Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Education minister

A while ago a wrote to the (acting) Education minister to growl about the Shine program being used in public schools, as pointed out by Mim. I finally got this reply:

I write in response to your correspondence of 26th July 2008 to the Acting Minister for Education and Training, the Hon John Hatzistergos MLC, regarding the Shine program in NSW high schools. The Minister has asked me to respond on his behalf.

Recent media attention has focused on the Shine program and its use in NSW secondary schools. Shine is a program that claims a "preventative, solutions-based model, committed to seeing females connected to positive pathways in their lives and encountering their true value". Shine is one of many externally available programs that schools may choose to conduct ti complement the school's teaching and learning program.

The Department of Education and Training does not recommend or endorse these programs. Decisions about which resources to purchase are made by school principals who are best placed to determine what adds value to the curriculum, based on the needs and interests of the students and the ethos of the community. Consultation with the community should occur. Participation in the Shine program is to be voluntary and with parental consent.

As the Shine program is not designed as a program for special religious education (SRE), to be delivered by approved providers, it should not be offered to students during time set aside for SRE. Schools offering this program during time set aside for SRE are in conflict with the Religious Education policy, Section 3:11.

I hope that this clarifies the situation for you.

It is signed by Robert Randall, R/General Manager, Learning and Development.

Well, no, it doesn't clarify the situation for me. I pretty much knew all that. What I want to know is why something that does have religious intentions is not regarded as religious education, and why something which is just plain wrong is allowed to be chosen by any principal. Does the DoE have no opinion on what rubbish can be delivered in our schools?

Also, what does parental consent entail? Does it mean informed consent? Because I think it is pretty clear that unless parents know what's in it, it isn't informed consent.

It seems pretty clear to me that the damage that this kind of crap can do to teenage girls doesn't make it on to the radar for our state pollies. Then again, our state pollies are so unbelievably incompetent, this is probably no surprise.

Arrrgggg... I am paralysed by exasperation.

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