Some parents around here are up in arms about the sudden axing of the Steiner education stream which has been maintained at Footscray Primary school for the last few years.
Footscray Steiner parents, I am sorry to hear that this was done so suddenly, and – according to newspaper reports – in such a cackhanded way. The program should have been phased out gracefully over another year, allowing parents to plan and children to transition more easily.
On the other hand, the situation should never have arisen because a Steiner stream should never have been allowed into a State primary school in the first place.
Public education was supposed to be free, secular and compulsory. The “secular” part is under siege, as it is, from Liberal government initiatives to put chaplains in schools and to force them to accept religious education classes, often by dubious practitioners. Steiner education is based on a kind of quasi-religious “spirituality” (I’d say “the random thoughts of an early Twentieth Century German crank”, but let’s go with that), and as such it drives the non-secular wedge in a little further. What’s the argument against having a Scientology stream if we allow this in our schools?
A Steiner parent at Footscray Primary was able to have a complaint about the Steiner annexe closure published in the Opinion page of the AGE, no less, by a prominent grandparent. This was published soon before the National Day of Action for public education, but the article made no mention of this. Come November 15, it would have been wonderful to see famous grandparents protesting about the ongoing defunding of public education in the AGE editorial, but there were none. Public education really needs defending in Victoria; it’s an inestimably valuable public good which we take for granted and fail to properly appreciate.
Educate your child at a Steiner school if you must, but keep religion and “spirituality” out of our Government school system, please.