Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Another attack on Church Schools


From CFNews: In her column in this week's Catholic Herald, Mary Kenny warns parents that they should beware of Ed Balls, the Minister for Children, Schools and Families, who has chosen to attack faith schools. Mr Balls has claimed that dozens of faith schools ask for cash contributions 'upfront' when 'selecting' pupils: that they research the background of pupils in order to covertly 'select' them: and that they go to all sorts of nefarious lengths to break the admissions code. His claims have been widely discredited, and even he has admitted that his data was 'unverified'. It turns out that a handful of Jewish schools and one Anglican school in the London area told parents that some contributions would be needed for religious classes which were not covered by the school budget. But the inaccuracy of his information is not really the point.

The point is that Mt Balls, and his parliamentarian wife, Yvette Cooper, are of the New Labour genre quite determined to destroy faith schools, under any pretext. This is not because faith schools fail - or turn children into the candidates for Time magazine's indictment - but for quite the contrary reasons: because they so often succeed in educational terms. Because they uphold discipline and moral values. And because parents will go to almost any lengths to get their children into these schools. Every educationalist involved in religious-based education should beware of this man. Every parent should be made aware of what his intentions are. A strong defence against Mr Balls's daft and destructive ideas will certainly be required. After all, he doesn't care if he goes down in history as the Minister who made British youth worse: so long as he achieves his desired object to control and destroy' [Catholic Herald]

'Near-criminal attack

Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, has carried out a 'near criminal' attack on high-performing faith schools, according to a leading Labour MP. Frank Field, the former welfare minister, said Gordon Brown's closest colleague was 'ranting' and using the row to position himself for Labour's 'next leadership contest'. His attack, in an article in today's The Sunday Telegraph, comes as Mr Brown's government faces Labour revolts on the abolition of the 10p tax rate and plans to 'privatise' welfare policy. Mr Field takes Mr Balls to task for his comments after many faith schools were found to be breaking admissions rules, including asking parents for financial donations. Mr Balls said the schools' activities were 'unacceptable'. Mr Field writes: 'Ed Balls's recent attack on faith schools [was] not simply incomprehensible, but near criminal. The PM … must rein him in. A rant against faith schools may be good for positioning a candidate for the next leadership contest but it is deeply damaging to a government that is trying to prevent itself being confined to a political life-support machine.' Mr Balls, widely seen as the Prime Minister's right-hand man, has come under attacks which are viewed by many MPs as coded assaults on Mr Brown. [Sunday Telegraph]

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen