A heated faith schools debate

By Simon Barrow
September 2, 2008

Predictably, those who oppose the anti-discrimination stance of Accord are calling it an anti-faith schools coalition. It isn't.

It's a coalition for reform. Now journalist Andrew Brown, a long-time religion journalist who often writes interesting and insightful stuff, has had a pop at me on Comment-is-Free, for saying things I didn't say - except by stretching their meaning until they end up saying what he wants me to say. C'est la vie. After the initial hubub, a more sensible conversation can emerge, I believe.

Andrew's piece is here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/sep/01/religion.faithschool...

My response on the thread is as follows:

"Andrew, you are reading into my article what you want to be there
rather than what's actually there. It wasn't an "attack" - it was a
positive call for change. The inability to distinguish between the two
is a depressing feature of the current debate, and one which needs
challenging. Accord will do so. There are people in Accord who believe
that schools sponsored by religious and other bodies can play a
constructive role, but that they need to be open to all.

Regarding standards: the actual evidence in single faith schools is
mixed, but demographics plays a significant part. My point would be
that achieving 'results' by creaming a certain segment of society (say
middle class church kids) detracts from the need to improve standards
across the board, and that education is also bigger than attainment
narrowly defined.

Trying to make those who think differently to you say things they are
not saying isn't a great advert for the strength of your argument, I'm
afraid. Anyway, enjoy your eisegetical moment ;)

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