Education for ALL

Hey Friends! Excited to share with you some thoughts from our friend Angie, who spent an amazing 2 weeks in India last summer:

As the first few weeks of the school year draw to a close, I’ve been chewing on some thoughts about education–more specifically who, and how we choose to educate.

GS-class-in-Ara-1024x768I teach reading and math at an inclusive school, where students with disabilities learn alongside their non-disabled peers. Inclusion is a U-turn from traditional practice, where students with disabilities would learn separately, in a “special” class or school. Yes, there are disruptions, things go wrong, and yes, it is hard work. But every one of my students benefits from learning in a community that has not been artificially sorted and segregated by academic ability. My students learn not only reading and math, but kindness, friendship, and how to care for others instead of competing with them. Without their classmates, all of them, my students would miss out on so much.

Thousands of miles across the globe in India, Dalit children, like my students with disabilities, have often been held up to the measuring stick of societal worth and fallen short. And Indian students of all castes are losing something valuable every year that they are forced to learn separately. When Dalit children go to school, children of all castes learn that no matter what family you were born into, work can be done, games can be played, and meals can be eaten-life can be lived!-together and in peace.Divided children become divided adults, and great minds are left uneducated, friendships are left unformed, and real justice never takes hold.

In one of my favorite books on education, “Widening the Circle” by Mara Sapon-Shevin, the author asks “What world will we create by the education we provide?” What world are we creating, friends? Is it a world where all people are considered valuable and worthy of life, education, and justice?

I support Dalit education because I want Dalit children to have access to education, opportunities, and an escape from poverty and injustice. But I also support Dalit education because I love India, and I believe that including Dalit children in schools is building a better future for all of India.

High Court in UK bans couple from being foster parents because of their ‘discriminatory’ Christian views

UK’s high court has ruled that a couple’s traditional Christian views — specifically their believe that homosexuality is a sin — disqualifies them as foster parents.

In a landmark judgment, which will have a serious impact on the future of fostering and adoption in the UK, the High Court has suggested that Christians with traditional views on sexual ethics are unsuitable as foster carers, and that homosexual ‘rights’ trump freedom of conscience in the UK. The Judges stated that Christian beliefs on sexual ethics may be ‘inimical’ to children, and they implicitly upheld an Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) submission that children risk being ‘infected’ by Christian moral beliefs. (Source: Christian Legal Centre website)

I’m not familiar with the “Christian Legal Centre”, but a quick Google© search indicates several news sources essentially confirming this story. For example, see the stories in Contact Law(TM), A service of FindLaw a Thomson Reuters business; This is Derbyshire; and Ekklesia. The Ekklesia article clarified a bit. This Christian couple wasn’t actually banned from being foster parents. But essentially the court would not overturn a decision by the Derby City Council social service department that their Christian views made them unsuitable parents:

A Derby City Council spokesperson said: “It would be inappropriate for the Council to approve foster carers who cannot meet minimum standards. It would be difficult and impractical to match children with Mr and Mrs Johns if they feel that strongly [about homosexuality being a sin].

According to Lord Justice Munby and Justice Beatson:1

We sit as secular judges serving a multi-cultural community of many faiths. We are sworn (we quote the judicial oath) to ‘do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of this realm, without fear or favour, affection or ill will…’ [R]eliance upon religious belief, however conscientious the belief and however ancient and respectable the religion, can never of itself immunise the believer from the reach of the secular law. And invocation of religious belief does not necessarily provide a defence to what is otherwise a valid claim.

In other words, it’s OK to be a Christian, so long as you don’t let your Christian beliefs conflict with secular views on “morality.” Think this court case has nothing to do with you, because it’s in faraway UK? Wrong.

FOOTNOTES:

  1. Source: Ekklesia

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