Mr Norman said the ethics course represented only a narrow stream of philosophy and was not widely representative of modern philosophical ethics. “The writer of the report of the ethics trial, Sue Knight, reported that even principals were concerned that there were ‘no right and wrong answers’.
“The Ethics course is not a complement to SRE because it is premised on the view that there is no higher authority. The highest authority is the democratic decision of students in the classroom. No wonder than that even the report writer discovered that school principals said it was without a moral compass.”
Mr Norman said the Ethics course had no connection with a faith story with primary school students expected to make complex decisions about issues without a history that revealed decision making, a guiding story that embodied the practical consequences of a faith. The foundations of the ethics course are opposed to people of faith because the philosophic model begins with the idea children know right from wrong. All the educational psychologists acknowledge that children grow in understanding.”
The Presbyterian Church in NSW is calling on the government to meet with SRE providers to discuss the roll out of the ethics course so the fiasco of this year was not repeated. “The Presbyterian church also calls on the government to make sure that it does not financially support the St James Ethics Centre either directly or indirectly,” Mr Norman said. The Presbyterian Church has trained and provided volunteers to teach SRE without cost for more than 100 years.”