Education, Secular Charity

Kasese Humanist Primary School

Thanks to the good work of Sean McGuire I discovered that Humanist Canada was raising money for a secular school in Uganda.

comp-lab

Sean McGuire has posted an interview with a volunteer at the school, and more information on helping the school moving forward. You can read the interview at My Secret Atheist Blog.

I think humanity can destroy humanity but still humanity has all the power to save humanity regardless of their location

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Education

Alberta: Fighting for Secular Education

Freedom from indoctrination is a Canadian value.

Jace Schlachter can't get secular education. (Source: CBC)
Jace Schlachter can’t get secular education. (Source: CBC)

The CBC is reporting that even in Canada, and even in the 21st century, you cannot assume that you can get access to government paid secular education. From Legal, Alberta:

A group of parents in Legal is fighting for their children to get a public education in their own home town.

“I absolutely would not have bought a house in Legal had I known there was no option for a public school education,” said Patricia Brown.

Parent Patricia Brown wants the province to provide a secular school program for children in Legal. (CBC)

Brown and her husband moved to Legal from Kitimat, B.C., two years, enticed by the low housing prices and tax rate.

This year, their son is in kindergarten and the couple began looking for schooling options.

But the town of just over 1,200 has just two schools — one half-empty Catholic school and one Francophone school already crammed to the rafters.

Non-Catholic students can attend Legal School, part of the Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools, but parents say opting out of religion class means sitting in the principal’s office for the hour.

“That’s not an option,” said Megan Thiel. “That’s segregation.”

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Education

Alberta: God the Greatest Scientists, says Private School

A Calgary, AB accredited private Christian school is being investigated by the Ministry of Education for their sciences lessons, after a parent noticed this comment in their child’s report card:

Report card reads, "Our year began with an introduction to ‘What is Science?’ and a focus on God, our Creator and the Greatest Scientist of all. As the year progresses, we are looking for evidence of God’s intelligence in creation. We noted an example of God’s organization in creation, as we followed the patterns of sunrises & sunsets and the phases of the moon. Our class verse is Romans 1:20.” (Source: Metro News)
Report card reads, “Our year began with an introduction to ‘What is Science?’ and a focus on God, our Creator and the Greatest Scientist of all. As the year progresses, we are looking for evidence of God’s intelligence in creation. We noted an example of God’s organization in creation, as we followed the patterns of sunrises & sunsets and the phases of the moon. Our class verse is Romans 1:20.”
(Source: Metro News)

Alberta’s education minister is being called on to investigate the curriculum being taught at a city private school after a report card surfaced online that stated kids were taught in a science class that God was behind the patterns of sunrises and sunsets as well as the phases of the moon.

Some may say that a private Christian school should be able to do what they want. But this is not true: to be accredited, they must follow rules. And this is how it should be, to protect parents. Parents should understand what it means to be accredited. There should be no chance that a firm Christian parent would seek out solid education with a solid Christian message and be surprised they only got the Christian message, and not solid education.

I suppose unaccredited schools can do whatever they’d like. Continue reading

Education

Ontario: Niagara School Board’s Christian Bias

Rene Chouinard
Rene Chouinard

A Grimsby father is again challenging the District School Board of Niagara over a violation of human rights.

Rene Chouinard, who successfully challenged the board’s policy for distribution of religious materials in 2012, will have a second day before the tribunal in January once again based on the board’s ties to Christianity.

This region of Ontario may be very religious. I remember seeing a federal statistic that showed that the Niagara-on-the-Lake region was the top region that voted for the Christian party in a recent election. Niagara, being right next store, may or may not share that sentiment.

Chouinard is a non-believer and one of the greater triumphs of his previous case was having non-belief recognized as a creed under the Human Rights Code. He said the board’s preference to Christian-based charities and its operation of a school with Christian ties ostracizes students with alternate beliefs.

“I know it’s there, my children know it’s there,” said Chouinard of St. Catharines-based Eden, an alternative school that the board took over in 1988. “And I know that it’s pro-Christian and the school board is running a school that is pro-Christian. Anything that promotes one belief is saying that you are wrong when you are a non-believer.”

A quick glance at the Eden’s Spiritual Life Centre website illustrates those ties: “what continues to make Eden a distinct school is the Spiritual Life Centre and its staff which continue to offer engaging programs with a Christian worldview.”

It is possible that those responsible in the school board are merely trying to do good things for the world and believe that supporting or working with these charities will accomplish that. Or, it’s possible that they are motivated by religious purposes. In either case, they are trying to do the right thing.

I believe that having government institutions be secular is the best possible answer. If you let them be openly religious or have a religious opinion, it may change over time. This protects believers. For example, if you are protestant and over the years the government becomes more Catholic or anti-protestant, any protestant can see the problem with allowing government to have a religious opinion at all.

If it’s pro-Catholic, pro-Protestant pan-Christian and pro-Jewish government, that’s great for those people. But the rest of us Canadians who were born here, and our new citizens who have arrived, that do not share those beliefs it quite literally alienates them. Continue reading