Michael Gove is apparently in favour of atheist schools:
Answering questions from MPs on the Commons education select committee on Wednesday, Mr Gove said: “One of the most striking things that I read recently was a thought from Richard Dawkins that he might want to take advantage of our education legislation to open a new school, which was set up on an explicitly atheist basis.
“It wouldn’t be my choice of school, but the whole point about our education reforms is that they are, in the broad sense of the word, small “l”, liberal, that they exist to provide that greater degree of choice.”
In that case, your education reforms suck. An atheist school is a horrible idea, and any system that allows it is broken.
I don’t know why so many people think parents have a moral right to bring their children up in a particular worldview. Kids aren’t possessions to be toyed with – their education should be about how to think, not what to think. And the idea that kids should be segregated by whatever mystical beliefs their parents have is just vile. Given that the Tories aren’t actually stupid, or avowedly evil (well, not all of them) I assume that they have some rose-tinted view that children will grow up to be freethinking, independent adults no matter what their upbringing. We clearly need to introduce them to Psychology 101. And Northern Ireland.
And of course Richard Dawkins didn’t suggest an explicitly atheist school:
I would never want to indoctrinate children in atheism, any more than in religion. Instead, children should be taught to ask for evidence, to be sceptical, critical, open-minded.
Now that is a proper thing. I have no bloody idea why the entire education system isn’t built this way already, or why the Tories (and Labour)1 aren’t able to figure this out for themselves, but at least there’ll be the option – though only if we do it ourselves. I hate that UK education may come to the point where avowedly freethinking schools are a necessary counterpoint, but I’m worried there’ll be no other way.
- not much point even mentioning the Lib Dems [↩]