British government forces Jewish schools to teach evolution, blocks Hebrew as a languageBy Mason White 2:07 PM March 11, 2013
|Hasidic school children|
By: David Ross
The British government has ruled that publicly funded Jewish schools must teach evolution, cannot teach that God created the world and removed Hebrew from a list of supported languages.
British Education Secretary Michael Gove has defended the government’s decision not to include Hebrew as one of the officially recognized languages for primary education.
In a letter to Jonathan Rabson, the executive director of the National Association of Orthodox Jewish Schools, Gove said that he realized that this would be disappointing news.
But he added: “I would like to assure you that I continue to support the work you do, including the teaching of Hebrew as an integral part of your school philosophy.”
Despite strong protests from Orthodox Jewish schools, the Council of Representatives, the Alliance for Schools of Jews and others, the Government remained committed to its plan for primary schools. The government provided a list of seven languages: German, Italian, Spanish, French, Mandarin, Greek or classical Latin.
While schools are free to teach any language, some Jewish schools claim they cannot teach Hebrew along with another language. Some Jewish schools in recent years have introduced Hebrew at the insistence of Jewish leaders,although some managed to teach a European language along with Hebrew.
While the national curriculum is only binding on schools who receive public funding, the Education Department has also made clear that new free schools must teach evolution.
A Department of Education spokesperson said: “All free schools, including religious schools, have to offer a broad and balanced curriculum and as part of that the school must teach evolution, as set out in the funding agreement. Moreover, as all public schools, free schools are not allowed to teach creationism as scientific fact.”