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Education United Kingdom Science

Jewish School Removes Evolution Questions From Exams 431

Alain Williams writes "Religious sponsored ignorance is not just in the USA, a school in Hackney, England is trying to hide the idea of evolution from its pupils. Maybe they fear that their creation story will be seen for what it is if pupils get to learn ideas supported evidence. The girls are also disadvantaged since they can't answer the redacted questions, thus making it harder to get good marks."
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Jewish School Removes Evolution Questions From Exams

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 06, 2014 @04:15AM (#46416797)

    Then don't send your kids to a Jewish school. Religious freedom is part of that whole "freedom" idea that some folks are pretty fond of.

      "Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes." - Mahatma Gandhi

    • by Namarrgon ( 105036 ) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @04:29AM (#46416877) Homepage

      A shame the kids themselves don't get a say in their indoctrination & skewed education. I know parents need to make choices on behalf of their kids, but it's not always easy to watch.

      Education is mandatory in most countries, regardless of religious beliefs, but I wonder how much control that allows over the curriculum.

      • Well, almost everything I learned about evolution I learned outside of school, by reading books. The idea that the only chance anyone will get to learn anything is in the classroom is a lot of nonsense. So I say schools should be free to teach it or not. Richard Dawkins, after all, spoke of his awakening to biology when a teacher told him plants were green because it's a pleasant colour to the eye and such nonsense didn't do him any harm.

        Now if the school is State funded then that's a different matter.
      • by Grey Geezer ( 2699315 ) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @10:12AM (#46418387)

        Any creed that requires the indoctrination of children for its survival is suspect. If it can't wait until adulthood to present evidence in its favor there is a very good chance that something evil is at its core. Forced ignorance is evil. Voluntary, self enforced ignorance is only slightly less evil, but at least an adult has a choice about being ignorant.

    • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @04:33AM (#46416893) Homepage

      Maybe they should also teach them that 2+2=7 and that The Earth is flat. And feed them on nothing but kitkats.

      Would you say that was OK, too?

      Last time I checked we have child protection to take children away from clueless parents.

      • Wow. Where does this illiberality end I wonder?
        • Here: []

          • Another thing I don't get, what does age have to do with the ability to make sensible decisions? It's also noteworthy that people in Angola mature 9 years faster than in Bahrain.

            • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @06:35AM (#46417391) Homepage

              You think a six-year-old has the same decision making ability as an 20-year-old?

              Is it a coincidence that most street gangs indoctrinate new members around the age of 13?

              The "age of consent" thing is a bit arbitrary but it doeshave a basis in reality. Young children are far easier to indoctrinate/persuade than adults.

              • No doubt about that 6 year old. But what would be a good age to make the transition from "not being able to decide anything" to "fully accountable for any and all actions and decisions someone makes"? What's makes that difference from 17 years, 364 days of age to 18 years of age so magical that it changes the rules completely 180 degrees?

                When you compare countries all over the globe, the age that is deemed "old enough" ranges from 12 years to 21 years of age. That's quite a bit of a margin. And, just to ask

                • No, you're the only one who thinks those numbers are based on some form of objective criteria rather than made up by men wearing silly hats based on cultural norms and personal convenience.

                • What's makes that difference from 17 years, 364 days of age to 18 years of age so magical that it changes the rules completely 180 degrees?

                  Nothing (duh!)

                  That's why I said "a bit arbitrary" above.

                  In some cultures a boy has to do something worthy for his people to consider him a man. Others have special rites of passage that a boy has to complete (hunt/kill a wildebeest). Street gangs have their initiation ceremonies (kill a member of another gang). etc.

                  In our society we chose "number of days since they popped out of their mother". Not the best way? I agree. Don't like it? Go and join one of those others.

          • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

            Better hurry up with the indoctrination then, before they reach that age.

      • Maybe they should also teach them that 2+2=7

        Are we the debtor or the creditor here?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You were just angry. You don't really want to take kids away from their parents just because (1) the parents are Jewish, (2) the parents send their kids to a religious school, and (3) the school takes a position in favor of creation over evolution. Right?

        Let's look at what the school is really trying to do:

        They reasoned that it would have been fairly easy for the test to make allowances fore the religious views of millions of people. Just reword a question like this: "Question 38: According to the Theory of

        • I've just read a post by someone who thinks that evolution and the origin of the universe are the same thing. Obviously that totally invalidates all of the Hebrew faith, since he's an idiot and he's defending the Torah.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 06, 2014 @04:39AM (#46416931)

      You cannot be free if you don't have the knowledge to take informed decissions

      An adult person may have the freedom to decide whether to learn or not ... but when we talk about kids, the society should warrant they have the opportunity to learn above the wishes of their tutors

  • so...... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Wait, so the school decides what questions they want on their exam, and people are complaining?
    All the students are sitting exactly the same are they not?

    "The examinations body, OCR, says it was satisfied that the girls did not have an unfair advantage. It now plans to allow the practice, saying it has come to an agreement with the school to protect the future integrity of the exams."

    "The Department of Education meanwhile has asked for assurances that the children will be taught the full curriculum."

    If they

    • by Cenan ( 1892902 )

      Most schools I've gone to have not had everything from the curriculum on the exam. One of the first questions when a new topic is introduced is this: "will this be on the midterm/review/exam?", and if the answer is "no" the students promptly doze of. Not having it on the exam (guaranteed) is the same as not having it in the curriculum at all.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Cederic ( 9623 )

      These are not school exams, these are external exams that the school administers.

      All the students are sitting exactly the same are they not?

      No. Subjugated girls being kept in ignorance by religious fuckwits are sitting an exam with fewer questions than well educated students at other schools.

      Otherwise it's the same exam, but the girls at that particular school will fail to get the top marks, because they automatically score 0 for the questions that were removed from their papers.

      • Give it a year or two; they'll be asking that those questions aren't counted (in the denominator, I mean).

    • UK != US (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @09:53AM (#46418257) Journal

      Wait, so the school decides what questions they want on their exam, and people are complaining?

      Yes because in the UK the exams are not written by the schools but written by a central exam board so that the standard is consistent across the country. The same happens here in Alberta, Canada. By redacting the questions the school is preventing the students from being able to get any marks for those questions. I the exam board produced a paper where sufficient questions were "objectionable" then every pupil at that school would automatically fail the exam.

      While the exam board might be ok with it because it offers zero advantage to the students the school inspectors ought to be all over this since it is grossly unfair to the students and may prevent them getting into university. We already have laws which limit religious freedom when it comes to refusing medical treatment for children because it harms them and frankly we should have similar ones when it comes to science education for exactly the same reason.

  • Cult (Score:5, Informative)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @04:37AM (#46416913) Homepage

    That's not mainstream Judaism. That's a Haredi [] institution. They're not just anti-evolution. They're anti-TV, anti-Internet, anti-movies, anti-newspaper reading, anti birth control, anti public library usage, anti knowing the language of the country they're in, anti wearing colors, anti female equality... The sect is set up to give kids no option other than to stay in the Haredi community and overdose on religion for their entire lives.

    It's a lot like Shia Islam, down to the beards. There's even a Haredi group in Canada that wants to move to Iran because Canada won't let them abuse their kids. []

    • So basically, the Jewish Amish.

  • ...beyond the fact that someone wants to deny evolution.

    What answers are being changed, on what test?

    Why bother to give the test at all if you don't like the material on it? Is it a government-required test? For what purpose? Is the government really OK with these arbitrary changes by the school?

    The summary is pretty horrible, in terms of journalism, and the original article not much better.

    • by AGMW ( 594303 )
      Why bother? I _guess_ because we have a set of rules about what kids have to be taught and part of that involves examination. So it's OK for the kids to take an exam and potentially do badly (if there are questions set on topics they've wilfully been mislead on!), but it's not OK to just not teach the subject.

      If there was some way to weed out 'bad teachers' you could hope that the Biology teachers at such a school would continually be identified by Ofsted (UK schools watchdog) and warned, offered re-train

    • Yes, it's a government-required standardised test. Administered by the exam board OCR. I'm guessing OCRs agreement is something along the lines of OCR turning a blind eye and the school not starting legal action that could run for years and embarrass everyone involved.

  • by margeman2k3 ( 1933034 ) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @05:05AM (#46417029)
    They were caught in October. []
  • by GeekWithAKnife ( 2717871 ) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @05:18AM (#46417075)

    I find it amusing that through the decades and centuries some fundamentalists, religious groups etc simply do everything they can no to not change.

    Resisting change in new and interesting ways. They come up with new counter arguments, new legislation proposals, new interpretations of the same old texts.

    That very same behaviour is evolutionary in nature. We need no other explanation to demonstrate that evolution as a fact is quite well grounded in fact.Sure there are gaps in our ability to explain everything but every time we have stepped forward and discovered something, solved what was thought to be impossible etc the arguments against evolution then evolved with the discovery. Much like the "Irreducibly complex" malarkey.

    So some sect/faction/aspect/cult of Judaism or some other belief want X removed or have removed it from their school. Good. Evolution at work, they are one step closer to removing themselves from the gene pool. While some religious groups may have 11 - 15 kids per family religion overall is in decline.

    We can argue these points on slashdot, religious people can counter argue and millions will read and judge for themselves -all very evolved.
  • I'm fine with this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @05:22AM (#46417093)
    As long as all their examination pupils forfeit the marks from those questions, and if the school's reputation suffers as it slips down the league table, and if the government withdraws all public funding from the school for failing to follow the national curriculum. So if a question was worth 30 out of 200 points then their students automatically lose 30 points, or 15%. Under no other circumstances should they be permitted to take an alternative exam, or pupils be graded for their remaining questions.

    And seriously what the fuck up with the UK and this stupid policy? They could learn a thing or two from the French on this - education should be secular. There should be no religious dress, no segregation by sexes, no exemptions from subjects on religious grounds, no indoctrination into religion and no pandering to the sensibilities of religion in any way shape or form. In the long term this will mean far less religious whackaloons which can only be a good thing.

    • I don't think this school really cares about the league table. People who want to send their children there do not do so because of the tables.

    • There should... no segregation by sexes,

      We do segregation by the sexes just fine in non religous schools, thankyouverymuch. Really: England has many single sex schools.

      Other than that yeah. I hate the pandering where some people get special rights because they profess to believe that they need them.

    • As long as all their examination pupils forfeit the marks from those questions, and if the school's reputation suffers as it slips down the league table, and if the government withdraws all public funding from the school for failing to follow the national curriculum.

      The school is supported by a small religious community that is comfortable in its separation from the modern world ---

      or more precisely, the modern world as the geek chooses to define it.

      I am profoundly wary of using the power of the state bring everyone around to a uniform secularist world-view. In perfect confidence that world-view will be the same as your own world-view.

      It has been tried before, after all.

  • School children should be taught *facts*.

    If it's a religious owned/operated school, save the mythology for the theology class. Be fair, make it a honest comparative religions class, so they can see how their stories compare with the rest.

    For public schools, leave the mythology out entirely, except in the historical context.

    Teaching kids the mythology encourages them to grow up to be adults that believe the mythology. They fail to grow up and learn in the real world there is a cause and effect relationship.

    The last thing I need is someone coming into my office asking for help, and then praying to their deity to solve it. When I fix their problem, they'll thank their deity, who didn't have a thing to do with it.

    I swear, if one more person prays for a fix, I'm going to stop working. Let the deity of their choice fix it, and I'll go helping other people.

    Ya buddy, your deity works in mysterious ways, that's why you still can't log into your email, and your application server is still down. Keep praying, maybe it will miraculously recover. Ha.

  • Ahhhh fuck. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MiggyMan ( 227116 ) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @07:50AM (#46417671) Homepage

    It's spreading, Id rather hoped this kind of shit was going to stay on the other side of the pond :(

  • by Yonkeltron ( 720465 ) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @10:50AM (#46418759) Homepage
    An obligatory disclaimer as an observant Jew, I can think of no one in my social or academic circles who would support or condone such a move. Sadly, the extremists ruin things for everyone.
  • by jfroebe ( 10351 ) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @11:15AM (#46419027) Homepage

    Jewish teaching is all about asking questions. The entire religion is asking questions and challenging the answers. What this school is doing is wrong.

"If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong." -- Norm Schryer