AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT
SCHOOLS - D.O.G.S.
PRESS RELEASE 168#.
6 September 2006
OPUS DEI RUTH KELLY PROTECTING
FAITH (CHURCH) SCHOOLS
IN HER NEW UNITED KINGDOM MINISTRY
Opus Dei supporter Ruth Kelly, has recently been placed by Blair into a Ministry in the United Kingdom in which she can again look after faith (church) schools and in particular her Roman Catholic educational institutions.
Having lost her key education Ministry portfolio, Ruth Kelly has now been placed into the "Communities and Local Government Ministry".
Within this portfolio she launched on August 24 2006 the "Commission on Integration and Cohesion." In doing so, she has been active early in her new portfolio to look after faith (church) schools. When she released the terms of reference for the Commission it was clear that "faith " schools, including Roman Catholic schools would escape any scrutiny with respect to integration and cohesion.
Not surprisingly, she has been condemned by groups as diverse as the National Secular Society and an Anglican Church newspaper in the United Kingdom. It is absolutely absurd to ignore the role of schools in relation to integration or cohesion of people from diverse racial , religious and class background in any society.
Citizens in the United Kingdom can learn from the experience of Australia and the United States. In these countries, the public education system and its schools were set up first and foremost for a political purpose. "Out of many, one" ( USA) . In the words of the framer of the Australian Constitution, Inglis Clark, to prevent "States within States". Australia confronted the current UK problems in the 1870s and 1880s and fought for, and established our public education systems.
Unfortunately since the 1960s and the granting of State Aid, Australia is slipping back into Kelly country. Worse still, Australia currently lacks any rebels from within any Political Party similar to the UK Labor Party rebels fighting the brave new world of Kelly/ Blairite educational privatisation schemes.
Kelly's position was also too much for the UK Secularists. The Vice President of the National Secular Society commented as follows:
"The refusal by the government to allow its new Commission to even consider the faith schools are part of the problem with integration is shere madness. It seems clear to almost everyone except the vested religious interests, that separating children on the basis of their parent's religion is divisive in the extreme. Instead of breaking down barriers, as the government says it wants, the continued expansion of single faith schools will exacerbate the problem. "
" The problem now seems to be that because Christians have so many schools, there is no fair way to deny them to other faiths. The answer is to begin dismantling the whole system of religion schools. Every opinion poll that has been taken recently shows a massive opposition to the principle of religious segregation in schools. The Government's policy of expansion is short-sighted and dangerous. It must fact up to this fact."
Kelly's ostrich approach to the problem of integration and cohesion was even too much for The Church of England newspaper on Sunday 3rd September 2006. Their editorial is headed: "Don"t mention religion,...."
The editor wrote further:
"The glaring, obvious element not to be considered is that of religious schools, so that Mrs Kelly is to leave out the main source of apartheid and block to integration of young people across ethnic divides- and this in the face of the Cantle Report on the riots in our Northern cities which specifically named separate schooling as a primary cause of mutual alienation. Religion, Mrs Kelly, must be brought into your inquiries, or else your commission is a dead-duck already, or yet another 'initiative' which can produce no realistic outcome. Why is religious schools 'off limits' - could it be a vote loser in too many constituencies?
The most interesting and important ....(point) in this whole crisis of multi-culturalism' is ...that communities are living 'parallel lives' and need to be integrated at school into British culture, literature and history, if the tide towards mutual diversity and alienation is to be stopped."
D.O.G.S. has warned the Australian community about the folly of State Aid to private church schools and the dangers of educational apartheid on the basis of class, creed and colour. The funding bonanza which is now running into at least billions annually, has led to the "parallel lives" of children in a divided Australia. For the hard statistical facts D.O.G.S. refers you to our Statistics page No. 4 "Dividing Australia".
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