November issue of the Spark online

By now a number of readers may have seen a letter that originally appeared in Northern Outlook, a small North Canterbury paper. In the letter Jasmine H, a 14 year old home-schooler, articulates her view that the legalisation of equal marriage, and with it a greater acceptance of homosexuality, will lead to ducks overtaking humans on the evolutionary ladder- not that she believes in evolution. The letter, humorous in its absurdity ended up onNew Zealand blogs Kiwiblog and Bipolar Bear and then spread to US based blogs including IO9 and The Huffington Post.  Coming full circle the letters international notoriety was then covered in The Press.

Unfortunately for the parents of home schooled children, the letter hardly paints the practice in a positive light, what good is home schooling if children learn to believe things that are demonstrably false? Of course, not all home schooled children are taught creationism and homophobia. Besides, whatever one’s views on home schooling, welfare reforms that will require beneficiaries to have their children in school and early childhood education should be opposed on the basis that they unfairly target one section of society- these education requirements are not being placed on parents who obtain income though any other means. Barbra Smith of the Home Education Foundation examines this in more depth in an article we have printed in this issue of The Spark.

We also look at the colossal failure of computer security at the ministry of social development, examining what went wrong and why it matters, as well as how one beneficiary activist has reacted to the news. We print a talk given in Wellington by Kassie Hartendorp on the topic ‘Women Class and Revolution’ and ask the question, do we need a rethink on how we view domestic labour? On top of all this, we bring you the past months industrial news (including the possible reintroduction of youth rates) and an article critiquing charity as a solution to child poverty.

Spark November 2012

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