It’s good to speak to both of you again.
Ohh, I’m just kidding, stop getting your knickers in such a twist. I’m writing because I want those of you who live in NSW to use your powers for good.
This whole scripture vs. ethics thing – it’s a bit of a shambles, I’m sure you agree. I’m writing to you because I think we, as Christian left-wing voters have a unique part to play in this whole debate.
I’ve now sent the letter below to Greens NSW Upper house member Dr. John Kaye (twice) and I’m yet to receive a reply, I’m going to be posting it the old fashioned way tomorrow. But I think it’s time we sent letters like this to all our Labor MPs too, particularly those in the left Labor factions (find a list of some of the members here). Get typing people. Here’s what I wrote:
Dear Dr Kaye
My name is Steve Boxwell, I’m a former State school teacher, now studying theology. I’m a long time Greens voter (we actually met at a meeting in Wagga some years ago organised by a mutual friend, Ray Goodlass). I’m writing to you about the SRE/SJEC community debate (or lack thereof) that’s going on at the moment.
– I feel you may have misread malice into the intentions of Glen Davies, Peter Jensen and others. Though I myself am not an Anglican I have received their literature before and for years they have been encouraging parents to be involved in the community – in P&Cs, sporting clubs, etc. because Christians should be loving participants in their society. Your Labor-right analogy overstates your point. The truth is all kinds of organisations encourage their members to be active citizens. Wouldn’t it be great if every single parent was a member of their school’s P&C so that they were truly representative of the community’s views?
– As a former high school teacher I was appalled when, under the Howard government, Brendan Nelson the then Minister for Education, Science and Training waded into the waters of “values education”. I found it deeply insulting at the time because they had the cheek to call our classrooms “values neutral”. It suggested a 19C view of education where learning is somehow amoral and needed to be supplemented with a poster and a flag pole. My concern is that with your support of this “ethics” trial you are no better than he. My classroom was not ethically anemic, we had full and rich discussions about social and current affairs; right; wrong; meta-ethics. This ethics programme sends the message to parents that, just as in SRE students are receiving something they are not receiving in the rest of the school course content, ethics is not being taught in the classroom and needs to be given in a special supplementary class. I feel this is deeply offensive to teachers and as a Greens voter I am dismayed by your stance on this issue.
– (I’m growing increasingly used to saying this with our current State Labor government but) Due process has not been followed. This is not a real ‘trial’, this is a ten week opportunity to showcase the programme to the State without the due process of, say, a public inquiry regarding a change of practice. The cart has been put before the horse as it were.
– Finally, the ethics programme, should the ‘trial’ prove successful, will not fix the problem of student non-participation during the SRE allotted time. There will always be students who need to be minded during the SRE time, this may scoop up a few more students but it ultimately won’t solve the problem.
John I’m asking you to soften your rhetoric on this issue. This debate is nuanced and complex and it’d be nice to think that public discourse on this issue could be something other than a screaming match for the middle ground.
I’m happy to talk with you more about this, thank you for your work.
Very kind regards,