new form of private secular schools.

can we/you really come up with one option?
Last edited by lostexpectation on Fri Nov 13, 2009 11:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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marklen
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Re: Education Policy meeting; your ideas.

Post by marklen » Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:00 pm

Some ideas (I'm not sure how viable some of these are, frankly I've got my doubts, but I'm just listing them for discussion at the meeting)...

Find parents willing to go public about their experiences and be named in the press and even interviewed.

Publicly name some of the schools engaging in practices such as mid-day mass (which all teachers attend), requiring baptismal certs., expelling students for not attending religion, etc.

Build up a legal fund. The point of the legal fund would be to either take action under equality legislation (or beyond) or effect change through simply the very public threat of legal action. (I've said this before but I'm very guilty of not doing anything about it myself.)

Find examples of towns, parishes, areas where choice is severely constrained.

Figure out, and summarise, preferably with some examples from public accounts, the actual business/financial model of a Catholic school. Where does money come in, where does it go out. I for one DO NOT believe that the churches are running schools at a loss.

Get some positive examples. By "positive" I mean schools that would appeal to majority of the population as a model of the right way to run a school without excluding either atheists or minority religions. Some examples which include schools with an ethos yet who don't discriminate would really strengthen our argument I think.

Figure out if we should state what we want / the ideal, but would we in fact settle for something less than ideal or at least accept it as a first step? E.g. I'd like if all state funded or partially funded education was secular and all religious instruction took place outside of school but I'd be delighted simply to have equal access to schools, even those with an ethos and/or religious instruction, as long as "no religion" is a genuine option for students.
Beebub
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Re: Education Policy meeting; your ideas.

Post by Beebub » Thu Nov 12, 2009 3:39 pm

marklen wrote:Figure out if we should state what we want / the ideal, but would we in fact settle for something less than ideal or at least accept it as a first step? E.g. I'd like if all state funded or partially funded education was secular and all religious instruction took place outside of school but I'd be delighted simply to have equal access to schools, even those with an ethos and/or religious instruction, as long as "no religion" is a genuine option for students.
I'm with Mark on this one. It's all well and good stating that we want secular schools with no religious attachment, but at the same time we must be realistic.

I'm certain an answer back from politicians, church, religious parents would be 'what about parents who want to have their children educated with religious instruction'? This is a compromise which may be more acheivable in the short term than getting schools to be entirely secular.

Also, if it is possible to get evidence where a batismal cert. was required in order to gain access to a state run school would be great.
anadub25
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Re: Education Policy meeting; your ideas.

Post by anadub25 » Thu Nov 12, 2009 4:36 pm

Isn't Ireland currently receiving criticism for not complying with EU standards ie the state must provide education? If that is the case i think we need more detail on that EU policy and that we should place emphasis on it in our argument for secular state education.
I think we should also emphasise the growing multi-cultural status of the Irish population and how alienating the education system is of those groups.
In practise i think the most we can realistically accomplish (until the EU compels the state to take over funding completely) is a removal of baptism as a precondition for acceptance to schools and a more respectful attitude among teachers towards those who choose to keep their children out of religion class, do not participate in prayers, communion, confirmation etc.
"Religion is comparable to a childhood neurosis."

- Sigmund Freud -
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Re: Education Policy meeting; your ideas.

Post by mkaobrih » Thu Nov 12, 2009 10:36 pm

Well “as a parent” Where are my non religious schools - Nowhere – what a bummer!! – I’ll have to teach my kids about hell and sin and baby Jesus etc - don’t really have a choice as this is a fundamentally catholic country. Run by Catholics for Catholics. I'm being sarcastic :(
The church complains of persecution when it's not allowed to persecute.
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