The Instigator
wolfhaines
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Thaddeus
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

Religious/Faith Schools should be banned in the UK

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Thaddeus
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/25/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 10,853 times Debate No: 15570
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (64)
Votes (3)

 

wolfhaines

Pro

I shall be arguing that Religious/Faith Schools should be abolished, and as such my opponent will argue that they should not be abolished.

Definition: Religious/Faith Schools- A compulsory education establishment run by a religious community or a religious establishment. Any school whose religious teachings are not monitored by the state (Ofsted).

Round One will be to accept the debate.
Thaddeus

Con

I will be mainly arguing that as your definition includes all private schools, regardless of how secular ("any school whose religious teachings are not monitored by the state"), and that private schools provide decent social benefit.

Whenever the two clauses of the definitions are in conflict, or describe two different groups we shall err in favour of the latter clause.

As my opponent has not stated a definition of religion I shall do so;
"the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices" from : http://dictionary.reference.com...

Also the BOP is firmly placed upon Pro. He must demonstrate clearly that all faiths schools in the UK ought to be abolished.
I look forward to his round of arguments.
Debate Round No. 1
wolfhaines

Pro

Thanks for accepting.
I shall first give an overview of schools with 'religious character' (as defined by the department of education) with the UK.
As of January 2010:
•616 secondary schools with 'religious character' (18% of the total). Educating 565,120 pupils (17%).
•6216 primary schools (37%). Educating 1.206, 540 pupils (29%)

We can see from the following link (http://www.humanism.org.uk...) that criteria for different degrees of state schools vary. We can see that Religious Academies set up before 2010 by an independent sponsor receive 90% of their funding from central government. There is also no control over who that sponsor selects as governors of the schools, and that the National Curriculum needs to only be followed in Maths, English and Science. It is also shows that there is no control as to what religious education is taught to their pupils, as that is set by the governors, who are in turn appointed by the sponsor. It is also clear that discrimination in school admissions is allowed on the grounds of religion, and that staff can be tested for their religious beliefs before being hired.

My reasons for supporting the abolishment of schools with ‘religious character' (AKA Faith schools) are as follows:

1)Freedom of choice. Many areas of the UK have more faith schools than secular schools, thus decreasing parents choice in where they send their children. The freedom of religion of children is also dismissed, as being labelled with the same religion as their parents, and being sent to a religious schools, means their opportunity to change religion is dramatically decreased.

2)Segregation. Admission policies which allow children to be rejected on the grounds of what religion their parents are (as children are too young to know what religion they want to be), means we have hundreds of thousands of children who spend their entire education segregated from the variety of viewpoints that exist in the nation.

3)Religious Education. In RE classes in non-religious schools it is compulsory to teach the beliefs of every religion equally, and with respect. In religious schools this is waived, and the school can teach whatever form of religious education they wish. The ignorance this can breed is dangerous for society.

4)PSHSE (personal social health and economic education) classes are also not monitored by the state, meaning a teaching of all options is not guaranteed. This means we can have thousands of children who are not taught about safe sex.

5)Religion is given an unjustified free ride when it comes to indoctrinating the young of our nation. I am against this. We would not stand by while a local Neo-Nazi set up a school, chose his own governors, then based admissions on skin colour. That is illegal. So why is it ok for religion to do the same?

6)The rights of children are overlooked. Children have a right to unbiased, equality fuelled education, where the emphasis is on knowledge collection. The right of a parent and community (school) to indoctrinate a child before they can think for themselves is put ahead of the right of a child to not be indoctrinated.

Only 7% of the UK worship in church, but 36% of schools are church run. This shows a disturbing trend of faking religion in order to attend local schools. http://www.channel4.com...

Some even feel religious schools are unfair on immigrants: http://www.guardian.co.uk...

This problem has been around for over 100 years now, with James Bevan noticing the danger of religious education in schools. Religious belief is not a vital part of education. There is also no evidence to support the view that religious schools do better when it comes to results. A study (http://www2.lse.ac.uk...) by Dr Steve Gibbons (London School of Economics), showed that children from the same social background going to different schools (one religious, one not) showed no differences in results. Essentially, the social class intake at religious schools does more to account for results. Religious belief is personal, and should be taught outside of a secular school environment. Therefore I support the banning of religious schools with the UK.

References:
•Schools of Faith: Religious schools in a multicultural society (British Government Publication; commission for racial equality. 1990)
•Religious teaching in secondary schools: A problem of today. James Bevan.
•Images of life: Problems of religious belief and human relations in schools. P. Richardson.
Thaddeus

Con

I apologize to my opponent for not being as rapid as him in posting my arguments.

Rebuttals
1) Freedom of choice. Under my opponents definitions,all British private schools are included as faith schools. Many of these schools provide great freedom of religious choice, such as Sevenoaks school, which although it ostensibly is humanist, still allows great freedom of religious expression and respect for lack of religious expression. Half of the RS staff (RS being a non-compulsory subject there, unlike many grammar schools) are Atheists [Source - I went to the school in question]

2) Segregation.
Private schools do not discriminate entry on the basis of religion. Anyone with the wealth (and in public schools intelligence) to attend may.

3) RE. In most private schools RE is not even compulsory, and the standard syllabus (ie a wide and varied religious education) is taught when students choose to take it. I can vouch that in Sevenoaks school, the RE teachers also came from a wide and varied religious background. I had one universalist Christian, one Rabbi, one bog-standard Christian, a strong atheist, and one guy who we never found out what beliefs he had because he rarely ever turned up to our lessons.

4) Though it is not monitered by the state, private schools sex ed meets the government standard set for state schools. It is also inspected by independant private boards to assure a certain level of quality.

5)It would not be illegal for someone to set up their own school, with their own money, and select whomever they want as their pupils. What you are assuming they will teach is what might be illegal. Since you haven't shown that faith schools all teach the incitement of religious hatred (the law I'm assuming that your assuming they will break), this argument is not substantiated.

6) Regardless of education, children are all indoctrinated to different degrees by the state, parents and other third parties. The right to education is the right to be indoctrinated. You must show that the indoctrination provided by all faith schools is sufficiently abhorent that the schools need to be banned.

Counter arguments
1) Private schools typically provide a superior education than state schools. It would be harmful to society to shut them down.
2) The proposal is very exteme. Why ban, when we could just have school inspectors instead? They could eliminate cons objections to the system, whilst the schools could remain open and provide an education for many children.
3) Even if many are faking religious belief there is still enough religious belief to ,at minimum, warrent at least one school run by the church. If there is demand for one school they ought not to be banned outright.

I apologize again for not being as quick as my opponent. I look forward to his response.
Debate Round No. 2
wolfhaines

Pro

My opponent seem to be ignoring the first part of my definition of religious schools- "that which is run by or for a religious establishment or religious community." The definition did not then say "OR any school whose religious teachings are not monitored by the state". It was to include both.

Semantics aside this should be a good debate. He asked me to verify which illegality I was referring to when it came to the setting up of schools. It was Discrimination. It is illegal to bar entry on the grounds of race, but not on the grounds of religion. This is an immoral hypocrisy in modern society. He also said how private schools do not segregate, then said you can attend if you have wealth. Therefore proving segregation between wealth and no wealth. (I digress).

While I appreciate the personal experiences of my opponent in his schooling, personal experience does not constitute evidence. We can all see opportunity this creates to fabricate evidence. He said he went to a Humanist school, then acted as if their non-bias religious teachings was not to do with that fact. If he went to a Catholic school, then spoke of non-bias religious teachings, that would do more to support his view. As it stands my view is supported.

Thaddeus pointed out himself that some private schools do not even teach much RE. This again does nothing to support his view, my point that schools having the ability to pick and choose their own RE can have negative consequences, is not disproved here.

Let us clarify this, as my opponent seems to be trying to turn this debate into a private vs state school debate. I am not against private schools, as the money raised from fees may help build good facilities, buy equipment, and possibly employ better teachers. Should religion have an influence in all that? No, of course not. This is my whole argument. My opponent gives no reason as to why we should allow religion to influence schooling, but not allow racial prejudices to do the same.

I showed how, in religious state schools, the majority of the money is from the taxpayer, yet because of the irregularities in the law, the same people who are paying to build and fund the schools can be refused access on grounds of religion.

Let me turn to his counter arguments.
1) Where is my opponents evidence of this? He provides none. Again he ignores my religious schools definition and concentrates on private schools (many of which are secular). I would like him to return to the theme of schools of 'religious character'.
2) This is an interesting question. My response is that it should be illegal for schools to be founded on religious grounds because it is an hypocrisy to equality and openness in education. Why should they then be banned if they already exist? Because giving religious beliefs a free ride when it comes to what they are allowed to do is plain wrong. As I keep saying- if we cannot justify a school being founded on Neo-Nazi racial beliefs, then why do we think it is justifiable to to do it on religious beliefs?
3) Religious beliefs are just that, religious beliefs. Nothing to do with education. Why does the local church have more of a right to set up a school than the local KKK? Or the local logical positivists society? All schools should be run on ground of equality and the best way to do that is to remove religious influences and to have universal monitoring. Yes there are other influences (historical, wealth etc) that could also be removed, but that is for a different debate. "If there is demand for one school they ought to not be banned outright". There is a demand for National Socialism, but that is ignored. There is demand for racial segregation, but that is ignored. Demand does not create justification.

My opponent has shown my points respect in his attention to them, but he has not countered them.

He hasn't justified the lack of Freedom in Choice, Segregation in admissions and social groupings, Biased and unregulated RE, Religious influences in PSHSE, the Hypocrisy in allowing religion to do all of this but not other possible groups, and finally the Rights of Children to have an equality based education over the rights of parents to indoctrinate.
Thaddeus

Con

Definitions

"My opponent seem to be ignoring the first part of my definition of religious schools- "that which is run by or for a religious establishment or religious community." The definition did not then say "OR any school whose religious teachings are not monitored by the state". It was to include both."

I would draw my opponents attention to my statement clarifying the definition set by him;

"I will be mainly arguing that as your definition includes all private schools, regardless of how secular ("any school whose religious teachings are not monitored by the state"), and that private schools provide decent social benefit.

Whenever the two clauses of the definitions are in conflict, or describe two different groups we shall err in favour of the latter clause."
I had stated my intention to interprete the definition in this in comments prior to accepting the debate. My opponent had no objections then. He also did not contest the clarification in the following round.
Therefore, as private schools do not have their religious teaching monitered by the state, the resolution includes the banning of all private schools. [1]

Therefore when by opponent stated;
"I am not against private schools, as the money raised from fees may help build good facilities, buy equipment, and possibly employ better teachers."
he has essentially conceded the debate, as he is not against the existence of private schools, therefore does not support banning them.

I would also add that I agree with my opponent that I do require sources to back-up my experiences in private education, whilst reminding him to be sympathetic to the fact that due to the almost non-existant complaints about RS teaching in private schools it is difficult to find evidence which states that there is no cause for complaint. I have, however, done my best to try and find sources to back up my assertions.
I also contest the assertion that I am trying to make this into a private vs state school argument. I solely argue that private schools ought not to be banned, regardless of religious teachings.

I would also clarify that I do not beleive religion has anymore right to exist than any other facet of society in dictating schooling, however private institutions have the right to teach what they would like to as long as the parents, those who are legally responsible for the children, are not coerced by circumstances into sending their children there. Consider the alternative; if private institutions are not allowed to teach what they please, then the state is claiming to have a monopoly on truth! If that is taken as true it would justify the state locking up dissenters and restricting people's free speech.
Furthermore it is the legal perogative of private institutions to choose their clients. If I were to set up a school I would have the right to select which students attended whether I base my admissions on religion or academic merit. "Discrimination", that is the act of differentiating between two things is not illegal.
If I were to allow Badger to enter my school for Irish drunkards over interrogator, because he is not a mouth-breathing idiot, I have discriminated between the two. Likewise, if I hire a christian to teach RS because I have, using the autonomy gained as a private institution, decided that Christian theology is what I want to teach, it would be lawful and socially expedient. Similarly, it is the right of the parent to choose which private school to send them to. To suggest otherwise is to undermine our civil liberties.
The rights of a child in relation to their parent is the right to not be physically, mentally, or sexually abused (probably a few more)
Unless you would go further than Dawkins and claim that parents teaching religion to their child is child abuse [2], there is no right to not be indoctrinated.
And quite rightly so! It would be the one right violated consistently by all good parents, religious or not, as a good parent would be one who teaches their child moral standards, how to behave in society and other such qualities. Each can equally be called indoctrination. It is the parents right to bring up their child as they see fit, without abusing them.
Turning my attention now to the arguments that I apparently have only dropped;
Freedom of choice;
- There is a much greater level of choice in the private education system, due to the ability of anyone being able to set up a education institution, thus allowing a much wider variety of educational standards.
- Segregation
I concede the wealthy cannot attend private schools. I fail to see why this supports their abolitiion. Poor people cannot afford sports cars. It doesn't mean sports cars ought not exist. Aside from this the private school system does not support segregation.
- Hypocrisy
As long as no law is broken, any institution may setup a school (including the KKK! (though they would have to be very careful about the first clause)) and admit who they want.
- RE
In private schools the RE lessons, as with all subjects, are inspected by an independant board (http://en.wikipedia.org...(UK). I would also state that it is the right of the private institution to teach what it wants, within the law. It should not be banned because it does not conform with the state's version of the truth.

I would remind my opponent that these private schools exist in a pseudo free-market (pseudo because location is major inhibiter to choice, but not large enough to prevent market forces), and the most valued aspect of an education system is its ability to get a child into a good university. That is to say; to pass exams. Therefore if the children are not taught effectively, the schools value will diminish greatly, preventing it from existing. Thus, as long as the motivation of the market remains fixed on the output, the private education market is self regulating.

Counter arguments
1) You are quite right in that I have failed to provide sources. I apologize. This source shows that people attending private schools are four times more likely to get an A* in any given subject(http://en.wikipedia.org...(UK)).
2) In all fairness you have straw-manned my argument. My argument is not "Why should they be banned if they already exist?", but rather that banning them is extreme when regulation would, for someone with your beliefs, aleviate all concerns and continue to help provide the already over burdened education systems with more institutes for education.
3) You assert that religion has nothing to do with education without warrent. Many philosophers have always mantained that learning should not be seperated from spirituality. Furthermore you keep asserting that certain groups, such as religious ones, do not have the right to have their views aired in a private institution. This is without warrent. If there is demand, the private institution (as long as it abides by the law) is justified.
I have shown that not only has my opponent conceded the debate, but also that the banning of certain "faith schools" (private schools) even if they are overtly religious would be to destroy the freedom of speech which is highly valued in British society.
Sources
http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
wolfhaines

Pro

wolfhaines forfeited this round.
Thaddeus

Con

Sadly my opponent forfeited. Extend all arguments.
Debate Round No. 4
64 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Thaddeus 5 years ago
Thaddeus
Don't worry about it.
Posted by wolfhaines 5 years ago
wolfhaines
Sorry man, I am a single father, and today (being Mothers Day) I just couldn't grab the 5 minutes I needed to type my response, as had to keep my son occupied. Regardless, thanks for a good debate omnibadass.
Posted by Thaddeus 5 years ago
Thaddeus
Don't forfeit me bro =(
Posted by unlikely 5 years ago
unlikely
Of course all religious hogwash should be banned from schools....If it is not subjected to the scientific method than it can be taught alongside all superstitious beliefs...witchcraft, crystals,catholicism all have a part in the history of man kind...BUT cant be taught as fact....
Posted by wolfhaines 5 years ago
wolfhaines
jc496- "there is a separation of church and state". I think you will find this is the UK and not the USA, we have no such separation. In fact, our head of state is our head of church. Perhaps you should widen your knowledge beyond what exists in your own country before commenting on a debate on other countries.

Indoctrination is the stating as fact that which may be challenged by more than one theory. Basically, a one-sided education is indoctrination, no matter what area of study. The most apparent is history, especially in the USA. My point in this debate, therefore, is to allow teaching to be taught by one religious group, to one religious group, in a multi-religious group society (and world), is wrong, and has negative consequences. Children are most the vulnerable to being brainwashed, and seeing as society does not allow racial views to be taught in schools, it should not then turn a blind eye to religious views.

Thaddeus- good response omnibaddass, I shall start on my response later today.
Posted by Thaddeus 5 years ago
Thaddeus
As far as rights in relation to the parents goes; there is no right to not be indoctrinated, because indoctrination is so vague, and almost all teaching could be interpreted as such.
Posted by jc496 5 years ago
jc496
wolfhaines - "the rights of children to have an equality fuelled education is more important than a parents right to indoctrinate them"

how would you define indoctrination? What about students who actually WANT to attend a religious school? you are taking away their rights.... there is a separation of church and state, however private, religious schools should be given the right to exist. What's next? Taking all kids out of church in fear that they will be "indoctrinated?" What about what students are taught in Public schools? there are sure to be flaws. You can't defend your point, without running into some serious ethical fallacies
Posted by Thaddeus 5 years ago
Thaddeus
I suppose we shall see. I'll be posting my argument some time in my lunch break (I can't grab a few of my sources from my lab computer)
Posted by wolfhaines 5 years ago
wolfhaines
I haven't conceded at all. As far as I am concerned I can keep the essence of my argument even if we go with your definitions =)
Posted by Thaddeus 5 years ago
Thaddeus
I know it continues. I just believed it was the right thing to do to inform you that you had conceded.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
wolfhainesThaddeusTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: A very good debate until Pro forfeited. I think the "OR" is clearly implied in the definition. The resolution is to abolish all faith schools, so a single case of a school that should not be abolished suffices to defeat the resolution. Pro didn't dispute Con's single case, but argued, correctly but irrelevantly, that the case was not general. Forfeit left points unanswered.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
wolfhainesThaddeusTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.
Vote Placed by darkkermit 5 years ago
darkkermit
wolfhainesThaddeusTied
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Reasons for voting decision: PRO forfeited