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Adam Leeson

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Single Faith Schools

Faith schools breed sectarian societies. These are not healthy for integration, and breed lack of knowledge between cultures that are living within the same society. Lack of knowledge/understanding can produce fear, hate, intolerance, many things. Should we let faith schools (and by this I mean ALL faith schools; Catholic, Muslim, Protestant, ALL) create boundaries between people? Should we sacrifice integration for political correctness? If I have children, I want them to go to school with children of ALL backgrounds.
There will always be groups within society where people interact with each other more than others (e.g. People into certain types of music, people of a particular faith, people who speak the same language, etc etc). But isn't this something to minimise? Especially when it involves cultures? Isn't integration important for understanding? And isn't understanding important for loving and knowing the people around you?
What do you think?

Obviously I have quite a negative outlook towards single faith schools. It would be good to hear something positive about them. Its always necessary to hear both sides of an argument.

EDIT: I would like to emphasise that I think multi-faith schools are necessary.


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    Jul 29 2011: Hi Adam
    I understand your concerns. However in a free society the parents have the responsibility for the upbringing of their children. My children were educated in regular school, although my daughter went to music school in her early teens.
    If we have no choice in schools then it leaves the way open for indoctrination by the government of the day.
    There are many things today which would come under the 'political correctness' banner which I believe to be highly corrosive to society. If I had children of school age today, I may well look at alternatives. Many people send their children to faith schools just to be taught plain respect & decency, which has given way to chaos in many places.
    Sure there will be bad faith schools as well as bad regular schools, but we musn't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
    The more choice the better.

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      Jul 29 2011: Hi Peter, its great to hear a differing opinion I can't really disagree with. However, do you not think that there is an issue of segregation and lack of understanding between groups that is perpetuated by these sorts of establishments? As was pointed out in another post, society isn't filled with people who share the same ideas; isn't it a good idea to make our schools the same? Surely school is about preparing people for the real world; a social education as much as an academic one.
      Obviously, if faith schools were done away with all schools would have to be much more prepared in certain respects, and would possibly need different specialists in each school. And I suppose there could be some tensions in an environment where children in the same school were not included in the same activities. Although, having said this, I have some friends who went to a school where there was a large percentage of children belonging to faiths of a middle-eastern origin, and they now have a far greater understanding of different faiths and cultures, and I believe they are a lot more open because of it.
      The success of this, however, can often be dependant on the parents.. how the ideas are addressed at home can have a much larger impact than anything else. But then again, if this was applied wouldn't any sort of intolerance diminish over the generations? Couldn't these things have a massive impact on our future societies?

      Also, I don't think its creating choice; I think its creating exclusivity.
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        Jul 30 2011: Hi Adam

        I suppose for me it comes down to a mistrust of the state. If we have free choice in education then the odds are that the majority will make an ok choice. If we insist on everyone going through the same gate then we have to trust the gatekeeper. I don't. At the moment they can't even balance a budget, which is something we ordinary Joe's manage fine for the most part. They tell us lies & are naive enough to think that we believe them.

        Sure some schools may be used to foster sectarianism, some elitism etc. the fact is though that human's are individuals & should be treated as such. That is our strength. Check out the countries that have lost that, would you really rather have old style communist china ?

        Also consider that we all see things in the light of our own experience. Nothing is perfect, but it probably isn't as imperfect as we think it is.

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          Jul 30 2011: I would say, however, that us ordinary Joe's don't quite experience the same level responsibility that a government has to juggle.

          And no, choices in education are often only for those who can afford them. Where is the equality in that? Wealth + Education = an unjust, perpetual cycle (as mentioned in a previous post).

          And I think people can be individuals whilst experiencing the same things. I think our actual strength is our ability to be individuals in environments that a) sometimes make it difficult, and b) we all experience but see differently, and understand in different ways. Getting rid of these schools would not diminish any kind of personal individualism, it would just make this more diverse and equal for everyone.

          And no, I don't think what we have now is that bad, and I'm happy with the person that my education has made. But society evolves, and I think this would be a change for the better.
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        Aug 1 2011: Hi Adam

        Why should we 'get rid' of schools because some people don't like them ? I don't like fox hunting, but was very much against the attempts to ban them. Why ? Mostly because if we let our authorities go down this route then they will eventually get around to banning motorbikes, & that would affect me.
        We need to decide whether we want freedom or not. If we do then some people will do things we don't like. the pay-off is that we get to do what we like.
        I have friends whose children were educated at church. He is a painter & decorator, she, a full time mum who worked for free in the school. (Not wealthy). Their kids blossomed & had no trouble integrating into a regular university. Another couple home-schooled their 5 kids, & they are working away in the regular world no problem. Do you really want to tell these folks that they cannot do this ?
        On the wealth thing. Ideally folks should get as much education as they can handle academically. The pressure should be to lift folks up to the higher standard, not ban the higher standard so that everyone is the same. Wealthy folk can afford that bit better in everything, cars, houses, holidays, & yes education. Wealthy people are wealthy by & large, because they worked for it. Their incentive was to become wealthy, & in doing so no doubt created jobs for other people. That's capitalism, & it works. Let's strive to make more people wealthy & give greater freedom, not condemn our kids to the lowest common denominator.

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          Aug 1 2011: Firstly, I think "Why should we 'get rid' of schools because some people don't like them?" is an extreme over-simplification. And how does banning fox hunting lead to banning motorbikes? People want fox hunting banned because it is cruel. You seem a little paranoid about 'the man' to be quite honest. Motorbikes and fox hunting are also two VERY different subjects, how can you possibly lump them into the same boat? Many people would be against banning motorbikes for totally rational reasons, and so I'm afraid I find these arguments null and void.

          And how are establishments that are totally exclusive to certain types of people allowing freedom?

          And no, I don't want to tell them they cannot do this; I want to tell these schools that they have to open their doors to anyone, of any faith. And home-schooling can be great - I have some friends who have been home schooled, and they are beautiful people.

          Yes, of course the focus should be to get everyone to the same high standards, but when the private institutions take all the best teachers because they can afford to pay them higher salaries, the 'lower end' will never get any where near the same level of education (and therefore continues the perpetual cycle). Schools that require students to pass an entry exam - I am not against them. If someone is gifted then they should be pushed. But there are not, and will never be, enough scholarships for anyone to be able to say that poorer people have equal opportunities.
          And please don't ignore my previous point; wealthy people can afford better education, and can therefore get better qualifications, and therefore get higher paid jobs, and therefore can send their kids to get a better education, etc etc. This is absolutely CRUCIAL. It perpetuates the class system and inequality. Capitalism, surely, isn't based on keeping the lower classes where they are? All people must have equal opportunities to make whatever they want out of themselves. AND; people of all classes work hard.
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        Aug 2 2011: Hi Adam

        On the motorbike thing; it is merely an illustration. Once we accept the nanny state then ALL our freedoms come up for grabs. Fishing, Rock Climbing, Target Rifles, Knitting. You name it, there will be some who would like to ban it. Fox hunting is a walk in the park in comparison to our slaughter houses.

        Anyone can set up an exclusive school; think about it...

        I agree that it is a downside to capitalism that wealth can buy a better education. That's life. My wife & I had to scrimp & save to send our daughter to music school. She is now a professional musician, but it held us down financially for years. It was well worth it though, that's what parents are for.

        Personally I am for capitalism, as historically it is the best system; that doesn't mean we shouldn't push for the necessary funds to be put into the regular schools though. Let's just be grateful that there are funds available, & not be too hard on the system that makes that possible.

        Don't lose site of the fact that many of the world's most successful people were not exactly ace material at school. Life is to a large extent what we make it.

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          Aug 3 2011: To be honest I don't think the illustration is a useful one. I think fox hunting is largely considered cruel because it is a sport, and I think many people in western society today feel a certain amount of respect/empathy for life and animals. If the population of any type of animal grows too large culling is indeed necessary, but it should not be turned into a cruel sport. The slaughter houses too should execute animals in the quickest, most painless way as well.
          Also, surely the fox hunting ban was due to the efforts of the protesters, not the 'authorities'? I doubt the authorities would care too much one way or the other.

          How do you mean anyone could set up an exclusive school? Sorry, I know nothing about this.

          I think 'that's life' is a little too defeatist for my liking. Its also very easy to say 'that's life' when you're between lower-middle class & upper class.
          I do think that completely getting rid of private schools is a) not really an option and b) probably not the best thing to do, but there should be efforts to give all classes equal opportunities.
          And yes, in the UK I don't think anything but a capitalist system would work for quite some time; however, I have heard of socialist systems working in other countries.

          On the point of private schools, I would like to see a system like that of the Student Loans - different income brackets having to pay different amounts, or something to that effect. I'm sure it would still be expensive, but for me that would be a step in the right direction. And more scholarships!

          Funding and more funding for schools that need it. Better teachers, better ideas, much work has to be done in our education system; yes, we must be grateful for what we have, but it is far from satisfactory.

          Yes, many of the world's most successful people were not great at school, but the majority of us need a good education to get to where we want to be.
          And think about all of the potentially great people that don't get the chance to continue.
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          Aug 9 2011: Hi Pete,
          Just wanted to say that these riots throughout England show to me the necessity for a decent education for all, and how bad things happen when you neglect the lower classes..
          Don't you think so?
          The very large majority of these riots are mindless violence - what else can you blame (as the source) but a lack of education over the generations? These riots make it apparent that we have a lot of bored and poorly educated young people, whose parents lack discipline (who are often the ones who have little value for education because their own education was poor). If they had been trained to think, maybe things would be different.
          In this sense, in the sense that good education is for the rich and the poor are neglected, we can blame our under-modified capitalist system.
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        Aug 9 2011: Hi Adam

        Yes it sure is a mess. I think it's a long shot to blame faith schools, or even regular schools. We are losing site of the wrong & right in society. We have degraded the family unit, lots of kids have never met their dad. There is no discipline in the home, school, or even the penal system. Last, but not least, there is no fear of God. We are told we are modified monkeys. If it wasn't for my faith I would be tempted to go out & get a new telly along with the rest.

        You can educate people all you like, but if you take away dignity & ultimate hope. All that is left is to eat & drink because tomorrow we die !

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          Aug 9 2011: I am far from saying that it is the fault of faith schools, but I do believe that if the previous generations of lower class citizens had had access to a better education, and had not been neglected by their government, this might have been a lot less severe. Do you not understand what I am trying to say? If people are educated they have educated opinions, their brains are better trained to think, and their decisions are generally more intelligent ones. When people are educated they are more likely to think "is this right? Is this wrong? Should I be doing this? Should my child be doing this? Is it fair if I do this to another person?"

          I am talking about a long process;
          people not getting a good education because they are poorer > because their education wasn't great their minds weren't challenged and pushed and improved > they don't really see the need for or importance of education because of this, and don't develop as many ideas about cause and effect, and therefore good, bad and discipline > they don't encourage their kids to learn because of this view they have > and the cycle continues in a downward spiral through the generations (albeit a slow process).
          Kids are our future, schools are where they learn; how could this issue not be about a neglected lower class and their education? These riots are mindless violence - not strategical violent protest. And they do not have the insight to know that they are ultimately making things worse for themselves, for their countries economy and their own home towns.

          And I think it is very sad that you yourself would not be strong enough, nor would have developed your own sense of right or wrong enough, to not go out and find a telly without having your concept of 'God' lodged in your mind. Beliefs, empathy and principles are all learnt things - I have learnt to hold many beliefs, and I can revise them when necessary. And that's another thing I think is of great important; being dynamic.

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