Sunday Times Editorial on Education 26/01/14

STETwo weeks ago we made the point that there is a terrible lack of awareness that the current educational provision is deeply flawed and unconstitutional:

Faith teaching should not be a matter for schools.

DI is now going to reply to this editorial line by line and demonstrate that the writer is simply unaware of the constitutional position in regard to Education. Ireland has in fact fallen into what can only be described as an Apartheid Educational system.

Ruairi Quinn, the education minister, has suggested that primary schools should use some of the time allocated to “religion” to improve pupils’ reading and maths.

First what we are talking about are not Catholic, Church of Ireland or Muslim primary schools which are funded by themselves and therefore have a right to put in place any policy they wish to. No rather we are talking about National Schools which by definition are funded by the state and must be open to all. The nature and shape of a National School is fully explained in this link:

The object of the National School as its name suggest is to integrate all the children of the locality in the one school. Each religious tradition or none is catered for in the school but not together. Their secular education is together, but their religious education as logic demands has to be separate. Historically it was done within the school, but there is no reason why it can’t be done in or outside the school depending on numbers and local conditions. So the issue of reading and maths getting mixed up with religion does not arise in a constitutionally consistent National School.

His suggestion came in response to a complaint from from principals that they are facing unreasonable expectations in trying to fit 11 subjects into an overloaded schedules while responding to a demand from the Department of Education for increased emphasis on literacy and numeracy.

Now there will always be demands on time, but the debate about religion is totally irrelevant if we follow the law. We are building up a case that will have serious consequences in the future, when we discover that the Catholic Church and the Protestant Churches who are losing the Cathetical war, are resorting to forcing people to come under the undue influence  of their illegal religious influence by forcing parents at a very vulnerable stage of their development to sign over their children to that particular faith. Could it be souperism or pass law education? Henrik Verwoerd all is forgiven.

We have sympathy with the principals’ complaint, so it seems reasonable to consider if at least some of the 30 minutes a day that schools must spend on “religion” could not be more profitably used. Indeed this notional 30 minutes is far exceeded when teachers have to prepare children for the
sacraments of communion and confirmation, with some saying they have to spend up to nine hours a week on what amounts to a brief ceremony and a family day out.

None of this is necessary because put simply it is entirely illegal. No bible no breakfast is ok for a mission station, but if the state pays the bill only an educational system in accordance with the law is the only acceptable way forward. If people say that is what people want that does not make it right. White South Africans wanted Apartheid, it is wrong period.

Not only is it worthwhile examining whether schools are the right place for religious indoctrination, but should highly trained and relatively well paid teachers be expending their time and talents essentially doing the work of the churches?

The writer talks about religious indoctrination which implies undue influence, but does correct their use of language in terms of faith formation later. Obviously if the notion of National Education is understood this contradiction is addressed. Put simply this is not the function of National School but quite appropriate in a school like Willowpark which is Catholic funded and managed.

Indeed there appears to be some disquiet among teachers on this point, perhaps reflected in the reaction of Brendan McCabe, the president of the Irish Primary of the Irish Primary Principals Network, to the minister’s remarks. “I think he has has opened a debate which needs to be had, Mr. McCabe said.

No what is needed is not a debate about that, but about how to break the illegal takeover of our National Schools by Churches, and the failure of the Government to implement the law.

Unfortunately, the lr1sh National Teaching Organisation, which should be at the forefront  of such a debate, does not seem ready to participate. Sheila Nunan,’its general secretary dismissed the minister’s as “a red herring to deflect attention from the indefensible increases to class sizes in small schools.”

The editorial writer, and the INTO are both involved in red herrings, it is not about class sizes, reading and writing but National Education.

Even it they were why not discuss them anyway?

Because the relevant issue here and it applies to Secondary Schools as well are not those issues at all.

The teaching of religion, or more accurately the formation of faith, should not be a matter for schools. Churches should carry out this teaching themselves, using their own personnel and premises. Given their shortage of manpower, churches are, of course, only too happy to allow the state
to do the work for them.

It is not that these are not issues for schools but rather how they should be addressed in the school and by whom. The school is a non sectarian place open to all and no religious test can be applied to any pupil as a means to discriminate. The State will not endow ANY religion.

As Ireland be becomes increasingly secular, however, more consideration is likely to focus on whether taxpayers’ money should be used to subsidise organised religion in this way.

There are two contradictory trends each heading in opposite directions, the minority one is secular, the other is remythologisation and folk religion. It is often named as Spiritual over Religious, but its non rational and emotive forms transcend the dry denatured forms of secularism and Atheism.

For now, religious institutions must fulfill the promises they have made to divest themselves of primary schools in areas where the community wants a non-denominational alternative.

This is the false dilemma and apparent concession of those that have taken over the National Schools of Ireland and have the cheek to suggest that these schools are their property and they are going to gracefully give up what is not theirs in the first place. You have a Minister who is instead of applying the Constitution and having these  schools as National Schools, is seeing the Churches as giving him a few crumbs from his table and thanking them for it. Get a life and take what is ours back and free the children of Ireland from such sectarianism dressed up as grace.

The minister says while about 24 such communities have been identified, no religious order has given up its patronage of any school.

Why would they when the Minister thinks they are theirs and they think they are theirs?


There are nets set out to catch you before you are born….JJ

3 Responses

  1. I felt uneasy watching Claire Byrne Live last night when Bressni spoke about mental health/wellbeing. There is too much not being said about the influence behind the well thought out changes that are being pushed onto the educational system. Bressni said a lot is being done already, “up and down the country” to deal with depression, anxiety etc., however, he added that “it’s about time our education did more at a strategic level” for instance “Meditation, relaxation and even yoga should be part of the school day.” This, supposedly, will take care of the stress of coping with exams. I know for a fact that they don’t, in fact, they may have a counteractive effect.

    There is no structure in meditation to aid memory unless you incorporate hypnotic programming. It does not include the use of critical thinking. It would be far better to incorporate a visual type of exercise to aid memory and, it goes without saying, to study sufficiently for the exams. Helpful strategies do reduce anxiety, however, I believe that opening the educational door to allow guru type influence is NOT beneficial.

    The “popularity” of mindfulness is not a reason to incorporate it into our educational system. It’s true that children feel pressure to do well in exams, however, I would have thought that schools are not the place to deal with mental issues to the extent that Bressni believes they should and I agree with the teachers who said it is asking too much of them to incorporate yoga, relaxation and meditation into the school curriculum. Down through the years while attending the Tony Quinn Centre I was aware of the cult’s efforts to infiltrate hospitals, including psychiatric hospitals, schools and the work place to increase the numbers availing of the Tony Quinn version of yoga, relaxation/hypnosis and Ki-massage.

    I am highly suspicious of anyone promoting mindless ‘mindfulness’, an eastern cultic mind-set, the attempt to push it on our children to replace the moral and ethical guidance of Christianity etc., taking them off their knees to possibly ‘guiding’ them to lie at the feet of gurus? I’m sure Christine Chandler would have a lot to say about this. It is worth studying the impact this type of influence has had in American schools and how teachers are now desperately trying to undo the mindless mind control that hinders critical intelligence. Furthermore, we cannot ignore the damaging role technology has played in influencing children and how this also interferes with intelligent critical development and how it adds to the level of anxiety in general.

    Since Bressni is driven to make such a big impact on the children of this country we need to be very careful to avoid a similar situation occurring in Ireland that did happen in the educational system in America. The level of education went to an all-time low and , presently, teachers are desperately trying to undo the damage caused by the meditation/relaxation, yoga and technological influences that have interfered with rather than aided mental agility.

    I did far better in exams before I started practicing yoga and meditation, in fact, combining meditation and ‘relaxation’ made passing exams more difficult and the subtle enforcement of hypnotic type practices was detrimental to coping with further education!


  2. well Mike Garde has put his cards on table ….. moved to as it has no relevance to this thread. DI moderation


  3. DI: very nicely written commentary on this article. Why are these issues not debated more widely? At the end of the day parents want their children to have the best education and this should be a separate issue from religion but there is a real lack of choice of schools which have their prorities clear.


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