Friday, May 15, 2009

Bill 44

Oh for heaven's sake.
The newest hot button issue being debated around tables of the socially- conscious is Bill 44, a bill to include into Alberta's human rights law the right to exempt their children from classes teaching concpets the parents disagree with (for example evolution, religon, sex and it's orientations). Many liberals are declaring this would "[strike] another blow against critical thinking in schools and extend one of the bleaker elements of its history".
I do not have children. I'm not sure I will ever have children. But I know, between my parents and the revolving door of "grab-bag" teachers (some of whom were excellent, others...less so) who I would trust with my upbringing. I may not believe in what you say, but i will defend, to the death, your right to teach it to your children. This is being touted as a way to eliminate discrimination that many parent pass on to their offspring, but this is not the vehicle to do it in. To do so, we need to eliminate discrimination in the adults, not estrange children from their parents. Society today has enough things ripping the family apart, we do not need another one causing children to question the first authority they will ever know.
Furthermore, teachers are not all the overarching bearers of unbiased information that we would love them to be. Some have feelings. Some are politically motivated. What can be done to combat the uncomfortable suggestion that a teacher may have access to hundreds of fresh minds? At least parents only have access to their own child. A bigoted parent will do less damage than a bigoted teacher.
The common objection, here, is that knowledge is better than ignorance and that children should be aloowed access to all schools of thought to encourage tolerance. This is true, and I agree, but this is not the place to do it. If a tree is rotten on the inside, do we cut off the leaves, grafting them onto an already burdened tree? The proper step would be to nourish the base of the tree and watch the branches heal. Children are in difficult enough situations. Lets not make them worse.


Roots said...

it is a tricky trail that this Bill travels on. Allowing parents to exempt their children from classes, although, is a great idea in premise, may not be so great in practice. Certain things need to be taught to any child of the correct age. Not teaching sex ed for example could cause the young boys and girls to find out on their own via teen pregnancy.

Not teaching the different views on creation will cause a child to be blindsided when they are exposed to it in the real world. You can't hide information from children anymore. Not in this world where information travels so quickly.

This Bill is shooting at the right target, but I believe it's off the mark. In my opinion, parents should only be allowed exempt their children from a class if they intend to instruct the child themselves on said subject.

Anonymous said...

who's to say you are right everyone have their own views on what is right and what is not
you can't be right all the time!

Roots said...

Well that's a very useless statement. You may as well burrow your head in the sand and scream "You're wrong!" into the dirt. If you find a fault with my opinion then by all means disclose it I am always open for intelligent discussion and by no means claim to be right all the time.

However, debate isn't always about who is right or wrong, especially when discussing civil rights. It's about discovering what will work best for everyone as everyone is affected by those rights. So, please, I implore you to bring an opinion and your reasoning.

The said...

I have to disagree that we have to cater to the idea of helping the family. I think I am willing to take your analogy and run with it... If the tree is already dead, then maybe the best approach *is* to save what we can. Teachers have oversight, in the form of school administration, and busybody parents, in what they can teach: Parents, OTOH, really have no such thing. If they want to teach their children in private that (insert X,y, or Z horrible crime) is perfectly ok, then no one will ever even know until it's too late, years later.

I'm not quite willing to agree that parents should exempt their children from classes if they intend to teach it themselves, as that is really no guarantee they will teach them anything reasonable in it's place. I hate to malign organized religion then it already has been, but it's a reasonable example in the circumstances: Who is to say they are not exempting their child from science, and then teaching them anything from creationism to pastafarianism? I do agree with both of Root's examples.

Of course, this comes from a biased perspective, in that I think knowledge is not only power, that it is the ultimate goal and achievement of mankind, and I wish everyone knew every relevant detail when making a decision. Which is a fantasy world unlikely to ever exist.