Wednesday 17 October 2018

Parents, not priests, driving segregation

The Irish Times blames religion for segregating Irish children. What about Gaelscoileanna

Eddie Redmayne poses with his Oscar for best actor nominee for his role in
Eddie Redmayne poses with his Oscar for best actor nominee for his role in "The Theory of Everything" at the 87th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 22, 2015
Sarah Carey

Sarah Carey

The movie about Stephen Hawking, for which Eddie Redmayne won an Oscar, is called The Theory of Everything. That's because Hawking solved a big problem in physics by unifying the theory of big things (space) and the theory of small things (atoms) into one single theory. In physics, this was apparently, a very good thing.

Sadly, when theories of everything are applied to society's big problems, they aren't such a good thing. The Irish Times' theory of everything sees religion as the unifying rot behind Ireland's ills. This is a terrible theory. Religion has been the cause of many problems, but when religion is all you can see it becomes a black hole into which all complex problems disappear, and from which no solutions can emerge.

The resulting blind spot was exposed spectacularly last week in a major profile regarding the segregation of Irish primary school children. A survey showed that four-fifths of immigrant children are being educated in just over a fifth of our schools. This means there are many schools with no or very few immigrant children, while others have huge numbers. Apart from the sadness of having children so starkly segregated, this presents significant challenges for those schools trying to shoulder the burden of educating children who might need extra support. What's behind this segregation?

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