Nonsense Bowl: Hazel v. Patrick
Posted by clubsodaandsalt on May 31, 2006
Not to be outshone by the prolific stupidity of her husband, Minister of Education Hazel Manning spoke yesterday about why all schools should be religious, or teach values, or something:
[Minster of Education Hazel] Manning said: “You may not know, but over 75 per cent of the primary schools in this country are denominational schools and that is really very significant. With the establishment of the religious schools over 75 per cent in the primary sector, we have been able to see in the school system emphasis on morals and values and when the morals and values are not there, there are problems in the school system.”
We’ve been able to see morals and values? Well then, let’s Jesus up the schools immediately! It would be nice, Minster Manning, if you could present a SINGLE DATA POINT to back up your thesis. It’s not like you don’t have the data available to you, what with your being the MINSTER OF EDUCATION. But who needs science and analysis when you’ve got the spirit to tell you (hopefully in a dream) that having a crucifix on the wall prevents murder?
Now, I will grant that, in general, the demoninational schools perform better than the secular schools. However, we do not know how much of this is due to selection bias — many of the smartest kids choose to attend schools like Presentation or CIC based on historical performance. Moreover, how much of that is due to the schools being independently run, relatively speaking? For example, when I was at CIC, the vast majority of teachers were non-union, and were, in fact, paid more than teachers at the same level in other high schools. Not only did this mean that the school was less vulnerable to labour actions, but it also allowed it to attract a staff of somewhat better quality, IMO. This has nothing, NOTHING, to do with religion, and everything to do with having less meddling from the MoE in the school’s affairs. I’ll also note that non-Catholic students at CIC received no religious education, and yet — shockingly! — did not go out and murder anyone, and, in fact, generally went on to perform quite well in their exams.
Perhaps Minister Manning should reflect upon the effect of her performance on the school system, rather than foolishly blaming a lack of superstition for our crime problems. If anything, Trinidad has a massive superstition surplus. What we need from our schools is competence.