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Education Impact

We live in an age in which it is claimed that the best societies will be democratic and liberal, i.e., they will make the freedom of the individual their primary cultural and political end. Inherent in this claim is the presumption that the public realm - government and business, law and finance, and, especially, education - will be secular, where secular is understood to mean neutral. It is taken for granted that education will not be shaped by anyone's philosophy, or religion, by anyone's idea of what life (the good life) should be like.

In claiming neutrality, educationalists commonly set forth the goal of education as rational autonomy. The outcome of the educational process should be people who are self-directed, able to decide and choose for themselves, and responsible to themselves alone. In making their choices they should not be influenced by religious beliefs, but guided solely by the exercise of their own secular reason. Applied to wider society, this means that every area of public life should be determined, in scope and content, solely by what the relevant experts deem to be rational/reasonable.

It can appear only too reasonable. Who doesn't want their children to become truly independent, able to think and choose for themselves? That is, of course, how the matter is usually presented. The reality is that for Christians everything is at stake here. If this vision were true, there could be no Christian education and no Christian approach to, say, science or economics. Christian faith would be a matter of individual opinion and choice, but with no relevance for the rest of life.

The claims are based on nothing more than myths. No human life is possible except on the basis of personal faith commitments. A society and its institutions always embody similar faith commitments. Here we include papers that critique the claims to neutrality and initiatives that are designed to undermine them.

Papers:
Common Schools: A Christian Reflection on the Issues (Arthur)
Towards Effective Christian Politics: An Analysis and Critique of Christian Action in the Realm of Education During the Last Decade (Arthur)
Counselling Services and Home-School Liaison: Towards the Transformation of School Culture (Hilary)

Initiatives:
GAP Year Programme
NorthStar UK
Sarum College - distance learning course on Education Policy and Christian Faith

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