|Making Sense of Making Space, Giving Voice|
Sean Murphy, Director
CCRL Western Region
1. Settlement Agreement between Murray Corren and Peter Corren (Complainants) and Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of British Columbia, as Represented by the Ministry of Education (Respondent), 28 April, 2006. (Hereinafter “The Agreement”).
2. "The parties will attempt to negotiate a mutually agreeable public statement about the terms of resolution of the complaints. If such agreement cannot be reached on or before May 31, 2006, the parties may issue their own respective public statements. The parties further agree that they will not publicly discuss the settlement of the complaint, including the terms of settlement, prior to May 31, 2006." Article 5, The Agreement.
3. Ministry of Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism, Information Bulletin, 1 June, 2006, New Curriculum to Help Students Explore Social Justice
4. "There's no point in us making the curriculum more queer-positive," said Peter Corren, "if people can take their kids out." Quoted in Luymes, Glenda, "Hooky touted for anti-gay parents: Trustee claims Education Ministry policy on opting out takes away 'freedom'". The Province, 12 September 12, 2006
5. "We wouldn't have worked for 10 years to sell out for something as minor as just a simple elective course," Murray Corren told the Vancouver Sun. He considered other curriculum changes and "tougher limits on parental rights to remove their children from classes teaching 'sensitive content'" far more important than the proposed elective. Steffenhagen, Janet, “Schools Go Queer: Gay guarantee for provincial curriculum. Contract assures same-sex couple will have unprecedented influence over B.C. curriculum.” Vancouver Sun, 16 June, 2006. Accessed 2006-12-21
6. Ministry of Education, Draft Curriculum and Curriculum-related Documents: Public Review and Feedback. Accessed 2007-10-31. The original deadline was one month. (E-mail to the Catholic Civil Rights League dated 10 October, 2007, from Pierre Gilbert, Manager, Content and Achievement Standards Unit, Ministry of Education.) Janet Steffenhagen noted the first response date (1 November, 2007), in a Blog entry describing her conversation with the Minister about Making Space, Giving Voice. She later updated the entry. Steffenhagen, Janet, “Update on BC teachings About Maher Arar.” (Posted 30 October, 2007, 3:13 pm) The Report Card: An in depth look at the BC education system. Accessed 2007-10-30.
7. In contrast, the Ministry allowed four months for public response to the draft Social Justice 12 curriculum, which will affect only the Grade 12 students who choose to take it. Ministry of Education, Draft Curriculum and Curriculum-related Documents: Public Review and Feedback. Accessed 2007-10-31
8. Learning outcomes are said to be the "legally required content standards for the provincial education system [that] define the required attitudes, skills and knowledge for each subject.” The Ministry claims that they set out, “in measurable and observable terms” what students should “know and be able to do by the end of the course." Ministry of Education, Province of British Columbia, Social Justice 12 Integrated Resource Package (Draft: Fall, 2007), p. 5, 21
9. “Drawing upon the BC Performance Standards for Social Responsibility, Shared Learning: Integrating Aboriginal Content K-10, Diversity in BC Schools: A Framework, and Safe, Caring and Orderly Schools: A Guide, among other resources, the Respondent will develop guidelines to assist teachers in delivering the K-12 public school curriculum so as to enhance social justice, respect diversity and achieve equality for all learners (“Delivery Guidelines”) The Respondent will consult with stakeholder groups, including experts in social responsibility issues, and with the Complainants in developing the Delivery Guidelines. The Delivery Guidelines will be completed and distributed throughout the public school system in September,2007.” The Agreement, B.4.
10. Making Space, Giving Voice, p. 22
11. “. . . there are moral and legal, human resource and financial reasons for honouring diversity and promoting human rights. Diversity in BC Schools: A Framework (2004), p.7
“The Ministry of Education has been guided by legislation in setting standards and articulating policy for the school system. These standards and policies provide guidance to school boards and schools for addressing diversity as they deliver educational programs.” Diversity in BC Schools: A Framework (2004), p. 15
“Boards of school trustees, school district officials and other school leaders have a unique responsibility and challenging duty to address increasing diversity in both the educational and operational aspects of schooling.” Diversity in BC Schools: A Framework (2004), p. 23
“How have decision-makers established school board/school standards to ensure that policies and procedures are followed and that all people are accountable for adhering to them?” Diversity in BC Schools: A Framework (2004), p. 24
12. See, for example, Rau, Krishna, “Fighting the religious bully in schools, Part II: Religious leaders want public funding for own schools & influence over public schools.” Capital Xtra, 22 February, 2007. Accessed 2008-01-11
13. Making Space, Giving Voice, p. 45
14. Government of Canada, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Report of the Events Relating to Maher Arar (2006), p. 13-48. Accessed 2007-10-31
15. Testifying before the US House of Representatives foreign relations committee, Rice stated, “We do not think this case was handled as it should have been. . .Our communication with the Canadian government about this was by no means perfect. In fact, it was quite imperfect.” Koring, Paul and Fenlon, Brodie, “U.S. Arar ban stays even as Rice admits errors.” Globe and Mail, 24 October, 2007. Accessed 2007-10-31
16. Steffenhagen, Janet, “Update on BC teachings About Maher Arar.” (Posted 30 October, 2007, 3:13 pm) The Report Card: An in depth look at the BC education system. Accessed 2007-10-30
17. Illustrated by the observation about the complexity of human behaviour, as exemplified by the application of the standards to evaluate public figures. BC Performance Standards- Social Responsibility: A Framework (2001), p. 5. This is not to diminish the value of the guide in providing a means to identify and describe conduct that significantly exceeds or falls short of an accepted standard.
18. Making Space, Giving Voice, p. 47
19. Ministry of Education, Prescribed Learning Outcomes: Biology 11 and 12 (2006), p. 18-20. Accessed 2007-10-23.
20. The mucus pattern is a result of cervical function and, from a reproductive perspective, is related to sperm survival and transport. (See, for example, Morales P., Roco M., Vigil, P. Human cervical mucus: relationship between biochemical characteristics and ability to allow migration of spermatazoa. Hum Reprod. 1993 Jan;8(1): 78-83) Perhaps unexpectedly, a lesson on natural family planning would conform completely to the prescribed learning outcomes, while a lesson on reproductive technology would not.
21. Ministry of Education, Prescribed Learning Outcomes: Science 9(2007), p. 30 () Accessed 2007-10-22
22. Canadian law permits experimentation and manipulation of human embryos up to 14 days gestation (Assisted Human Reproduction Act, Section 5(1)d). For the application of the term “early embryo,” see Ronan O'Rahilly and Fabiola Muller, Human Embryology & Teratology (New York: Wiley-Liss, 2001), quoted and cited extensively in Irving, Diane, "A One-Act Drama: The Early Human Embryo:'Scientific' Myths and Scientific Facts: Implications for Ethics and Public Policy. Medicine and Human Dignity" International Bioethics Conference, 'Conceiving the Embryo.' Centre Cultural, Woluwe-St. Pierre, Brussels, Belgium. Sunday, October 20, 2002 (9:30 A.M.) Revised 23 October, 2002. Accessed 2007-10-22
23. Making Space, Giving Voice, p. 39
24. Murphy, Sean, The Goose, the Gander and the Elephant.
25. BC Performance Standards- Social Responsibility: A Framework (2001), p.4, 139, 141, 142 (Cited or quoted in Making Space, Giving Voice, p. 13, and Diversity in BC Schools: A Framework (2004), p.17) “A sense of ethics” is another of the warm, fuzzy and impressive-sounding phrases that the Ministry passes off as “clearly stated and expressed” and “measurable and observable” standards.
26. Making Space, Giving Voice, p. 14, BC Performance Standards- Social Responsibility: A Framework (2001), 142. At first glance, this invites the conclusion that the Ministry has very low expectations of students, since “a sense of ethics” appears to refer only to some general awareness of right and wrong. However, a closer look at the context shows that what is offered by the Performance Standards is a truncated and superficial understanding of ethics that limits its application to “valuing diversity and defending human rights” and “solving problems in peaceful ways.”
27. Making Space, Giving Voice, p. 39
28. Making Space, Giving Voice, p. 47
29. The numerous references to “ethics” are consistent with the conclusion that the Ministry intends to impose some kind of ethical view.
30. School Act, Section 76 (1): “All schools and Provincial schools must be conducted on strictly secular and non-sectarian principles. (2) The highest morality must be inculcated, but no religious dogma or creed is to be taught in a school or Provincial school.”
31. Singer, Peter, Practical Ethics (2nd Ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993, p. 3; Kreeft, Peter, Fundamentals of the Faith. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1988, p. 74-80. On line (Chapter 11) as “The Uniqueness of Christianity.” Accessed 2007-11-08
32. Benson, Iain T., “There are No Secular "Unbelievers." Centrepoints #7, Spring 2000, Centre for Cultural Renewal.
33. The distinction between ethics and morality is mainly a matter of usage. Recent trends identify ethics as the application of morality to a specific discipline, like medicine or law. In a broader and older sense, ethics is concerned with how man ought to live, while the study of morality focuses on ethical obligations. See the entry on “Ethics and Morality” in Honderich, Ted (Ed.) The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (2nd Ed.) Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
34. Lewis, C.S., The Abolition of Man: Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools. New York: MacMillan Publishing, 1973, p. 40. The Abolition of Man is on line. Accessed 2007-11-08
Thinking charitably of the authors, whose work he was about to critique, Lewis referred to it by a pseudonym, The Green Book. It has been identified as The Control of Language: A critical approach to reading and writing, by Alex King and Martin Ketley (1939). Redeeming Reason: A Conference of Intentional Christian Scholars in Conversation with the Secular Mindset. Accessed 2007-11-08.
35. “The question of neutrality has been profoundly obscured by the mistake of confusing neutrality with objectivity... neutrality and objectivity are not the same... objectivity is possible but neutrality is not. To be neutral, if that were possible, would be to have no presuppositions whatsoever. To be objective is to have certain presuppositions, along with the manners that allow us to keep faith with them.” Budziszewski, J., “Handling Issues of Conscience.” The Newman Rambler, Vol. 3, No. 2, Spring/Summer 1999, P. 4.
36. Including notions of more or less “privileged” groups. Making Space, Giving Voice, p. 7. Teachers are acknowledged to be “privileged” in relation to their students. Making Space, Giving Voice, p. 10
37. Making Space, Giving Voice, p. 68
38. “Authority” in Honderich, Ted (Ed.) The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (2nd Ed.) Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
39. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1897
40. Environmentalists worried about things like industrial practices or genetic manipulation of crops will recognize its kissing cousin, “can = should.”
41. Making Space, Giving Voice uses the term only with respect to vegetarianism. Making Space, Giving Voice, p. 18, 26
42. Arendt, Hannah, “Ideology and Terror: A Novel Form of Government.” The citations and quotes attributed to her are from this chapter, which was added to the 1958 edition of her book, The Origins of Totalitarianism, which was published seven years earlier. Accessed 2007-11-08
43. Consider, for example, the themes of power and control reflected in the philosophy of the McMaster University School of Social Work: “As social workers, we operate in a society characterized by power imbalances that affect us all. These power imbalances are based on age, class, ethnicity, gender, geographic location, health, physical ability, race, sexual preference and income. We see personal troubles as inextricably linked to oppressive structures. We believe that social workers must be actively involved in the understanding and transformation of injustices in social institutions and in the struggles of people to maximize control over their own lives.” (http://www.socsci.mcmaster.ca/socwork/) Accessed 2007-11-13