THE current talk about values in schools fails to do justice to the role of values in education.
Were an independent, and especially a Catholic school, doing justice to the role of values in education, in the words of the Prime Minister by holding a nativity play, it would be doing so only in the most minimal of terms.
The exposition of values in the Catholic school, one would hope, would surely be about exploring the deeper incarnational insights of the nativity, including how the curriculum reflects the proposition that God becomes fully human.
If this were the case, Catholic schools would have to take issue with the increasingly strident views of Federal Education Minister, Dr Brendan Nelson, who has re-opened the long discredited standards debate by calling for a return to an assessment regime that excoriates so-called failures.
The value that underpins this view is Calvinist, separating sheep from goats, and deeply opposed to the Catholic view of the human person and their education.
Even if the PM and Mr Nelson meant well, I know of no Gospel text that applauds such a view.
On the other hand there are several that denounce it and applaud instead the inclusive attitudes and ‘catch all’ policies of those schools, state as well as Catholic, that welcome the discarded and the forgotten for what they teach the rest of us about ourselves.
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