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Book review: What Are They Teaching The Children?

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Ian Fry, writing for Evangelicals Now, reviews Wilberforce Publications' 'What Are They Teaching The Children?', a book which explores the way secular values have influenced the education system in Britain.

He says: "A number of the authors reveal the inherent contradictions in the 2010 Equalities Act where religion and belief is recognised as a 'protected characteristic' alongside sexual orientation. Yet the reality is that sexual orientation trumps every other group."

This article first appeared in the May 2017 Edition of Evangelicals Now and is reproduced here with permission.
 

Schools for Scandal

'The future of our nation is at stake and the time for action is NOW.' These words of the veteran campaigner Baroness Cox constitute the final sentence in this important book jointly published by Voice for Justice (VfJ) and Christian Concern.

It has 12 chapters focussed on contemporary UK schooling. A wide range of important topics such as British Values, Sex and Relationships Education, the rights of parents vs. the growing power of the state and the teaching of Intelligent Design are covered. The specialist knowledge of the various authors, coupled with considerable experience, make this pretty compelling reading. The analysis is incisive and well researched and casts light on the key areas dealt with.

Space precludes too much detail, but hopefully four examples will whet the appetite to read this important book.
 

Ignoring the law

Careful analysis of key Acts – 1948 UN Declaration of Human Rights, the 1998 Human Rights Act and the 2010 Equalities Act – shows that what is happening in schools actually flouts the law of the land.
 

Homophobic bullying

Various writers show that bullying has been used as a Trojan horse to allow positive teaching about homosexuality in schools. The very term 'bullying' has been reinterpreted in such a way that merely to oppose homosexuality makes a child guilty of bullying. Yet a 2008 statistical analysis of school bullying found that 52% of bullying was related to issues such as 'disability, low socio-economic status, ethnicity', with 7% of bullying related to issues of sexuality. The same study found that in the case of bullying amongst Year 9 boys, 94% related to heterosexual pupils and 6% to LGB pupils. Whilst any bullying is dreadful and no child should have to endure it, these statistics reveal that the often exclusive focus on homophobic bullying is disproportionate.
 

Equality

A number of the authors reveal the inherent contradictions in the 2010 Equalities Act where religion and belief is recognised as a 'protected characteristic' alongside sexual orientation. Yet the reality is that sexual orientation trumps every other group.


British Values

In one of the most illuminating chapters, the writer analyses British Values. Brought in by the David Cameron's government these values are not actually all that British. That then leads to the question: 'Why choose these particular values and not others?' Actually they represent what the politicians of the time thought mattered. They act more as a slogan and slogans don't respond well to reasoned discussion.
 

A second edition?

Prof. James Tooley distinguishes between education (which is both a family and a community responsibility) and schooling (which is something parents 'employ' others to assist them with). 'Schools do not replace parents, but complement them.' If Tooley's distinction was followed, at a stroke schools would be able to focus on core disciplines while being set free from the plethora of requirements which often amount to social engineering.

I would love to see this book reissued in a shorter format to try and spread its important message. You don't have to agree with every detail to see just how important a clarion call it is to the church and to society.

What Are They Teaching The Children is available to purchase on Amazon, starting at £5.99 for Kindle and £12 for a paperback
 

Related Links:
Book review: What Are They Teaching The Children? (Association of Christian Teachers)
Book review: Jephthah's Children (Family Education Trust)
Interview with What Are They Teaching The Children? editor and author
 

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