Australian public schools have been offering “special religious instruction” (SRI) which is something of a joke when you realize how bad these classes are. In theory, it’s great because kids can learn about the beliefs of all different faiths. But in many schools, the religious education is primarily Christian and the education veers into heavy indoctrination. Volunteers — and they’re always Christian, it seems — often use the time with students to make converts instead of merely educating them about what they believe.
In an effort to expose the program for what it is, groups like Fairness In Religions In School (FIRIS) put up a billboard featuring Jesus petting a dinosaur as a way to inform parents about the Creationist views their kids were being taught:
At one point, Lara Wood of FIRIS uploaded the teacher’s edition of one of the SRI books for 4-6-year-olds so everyone could see how clearly it crossed the line into indoctrination. I don’t care if you’re only 4; there’s no educational value in this worksheet.
No matter how you sliced it, the evidence was clear that kids weren’t learning about religion. They were being brainwashing into the Christian faith.
Well, it looks like the indoctrination will finally come to an end.
Victorian schools will scrap special religious instruction from class time, with changes to the state’s curriculum throwing the future of the controversial program in doubt.
The Andrews government has ordered that the weekly 30 minute program move to lunchtime and before and after school in 2016 to make way for new content on world histories, cultures, faiths and ethics.
The state government said students were missing out on essential learning while SRI took place.
The decision to axe SRI from the curriculum has been met with fierce opposition by chaplaincy organisation Access Ministries, the main provider of religious instruction.
Lara Wood, a spokeswoman for Fairness in Religions in School, a group that has spent the past four years campaigning against SRI, claimed victory. “We won, we got what we wanted.”
Unbelievable! And just to reiterate, these SRI classes will still be offered, just not during the school day. If parents want their kids to attend, they’ll have that option. It’ll just take place outside of real learning time.
FIRIS just released this statement:
This is an historic moment not only for Victoria, but for the country. A moment when the education of our children and the voices of parents took precedent to the wishes of outside religious groups to use our schools as mission fields. We hope that what has been achieved in Victoria will serve as encouragement and motivation for NSW and other states. We hope these states can learn from the journey taken in Victoria over the last four years and continue to learn from us, as we implement programs that will serve to strengthen and ensure a more inclusive and united society.
Congratulations to them for achieving what they’ve been working toward for so long and giving students the best opportunity to use school time wisely instead of wasting it on religious mythology. There’s still plenty of room in the curriculum for kids to learn about the major world religions, but at least they won’t be taught any of them are worth believing in.
(Thanks to Julia for the link. Large portions of this article were posted earlier.)