In what's being heralded as a secular triumph, the UK government has banned the teaching of creationism as science in all existing and future academies and free schools.
The new clauses, which arrived with very little fanfare last week, state that the...
...requirement for every academy and free school to provide a broad and balanced curriculum in any case prevents the teaching of creationism as evidence based theory in any academy or free school.
So, if an academy or free school teaches creationism as scientifically valid, it's breaking the funding agreement to provide a "broad and balanced curriculum."
In the UK, state-funded academies are basically equivalent to charter schools in the United States, and are primarily comprised of high schools. Free schools, which were introduced in 2010, are non-profit making, independent, state-funded schools which are not controlled by a local authority, but are subject to the School Admissions Code. Free schools make it possible for parents, teachers, charities, and business to set up their own schools.
In addition to the new clauses, the UK government clarified the meaning of creationism, reminding everyone that it's a minority view even within the Church of England and the Catholic Church.
Back in 2012, the UK government banned all future free schools from teaching creationism as science, requiring them to teach natural selection. At the time, however, it didn't extend those requirement to academies, nor did the changes apply to existing free schools. The new verbiage changes this, precluding all public-funded schools — present or future — from teaching creationism as evidence-based theory.
The new church academies clauses require that "pupils are taught about the theory of evolution, and prevent academy trusts from teaching 'creationism' as scientific fact." And by "creationism" they mean:
[A]ny doctrine or theory which holds that natural biological processes cannot account for the history, diversity, and complexity of life on earth and therefore rejects the scientific theory of evolution. The parties acknowledge that creationism, in this sense, is rejected by most mainstream churches and religious traditions, including the major providers of state funded schools such as the [Anglican] [Catholic] Churches, as well as the scientific community. It does not accord with the scientific consensus or the very large body of established scientific evidence; nor does it accurately and consistently employ the scientific method, and as such it should not be presented to pupils at the Academy as a scientific theory.
And in regards to protecting religious beliefs, the clauses acknowledge that the funding agreement does...
...not prevent discussion of beliefs about the origins of the Earth and living things, such as creationism, in Religious Education, as long as it is not presented as a valid alternative to established scientific theory.
Seems fair and reasonable to me.
The British Humanist Association, which has been advocating for the change since 2011 via its "Teach Evolution, Not Creationism" campaign, is celebrating the move.
"[We] believe that... the objectives of the campaign are largely met," noted BHA Head of Public Affairs Pavan Dhaliwal in a statement. "We congratulate the Government on its robust stance on this issue." He added: "However, there are other ongoing areas of concern, for example the large number of state financed creationist nurseries, or the inadequate inspection of private creationist schools, and continued vigilance is needed in the state-funded sector. We will continue to work for reform in the remaining areas, but are pleased that the vast majority of issues are now dealt with."
This move by the UK government stands in stark contrast to what's happening in the United States. In Missouri, for example, a proposed bill would require schools to "alert" parents when evolution is taught.
Missouri schools may have to "alert" parents when evolution is taughtMissouri schools may have to "alert" parents when evolution is taughtMissouri schools may have to "alert" ...
In what may be the first of its kind, a proposed bill in Missouri would require that parents be… Read moreRead on
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Patricia that's good news! Now all we need is a similar thing here in the states and shut them up for good. As far as Brattin here in Missouri, he states that they are not teaching "both sides." I'm sorry, mister. There is not any other side to teach. Creationism is not science!
If you want creationism then educate your kids privately as in home schooling and shut the hell up! Religion cannot be taught in a public school system.
Other enlightened European countries must think we are f---ing morons. I don't blame them. How embarrassing.
totally, Mel. we are going in the OPPOSITE direction here. the rise of religious fundamentalism in America is disturbing.
Very good news. NOW what they need to do is drop the multiculturalism bullshit and with it the sharia zones which effectively sanction two different standards of law, indeed, two standards which in multiple ways are in stark contradiction to one another.
For a very informative update on Sharia in the UK please visit the "One Law For All" site, a lot of the people behind this are also members of The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain......
A bigger problem is that we still have a state religion and the head of state (the Queen) is head of and protector of the faith (yes a little old lady really is yahweh's bodyguard) we have Bishops in that undemocratic national embarrassment the House of Lords and they are there because they are Bishops. And whilst this piece of legislation is a step forward, we still have state funded faith schools and under this present government much of our children's education has been handed over to the Church of England, it is in fact the biggest provider of education in the UK.
What then, Loren, segregation? I live in a multicultural area and I love it! It's mostly a positive mix in which people meet each other. There are always small groups who keep themselves apart because they think all the others are bad, but on the whole people mix and learn - WHAT they learn depends of course, but I wouldn't be the one to monitor that.
Chris, once upon a time when people immigrated to the US, they brought their history and culture with them, sure, but they were interested in becoming AMERICANS and integrating what they brought from their original home with the unique cultures which comprise our country. That worked. More recently when I see immigrants arriving here, it's as though they want to recreate their old home here and dismiss American culture as much as possible if not altogether. That DOESN'T.
I see exactly the same thing going on with muslims in the UK with these damnable shariah zones. Sorry but shariah isn't culture; it is LAW, and for a country, if you have two standards of law, you're inviting disaster, especially if those standards are as radically different as English criminal law and that derived from islam are. It hasn't happened yet in the US, at least not to the point of shariah zones, but the US is becoming less a melting pot of cultures than a patchwork quilt, where one patch wants to fight with the patches around it because it thinks it's SPECIAL ... and I've had a bellyful of that.
Multiculturalism is fine ... IF each culture can respect not just other cultures but demonstrate respect for people within its own. Islam fails to do that on more levels than I can count.
I hate shariah as much as fundie xtian law; they'll never accept that normal people make other choices. But the people that want to be good neighbours get too little attention, so I always speak up for them. Without that group there would be no respect and understanding, because without them different groups would never meet.