The AGE announced today that FIRIS’s Campaign to remove SRI from State Primary Schools in Victory has won a major battle:

Primary school principals shut down religious education classes

FIRIS’s win here is on several levels:

1.  The Department of Education now allows Principals the discretion to remove SRI – this is a result of FIRIS’s campaign to make the department follow the law “may” does not mean “must”

2.  Parents have voted with their feet and left in large #’s enrollments have fallen 30%, this is a result of FIRIS’s push to require consent.  These #’s would be higher, but the information given to parents is still shockingly bad.

3.  FIRIS published, with the help of David Zyngier and Marion Maddox, critiques of the curriculum used by ACCESS Ministries.  These reviews showed that the curriculum was not consistent with good teaching and should not be in the classrooms.

Way too many people have had a role, public and private in this campaign to list here.  FIRIS believes that religious instruction is a family and church matter, and should not be in schools at all, we realise that unless we get someone in the legislature to pass a bill, that the law as it stands provides an exception to the schools to shut down their secular values and allow Religious Instruction – we think this is wrong in all cases.  Today’s victory however means that SRI groups no longer dictate terms to schools – this is now a matter for educators and parents, guided by common sense, to evaluate.

Parents who wish to raise their children according to a particular religion should engage with the appropriate religious community.  Victorians proudly come from every religion and creed, and our schools are places that treat all children alike regardless of their families religious preferences.

This is a great win for FIRIS and a great win for Education!