A New South Wales parliamentary inquiry has recommended that ethics classes continue in the state's public schools. The inquiry was set up after Christian Democrats Upper House MP Fred Nile put forward a private members bill last year seeking to abolish the classes. Reverend Nile's bid came less than a year after the classes were introduced by the former Labor government as an option for students who do not attend weekly scripture classes. Nearly 500 groups and individuals made submissions to the inquiry, which has now recommended the classes continue. But the Upper House committee says there should be another review of ethics and special religious education classes in 2014-15. Opposition spokeswoman Carmel Tebbutt has welcomed the endorsement, but says there was no need for an inquiry in the first place. "The Government I think supported this inquiry because they wanted to gain the support of Upper House member Fred Nile on a range of issues," she said. "This inquiry led to a lot of anxiety among parents and schools."What I've wondered with the ethics classes is why any person would oppose them. Does anyone not want children to learn how to think through ethical dilemmas? The only way I can make sense of it is that there are those who put ideas of morality and ethics solely in the domain of religion, so teaching any human form of critical thought would be to diminish the divine purposes in our actions. What other reason is there to oppose it? Any that are actually grounded in what is taught or what the outcomes are for students?
Wednesday, 30 May 2012