One big issue, two opposite opinions… This week: OFSTED & Orthodox Schools

ORTHODOX SCHOOLS should not have to teach about any love other than that of man and woman. They should not have to legitimise (what they see as) an immorality by including it on the syllabus. Nor should they have to teach children about other faiths and religions. You can argue all you want about whether these children would be better off knowing about homosexuality, or the specific tenets of Islam, but to force this knowledge upon them is to overrule their ‘freedom of religion,’ which is enshrined in law for very good reason. Sure, the country’s liberal elite wants everyone to worship on their altar of evolution, bisexuality and full-time working mothers, but for the strictly Orthodox – a people grounded in centuries-old Judaism – these ideas will never be welcome, poor Ofsted grades or not. This isn’t just a point of principle, either. If the government continues to enforce these miscreant teachings, formerly independent strictly Orthodox schools will simply shut up shop. This will drive a wave of underground, off-radar education no doubt dressed up as ‘home-schooling,’ in which children will be taught God-knows-what by God-knows-who, with unknown safeguards and no national inspections of any kind. It’s folly to play this game, when the only losers will be the children themselves. Stop imposing ‘tolerance’ on everyone, and let the strictly Orthodox teach their children as they see fit. It’ll be better for everyone.

BUT

IT’S NOT better for everyone, though, is it? How can it be better to produce young English adults who speak little or no English? How is it not abuse to produce girls who know only Torah, knitting and cooking, who don’t even know how to turn on a computer, and expect them to operate in a society which embraces variety in gender, sexuality, race and religion, where women work and – yes – sleep with other women, and which knows we came about after millions of years of evolution, not in the blink of a Biblical eye? You don’t have to be a humanist or a member of the Equality Commission to know that raising children with no idea about the realities of today’s working, multicultural Britain is simply not fair. Yes, by all means teach the Torah, but don’t just teach the Torah. Doing so traps a generation in ignorance and binds them with a crippling lack of education. Some say that’s the point. The reluctance of strictly Orthodox leaders to give children a balanced and broad outlook is increasingly seen as a willful attempt to give these kids no ability to survive in the outside world, keeping them locked in the Charedi world into which they were born. Indeed, Charedi ‘escapees’ think so! How is that not latter-day bondage? How is that helping society, or promoting British values, as these schools claim to be doing? Enough is enough. Either play ball, or don’t play. And if it takes a national inspectorate to parachute in and rescue these children, so be it.