Parents have a right to know what our children are taught, says JENNI MURRAY
There is a lot of confidence when you accompany your child to school and hand it over to a teacher. You believe that they protect your offspring and give them the opportunity to learn to read, write and count.
You hope they will also support them in making friends, protecting them from bullying, and teaching them to understand and talk about the world they grow up in. You trust the school to provide lessons based on known and verified facts.
So what the heck do you do when your child comes home and reports that they are learning things you don’t agree with or support – and their teacher, who you should be able to trust, responds by saying she just won’t let you. can’t tell anything about it?
It’s a question that surfaced this week at a public secondary school in South East London, where teenagers were reportedly taught that some of them had “white privilege” and were part of “discriminatory power systems.” In other words, a series of buzzwords related to the identity politics that have taken hold in the United States.
Following the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests, a violent image was shown to 13-year-olds in an art class. Concerned, girl’s parents complained to Haberdashers’ Hatcham College, asking for copies of lesson plans
Following George Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter protests, parents say a violent image was shown to 13-year-olds during an art class. The poster depicted white and black people stabbing each other.
Posters the children made in response showed an image of a girl being shot in the head and slogans such as ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards). For students, a song by rapper Dave was played with the line ‘our prime minister is a real racist’.
Concerned, the parents of a girl at Haberdashers’ Hatcham College complained and asked for copies of lesson plans so that they, as parents, could judge whether the curriculum was unacceptable to their daughter.
It seems a perfectly reasonable request. Ultimately, you are responsible for your own child. And you don’t sign that authority at the school gate.
Remember that a parent has the right to remove their child from sex education or religious education if they feel such subjects are inappropriate for their family.
I remember being sent to a Catholic primary school as a very little girl because her academic reputation was unparalleled. We were not Catholic, so my parents asked me to be banned from religious education and meetings. Instead, they sent me to a Church of England Sunday school. Their decision did me no harm, and I was rather relieved when I was not taught at age six that all the crimes I committed would result in me burning in the fires of Hell.
Jenni Murray (pictured) argues that parents have a right to know what their children are taught in the classroom
But the family in the recent case was told that any mother or father can request a lesson plan, but the school is under no legal obligation to provide it.
What? It is outrageous for the school system to assume that what a child is taught is essentially none of the parents’ business. What is happening here is the politicization of the curriculum. It is completely wrong to consider details of what children learn as secret. Why would a school be okay with hiding something so important to a young person’s development, understanding and ability to think and question?
And yet it seems to be an increasingly common attitude. So how do you react if your child says that in a sex education class, for example, someone told them that there are dozens of different genders and that anyone can change their biological sex?
Faced with that situation, I would have to answer that the school was wrong. And then I, as a parent, would have to wonder why I didn’t know my child was being taught such nonsense as fact.
Clare Page, the mother in question, had previously complained about lessons about race, gender and gender, and concluded that her daughter was being indoctrinated.
This latest controversy turned out to be the last straw. Ms Page has written to the Commissioner’s Office for information on the matter and has taken her daughter out of school.
All of these issues — race, gender, and gender — have come to the fore in recent years. Yes, it is essential that young people talk about them and understand them. But they are highly political and should be treated with great care.
I remember when choosing a school for my two boys I asked serious questions about how the head teachers would interact and impress all their male students on the importance of gender equality.
One didn’t seem to know what I was talking about. Another said he had a few “ladies” in the art department. A third said there would be discussions about housework and washing up for the little ones, permission for the big ones, and he had brought in women to teach math and physics.
Guys, he said, needed to know that women weren’t just good at art and English.
That’s the school I went to. My choice. My right as a parent to know.
These WAGs can change the world
Carrie Johnson and Brigitte Macron in Germany this week as their husbands set the world straight. Jenni Murray wonders why they agree to be photographed like this
Depicted a row of highly intelligent, powerful women looking decorative while strolling in the German countryside, while their husbands set the world straight. Why do they agree to be photographed like this? They are the wives of world leaders, not the WAGs of the World Cup football players on the pavement in Baden-Baden. Stop. Sit around the table. Do something useful.
Victoria Brignell (pictured) was trapped on a plane for an hour and a half because there was no one to lift her in a wheelchair
Airlines abandon disabled travelers
My very bad back prevents me from walking far and airport assistance is essential. All too often I was stuck on a plane, waiting for a wheelchair. When I recently returned from the United States, everything went smoothly – so I dared to hope that airlines would finally solve this thorny problem. But then I heard the horror story of my former colleague Victoria Brignell being stuck on a plane for an hour and a half because there was no one to lift her in a wheelchair. Unlike Victoria, who is paralyzed, I can get up and walk if I have to. There is no choice for her, and it is sickening that she was left unaided. This is not new. It has been going on for years and shows total disregard for disability. It is inhumane and must be resolved now.
- WhatsApp from Zoriana, now temporarily back at home in Lviv, after renewed bombing in Kiev and the destruction of a shopping center in central Ukraine. ‘Everything so bad. I cry every day. Poor people. For what?’ What for?
My postie is not really a caring type
Jenni says there is little consistency in who delivers her mail. They rarely put letters in her mailbox
I’m not sure, as an elderly person, I would trust my mailman to keep an eye on things, as has been suggested this week. It’s never the same one that shows up at my door, so there would be little consistency. Sometimes they come at the crack of dawn, sometimes late at night. They rarely put letters in the mailbox I taped next to the front door and instead push them through the door to be devoured by the dogs. And worst of all, half the time they bring me mail from a neighbor a few blocks away just because we have a similar sounding address.