Feb 19, 2018

Age of the Universe presents funding problem in London

According to the Independent, a new clause in the funding contract between schools and the Department of Education is on the brink of causing a crisis.

The relatively new clause says that a school cannot teach any views that are contrary to scientific or historical evidence.

According to the article, Rabbis are concerned that they will not be able to teach issues such as age of the universe in the classic traditional sense of the world being less than 6000 years old as scientific evidence proves the world being billions of years old. Those working on this issue are saying that signing the new contract could be considered heresy.

While nothing in the Torah excludes the possibility of the world being billions of years old, I don't think Jews should be obligated to teach that, as the traditional approach is also valid from a Torah perspective. I doubt they will agree to teach even the possibility of the world being billions of years old.

How this will be resolved remains to be seen. I expect political clout will be used to have the clause removed. I have a hard time believing all Orthodox Jewish schools will forgo all that government funding. I wonder what the relevant Christian schools (the ones that also believe the universe is less than 6000 years old) teach and how they will deal with this issue.



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6 comments:

  1. If the Torah excluded the possibility, it would be שקר, and there would be no point in following it. If it's heretical to believe שקר, I'll be a heretic, thank you very much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eep. "If it's heretical to believe אמת" is what I meant to write.

      Delete
  2. This is a warning to all those who want government funding of religious schools in the US. Money always comes with strings attached. Always. You take govt money, and then they will demand to control the curriculum.

    And this is not even the worst of it. The British Govt has been requiring religious schools to teach acceptance of deviant lifestyles condemned by the Torah. See here:

    https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/2018/02/will-britain-soon-require-religious-schools-to-teach-anti-religious-dogma-about-sexuality/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. in the USA they have a benefit of not receiving any funding directly from the government due to the rules of separation of church and state/ They do receive some funding, but only for certain programs, such as lunches and transportation. maybe some others, but not directly for the studies and the school itself.

      Delete
    2. I live in the US and am a lawyer (albeit a bored one) so I know all that.

      There is a movement to have some version of what is known as the voucher system -- the state gives you a voucher for $X and then you as the parent can spend it in a public, private or religious school of your choice. They already have it in Indiana and a few cities. The Supreme Court upheld it against a Constitutional challenge.

      Politically, it faces stiff opposition from teachers unions.

      My point is that yeshivas need to be very wary. Money comes with strings attached. Take the money today, and tomorrow the state says, you have to teach certain things if you want to keep the money. And
      certain things" may well conflict with what you view as your educational mission under the Torah.

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  3. Yasher Koach, Bored Atty. You are absolutely right!

    ReplyDelete

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