Tuesday, October 14, 2008

UK's Largest Teachers' Union Lobbies to Legalise consensual Sex with older Students

Criminalizing otherwise legal sex because one of the parties is a teacher does seem anomalous

The largest UK teachers' union wants the government to decriminalise sex with students who are over the legal age of consent. Chris Keates, the general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), said that teachers who have sex with pupils over the age of consent should not be placed on the sex offenders register. Keates called prosecution for statutory rape "a real anomaly in the law that we are concerned about."

NASUWT complained that media reports had misrepresented their position. "To describe the NASUWT's comments on this as 'teachers want the right to bed pupils' as one report has done, simply for pointing out an anomaly which criminalises a teacher but would leave any other adult free from prosecution for the same type of relationship, is a travesty."

Gregory Carlin, however, a child protection activist and head of the Irish Anti-Trafficking Coalition, said that such ideas were another sign of the erosion of legal protections for young people against exploitation. "If the NASUWT philosophy has its day," he said, "exploiting a 16 year old in a brothel would carry no extra penalty." Under the same logic, he said, "Jail guards would be able to take their pick from their charges and foster parents would be spared prosecution for having sex with foster children."

In an official statement dated October 6th, Keates said, "From the time the Sexual Offences legislation was first drafted in 2001 the NASUWT consistently raised the significant anomaly within its provisions. A teacher having a consensual relationship with a pupil over the age of 16 on the roll of the school in which they teach is liable under the Act to prosecution and being placed on the sex offenders register. "However, if the same teacher has a consensual relationship with a young person of the same age who attends another school they would not be prosecuted or classed as sex offenders."

Carlin told LifeSiteNews.com that Keates "knows what she was asking for," which is simply to "legalise sex crimes." List 99 is a secret register of men and women who are barred from working with children by the Department of Education and Skills. Carlin said, "Thousands of teachers are referred to List 99 each year, most of them from the NASUWT. In fact, the referrals doubled between 2003 and 2005."



Three current articles below

Greater serve of history in national curriculum

History lessons will be soon be compulsory for every Australian student until the end of Year 10 under radical national curriculum proposals. The Rudd Government is pushing for extended and compulsory history subjects across Australia as educators survey a generation of students with "gaps in their history". The National Curriculum Board will this week unveil its proposals to transform history, science, maths and English subjects in our classrooms from 2011.

Arguably the most controversial of these reforms is the content and structure of history taught to students from Cape York to Perth. The NCB proposes the subject become compulsory and stand alone with about 100 lessons a year from Years 7 to 10, and a "distinctive branch of learning" constituting 10 per cent of all primary class time. The NCB also suggests what and when matters of ancient, modern, Australian and world histories should be learned by students.

Currently most Queensland schools teach history to Year 10 as part of the studies of society and environment (SOSE) subject, which also integrates geography and social studies. Less than half of Australian students now learn history as a stand alone subject.

The radical reforms were formulated by a 10-strong advisory group containing Brisbane Girls Grammar School head of history Julie Hennessey, and led by University of Melbourne Professor Stuart Macintyre. Professor Macintyre said many high school leavers now had "gaps in their history" and were "not aware of major topics". "History should be taught as history because the skills of historical understanding and the importance of historical knowledge are not being given as important a place in the timetable," he said. The proposals draw heavily from Monash University's National Centre for History Education.

A NCB spokesman said the reforms could be modified at an educators' forum in Melbourne on Wednesday, before being placed on the NCB website for "public discussion" from November 2008 to February 2009. The changes to history, science, maths and English curricula - forming the first national curriculum - will then be trialled for two years before implementation in 2011. Future science students are set to learn about cloning, stem cell research and hybrid cars.


Curriculum to scale back Australian history

The emphasis on teaching Australian history in recent years will be scaled down in the national curriculum, as its initial draft, to be released today, outlines a course that places the national story in the context of broader global events. The draft says restricting the study of history to Australian history is inappropriate, and while it retains an important place in the national curriculum, knowledge of world events is necessary to understand the nation's history.

The national curriculum stems the push to privilege Australian history, which culminated in the call by the Howard government to make the study of Australian history compulsory in Years 9 and 10. "If only to equip students to operate in the world in which they will live, they need to understand world history," the draft says. 'History should have a broad and comprehensive foundation from which its implications for Australia can be grasped."

The lead author of the draft, Melbourne University history professor Stuart Macintyre, said yesterday the push to cement Australian history in schools had left the position of world history unclear in curriculums. "To think one can study Australian history in isolation is a bit short-sighted," Professor Macintyre said. "There was a concern ... that it was solipsistic and not conducive to understanding Australia and its place in the world. "I think there is very broad agreement that, while all Australian students should learn Australian history, we don't really do our duty to them unless they study other history as well."

The draft curriculum proposes history be compulsory for all school students until the end of Year 10, and introduced as a distinct subject in primary school. Professor Macintyre said having trained history teachers was crucial to implementing the curriculum, and attention should be given to the history education given to student teachers.

The draft curriculum outlines a sequential study of world and Australian events based on factual knowledge and the skills to "think historically" or analyse events in a course that spans from the earliest human communities to the Industrial Revolution to the dismissal of the Whitlam government and the Iraq war. The draft, described as initial advice to the National Curriculum Board, was developed by a group of historians and history teachers led by the Left-aligned Professor Macintyre, whose appointment was criticised as being provocative by the conservative side in the history wars.

The broad aim of the curriculum is to introduce students to world history from the time of the earliest human communities, and to have an appreciation of the major civilisations that have existed in Europe, Asia, Africa, America and Australia.

In primary school, history should occupy at least 10 per cent of the teaching time, covering student family histories in the early years to allow students to make connections between their past and that of others. In middle and upper primary school, students would study the history of their local community and key national events such as the significance of Anzac Day, migration, "contact to 1788", and the early years of the colony. In Years 11 and 12, history would be optional and offer more in-depth study in ancient, modern and Australian history.

The draft proposes extension studies, such as those offered in NSW, that allow students to explore traditions of historical research and writing, including debates between historians through the ages. The draft curriculum emphasises the importance of factual knowledge in history, but says historical thinking and the skills of historical inquiry are just as important.


Prominent conservative says Australian kids should learn about British history

OPPOSITION frontbencher Tony Abbott wants school students to study more British history, saying Britain has shaped the world and should get the credit for it. The National Curriculum Board today will release a draft curriculum which places a greater focus on world events in history classes.

Mr Abbott said he was in favour of world history but said the focus should be on Britain. "People have got to know where we came from, they've got to know about the ideas that shaped the modern world, and in a very significant sense, the modern world has been made in England," he said in Canberra. "I think (the curriculum) needs to be history that pays credit where it's due." "We are a product of western civilisation, in particular we are a product of English-speaking civilisation." History classes should start with the history of the Jews, then move on to the Greeks and Romans, then the history of Britain, Mr Abbott said.

Mr Abbott, the shadow indigenous affairs minister, did not mention Aboriginal or Asian history. When asked specifically about Aboriginal history, Mr Abbott said that could be studied too. "That's a part of it, sure, but if you want to understand modern Australia, you've got to understand world history," he said. When asked about Asian history, he said that was important, but it was important to know where we came from.


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