Yet Another Threat To (Alternative To Scripture) Ethics Classes In NSW

Context – I was trained in the Philosophy for Children methodology in 2004 by Phillip Cam and Ann Margaret Sharp; it’s a part of the Philosophy and Ethics course that is taught state-wide here and I’ve interviewed Phillip Cam for the Token Skeptic podcast about it:

‘Did you know that children whose parents make a conscientious decision to have them opt out of Special Religious Education (SRE) are prohibited from any form of instruction during this period? NSW Department of Education policy provides for the supervision of these children but specifies they are not to have access to ‘ethics, values, civics or general religious education.’ – St James Ethics Centre.

This is not the first time that the classes have been under threat – Podblack Blog – August 11th.

Today - Sydney Morning Herald:

A PARLIAMENTARY inquiry will examine whether ethics classes in NSW schools should be abolished less than a year after they began, prompting accusations of a deal between the Premier, Barry O’Farrell, and the Christian Democratic MP Fred Nile.

The inquiry, which will report by June, will be conducted by a committee dominated by conservative MPs, including the Liberals David Clarke and Marie Ficarra, and Mr Nile’s colleague Paul Green.

It will examine the objectives and effectiveness of the classes, the curriculum and whether the legislation that allows them to be taught as an alternative to special religious education should be repealed.

 Facebook group here. and Primary Ethics class Facebook group here. Suggestions are already being made for NSW citizens to write to their MPs. The Parents 4 Ethics class is a website with relevant resources.

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About Kylie Sturgess

Kylie Sturgess is a Philosophy teacher, media and psychology student, blogger at Patheos and podcaster at Token Skeptic. She has conducted over a hundred interviews including artists, scientists, politicians and activists, worldwide.
She’s the author of the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser‘ column at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website and travels internationally lecturing on feminism, skepticism, and science.


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