September 25, 2006
Suffer little children
How our schools would be run if James Dobson was Secretary of Education:
Children at taxpayer-funded schools run by the Exclusive Brethren sect are brainwashed and their basic texts are crudely censored, say former teachers.
Several teachers have told The Australian they left Brethren schools in disgust at “excessive control” over what children were allowed to read and study.
… A fundamentalist Christian sect, the Exclusive Brethren has created controversy in Australia and abroad for smear campaigns against liberal-minded politicians.
… The sect has 31 schools in Australia—in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania—teaching 3,823 children until the end of high school.
As the Brethren do not believe in tertiary education, they must hire non-members of the sect to teach in their schools. A teacher who recently left one of the sect’s three Oakwood schools in Tasmania said he did so in disgust at the “complete control” over the children and their education imposed by the Brethren.
“I didn’t want to contribute to a system in which the control over the children was so complete,” the teacher said.
“The children are told what jobs they will do and who they will marry. They were not being equipped to live in the outside world. The Brethren were cutting off the children’s pathways.”
Most modern novels were banned, pages were removed even from permitted 19th-century works and entire chapters were censored from science books.
“One science book had all the chapters on reproduction cut out,” one teacher said. “Most modern texts were banned.”
Logic clearly isn’t on the curriculum:
John Saunders, chief executive of the Brethren's Hobart campus of Oakwood School, rejected the criticisms. “Our school community, including non-Brethren staff and teachers, has an understanding, respect and a commitment to abide by the school ethos,” he said. […] “Our school is a Christian fundamentalist school with a secular curriculum. Many modern-day novels are rejected on the basis they are contrary to the truth of scripture.”
Makes sense. In much the same way that handing the Brethen’s schools A$20.7 million a year in Australian federal tax dollars makes sense.
But hey, when it’s not laundering cash and molesting children—or spreading rumors intended to “out” the husband of New Zealand’s socialist prime minister—the Brethren is probably giving its schoolkids a good, solid Christian education.
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