Christopher Bantick columnist for The Melbourne Anglican and senior English teacher at Trinity Grammar School Melbourne, again says it plainly:
It is clear that we need to tolerate other faiths. From tolerance comes understanding. To this end, the “mission” of groups such as Access Ministries in Victoria, which promotes an evangelical “confessional” line of Christianity at the cost of other faiths, would not operate freely under an equal time for all faiths mandate.
At present, teachers are not permitted to proselytise in the classroom or indoctrinate children politically, sexually or through religion. But this is not adhered to. Any child in any school will know that Mr Bloggs is a Greenie, a gay or a Muslim.
What needs to be clearly stated is that, in Australian classrooms, there is the expectation that teachers will reflect predetermined values important for society to function. These must include, as minimum expectations: tolerance, respect for the rule of law, sexual difference as expressed through individual liberty, and acceptance of others with different religious views and faiths.
“Children need boundaries if they are to develop good social skills,” Furedi says. This is true, but they also need the boundaries an agreed set of values offers to provide understanding of what values are necessary.
Teachers who do not, for whatever reason, share in the furtherance of national values in the classroom, or challenge their veracity, should at the very least have their employment status reviewed. The national curriculum and the National Professional Standards for Teachers have ignored the importance of values. It is palpably obvious this is in the too-hard basket.
To become a teacher in an Australian classroom, before you can gain professional status and registration, surely it is not asking too much for teachers to agree to advance Australian values?
Christopher Bantick is a Melbourne writer, columnist for The Melbourne Anglican and senior English teacher at Trinity Grammar School Melbourne.
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