Monday, August 07, 2006

Coming to a school near you

From the Times of London we learn that British schools will no longer be required to teach children the difference between right and wrong under plans to revise the core aims of the National Curriculum.

The revised core aims set out by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) also delete the requirements to promote leadership skills and to teach children about Britain’s cultural heritage.


The present guidelines state: “The school curriculum should pass on enduring values and develop principles for distinguishing between right and wrong.”

The QCA proposal simply says that pupils should “have secure values and beliefs,” reflecting a world of relative rather than absolute values. A spokeswoman for the National Union of Teachers said: “Teachers always resented being told that one of the aims of the school was to teach the difference between right and wrong.”

The requirement to teach Britain’s “cultural heritage” will also be removed. The present version states: “The school curriculum should contribute to the development of pupils’ sense of identity through knowledge and understanding of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural heritages of Britain’s diverse society.”

The QCA proposal says that individuals should be helped to “understand different cultures and traditions and have a strong sense of their own place in the world”. By the world, the QCA means primarily the European Union as reflected in a proposal requiring children to learn more about the benefits of the European Union. In an effort to improve its image and standing in Britain, the Minister for Europe has expressed concern that “children were indifferent to the EU because they were not taught about benefits such as free trade and cheap travel.”

Culture and tradition: out. Cheap travel: in.

The aim to develop leadership in students has also been removed. One of the present aims is to give pupils “the opportunity to become creative, innovative, enterprising and capable of leadership”. The QCA proposes only to ensure that pupils “are enterprising”. Rather than develop leadership skills, the pupils should be enterprising.

The Times published a long list of comments from readers. Here are a few of the best.

This is moral relativism in its most extreme. However, we are becoming an increasingly Balkanised nation, without a shared identity or even a viable consensus.

It is the school's job. It is the parent's job. It is the church's job. It is law enforcement's job. It is the job of every adult who wants to see his or her children become adults with a solid foundation of knowing what's right and wrong. The thought of the future of this planet in the hands of people guided by whatever feels good, situation ethics and moral relativism is terrifying.

Cato said it all: "Leges sine moribus vanae". Laws without moral underpinnings are in vain. No society can continue to exist without the foundation of a shared sense of what is right and wrong. It is therefore a duty to teach what is good and what is bad, in the home and in the schools as well as to reflect them in the laws by which we assent to be governed.

Anarchy is the breakdown of a society when commonly agreed laws and an understanding of what is acceptable are not enforced. History has taught us that once this process starts it will only be reversed once the situation has become so chaotic that there is no alternative but to introduce draconian measures. Failing to teach our children right from wrong will hasten the process.

Is this England’s problem, perhaps coming soon to schools in America? Or is it already here in the US? Here are comments from America.

I'm one of those silly Americans who have a love affair with all things English. The history, literature, law, and manners of the most civilized country in the world have been the foundations of all free and civilized nations. I wish you knew how heartbreaking it is to watch while the English give their magnificent heritage away with both hands. This latest travesty is just another "good intention" paving the road to the hell of multicultural anarchy. I've watched while American schools give in to the increasingly ridiculous demands of the relativists in the name of "diversity" and "cultural respect". It's been a disaster. Please don't do this. Take your beautiful country back before it's lost forever.

I have watched the US education systems deteriorate to an unbelievably low level of student incompetence. We have high school graduates who can't do basic math and are committed non-readers, who absorbed only revisionist history texts, have the attention spans of gnats, and no judgment or sense. With parents casting aside the task of teaching social responsibility and moral judgment, students may be exposed to it only in school. Your schools could easily become as educationally poverty-ridden as ours.

I guess Pink Floyd is consulting on the new standards for British education. "We don't need no eduation..." You wonder why violent crime is so high in the UK? Reap and sow, laddies. Whoever in the world would hire such nutballs to run the educational establishment? Its decline into bad farce is so clear, and will accelerate. Adios Britain. Adios America??

My children have finished school, thank heavens, but I still worry about granddaughter Christy. What about your kids and their kids? Do you care if our schools reinforce America’s cultural heritage and values? Should schools teach the difference between right and wrong, that democracy is right while Communism is wrong? Are leadership skills worth cultivating? Parents must become involved in the schools and take the initiative to find out what their children are being taught.

5 Comments:

Blogger fetching jen said...

Do you feel as though the sane people around you are quietly disappearing while the raging state-worker nuts have managed to take over?

IS this what heppens when the government becomes everyone's parent?

4:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like our schools doesn't it? And it should be the parents who promote those CORE values - and the teachers can assist that promotion.

Helen

8:10 PM  
Anonymous m said...

Today was our first day back to school and our district met together for breakfast ... this included all teachers, assistants, administrators, maintenance staff, resource officers, secretarial staff, and all school board members. The morning began with a prayer for all our children, teachers, schools, families, and communities to work together to nuture our students and provide the best education possible for all. I can't think of a better way to start the school year.
On the elementary level we teach children to make "good" choices ... from following directions, to making friends, following school and classrom rules, or choosing a workshop activity. We work closely with parents to make sure home/school relations are in the best interest of the child. At times, this includes teaching parenting skills or finding community resources to help families outside of school. Teachers may be the only role models for some students ... and we try our best.
Multi-cultural education is indeed important for all our students and is woven through the curriculum throughout the school year. However, it does not take away from teaching our state history and culture or our American heritage.
There is a schoolwide program called "Character Traits" where the students discuss, write, and model specific traits including

Responsibility
Being accountable in word and deed. Having a sense of duty to fulfill tasks with reliability, dependability and commitment.

Perseverance
Pursuing worthy objectives with determination and patience while exhibiting fortitude when confronted with failure.

Caring
Showing understanding of others by treating them with kindness, compassion, generosity and a forgiving spirit.

Self-discipline
Demonstrating hard work controlling your emotions, words, actions, impulses and desires. Giving your best in all situations.

Citizenship
Being law abiding and involved in service to school, community and country.

Honesty
Telling the truth, admitting wrongdoing. Being trustworthy and acting with integrity.

Courage
Doing the right thing in face of difficulty and following your conscience instead of the crowd.

Fairness
Practicing justice, equity and equality. Cooperating with one another. Recognizing the uniqueness and value of each individual within our diverse society.

Respect
Showing high regard for an authority, other people, self and country. Treating others as you would want to be treated. Understanding that all people have value as human beings.

Integrity
A firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values. Being honest, trustworthy and incorruptible.

Patriotism
A love for and loyalty to one's country.

....Everyday we say the Pledge to the Flag and have a moment of silent prayer ......

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill,
Haven't posted in here in awhile, but gotta say, aren't you a bit embarassed at what passes for discussion in here? You have some interesting posts, but the comments are all from the "PV Wives' Bill Lama Cheerleaders". Too funny.

2:44 PM  
Blogger Bill Lama said...

Anony:
And your point was?

Evidently you missed the detailed comments by "m" directly above yours.

If you have something to say about my post, go ahead and say it.

Be a man!

2:24 PM  

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