I realised that there was an opportunity to publicly review the work of the Churches Education Commission through a local Google listing. I asked parents and interested parties from the Secular Education Network to post their reviews on the CEC listing. It was a great way to show them exactly what people thought of their “privileged” access to children in our non-religious state primary schools.
They quickly went from a 5-star review to a 1.6 star listing after the barrage of complaints that followed. You can see some of the 1-star reviews they received here.
For a business that gets genuinely bad reviews like these ones, the best option is to face them head on and respond to the reviewer honestly and defend their position if they can or try to make amends if they can’t. But the CEC didn’t respond that way. They responded by telling Google that the office had closed and removed the listing. Google apparently didn’t believe them as the listing quickly reappeared.
I thought that they would eventually realise they hadn’t got away with this trick. Sure enough, after a couple of weeks, there was suddenly a heap of 5-star reviews appearing on their Google listing within the space of 24 hours. It seems that the CEC had put out a distress call to their member churches! The good people of SEN countered with a few more reviews of their own but they were quickly being removed from the listing, probably in response to CEC complaints to Google. Not only was there no good reason to get the reviews removed but the 5-star reviews they were receiving were coming from their own staff and church volunteers involved in children’s ministry. This is a conflict of interest and against Google’s Contributed Content Policy. It’s pretty dishonest behaviour from people who are supposedly teaching our children “Christian values” but this is the sort of blatant lies and hypocrisy we have come to expect from them.
Don’t believe they could be that sleazy? Here’s the proof below… (fact-checked on 9th April 2018) – Nice of them to give us more examples of their flexible “values”!
In case you think I’ve been unfair in “outing” these people, all of them are already publicly named on either the CEC team page or their respective church or religious organisation websites. These are only a few of the 5-star reviews given. There were many others who I identified as members of the same evangelical Christian groups who put church volunteers into primary schools.
Stephanie Sewell gave herself 5-stars as the National Director of the Churches Education Commission. She has asked their member churches to “…own your local primary school…”.
Raewyn considers that she is “helpful and well thought of” while reviewing herself in her role as the volunteer Chaplain at West Harbour Primary School. She’s a Pastor at Westgate Baptist Church in Auckland.
Abbey Reeve was giving herself 5-stars as the “Volunteer & Resource Development” person for the Churches Education Commission.
Heidi Burger was giving herself 5-stars as the “Finance & Events Manager” for the Churches Education Commission.
Claire Wyeth gave herself 5-stars for working in “Children’s Ministry” through the Church of the Saviour.
Andrew Ramsbottom gave himself 5-stars for “supporting children’s ministry leaders” and getting “… children and families to know God…”. Andrew is the Auckland Children and Families Consultant with Scripture Union New Zealand.
CEC 1 star reviews
The following are reviews submitted to Google about the Churches Education Commission. Most are from parents who have had direct experience of the coercion and discrimination that religious instruction in state primary schools brings. The CEC are the main providers of religious instruction in NZ primary schools, otherwise known as Bible in Schools.
Extremely underhanded and dishonest group who try to indoctrinate your children into modern evangelical Christianity under the guise of ‘Values’ education. Manipulative and very focused on converting children as easy targets for their frankly horrific ideology. If you are unfortunate enough to have them in your school, remember that the school HAS to be shut for the period they are present and that attendance is not compulsory. However, there is at least anecdotal evidence that they will ignore opt-out where they can get away with it, so be wary. Also be aware that they may have allies in the teaching staff who will make sure that alternative activities for those who do not participate are not, how shall I phrase this… enjoyable or entertaining.
If you are concerned about their presence, speak to your board of trustees.
Evangelism loosely masquerading as “values”. They have unrestricted access to young, impressionable minds and teach the word of “God” as fact. How this is legal is beyond me.
The CEC believes that your child’s soul needs saving. One of their “teachers” repeatedly approached my 6 year old daughter in the playground, saying he couldn’t tell her the “secret of life” unless she came to the classes we opted her out of. The classes are purported to be values-based, but the intent is to evangelise your kids.
Disingenuous organisation that attempts to evangelise your children, beware of these guys!! They will get into your school under the guise of ‘values’ and do not respect other religions (or lack thereof) I am all for religious education, RE that teaches children about world religions and faiths so cultures an understanding and tolerance of diversity but these guys aim to indoctrinate to Christianity – which is why they aim their programme at vulnerable young primary school children, who still believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny – which I assume they see as an easy target. Leave the kids alone!
An institution that systematically lie to our children, teaching hatred and segregation, violate our basic human right of freedom of religion.
They stealth evangelize children in state schools
An evangelical organisation that has blatantly referred to our state primary schools as a ‘mission field’, targeting children from new entrants onwards for indoctrination into the Christian religion.
Be aware that they do NOT teach about other religions, it is solely about proselytising the Christian religion under the guise of values which are already part of the curriculum.
Ask your school if there is a values or religious classes, check them out, they are not compulsory so do not be afraid to remove your child. It is your right.
A disgusting dishonest organisation who use a legal loophole to gain access to children without their parent’s informed consent.
None of their course material is approved by the Ministry of Education and their “values” programme is nothing more than a platform for extremist religious evangelism.
This is not religious education or values, it is Christian Evangelicalism which has no place in NZ’s secular state schools. You are required to ‘opt’ your kids out, if you’re told it is happening, and the school is technically closed as this evangelising is illegal while the school is open. Children who are opted out are often bullied for not praying to Jesus and because they will go to hell. Kids are coerced back with lollies and because no kid wants to be different or have to pick up rubbish, do extra work or sit alone. CEC misrepresents it’s purpose to gain access to kids in their mission to influence developing and trusting minds.
In my dealings with CEC I have found that it is not the children that need to be taught “Values” but the adults involved in CEC and their supporters. CEC has a proven track record in dishonesty and manipulation. Don’t put up with it or be apathetic, get them out of our children’s schools.
Churches have no place in schools. Leave our kids alone.
Child indoctrination, please stop.
Has no place in NZ public schools.
Religious brainwashing of kids is criminal.
Very cagey to deal with. Would not provide course information after promising to do so. Seeks to evangelise children within primary schools under the misleading guise of “values education”.
Pushing Christian values on primary school aged children is not good. Let people choose to have a faith after they are old enough to make an informed decision.
I have no problem with religious education, I do have a problem with one view being pushed as the only correct one. CEC is the latter. That’s what faith schools are for, this has no place in a secular education system based on knowledge, choice, and becoming independent discerning learners whose faith is rooted in their own individuality and reasoned decision based on how they see the world. Any religion pushing their view undermines the core ideas of choosing good and choosing to be the best person you can be. It’s also against the values in the NZ curriculum.
Discriminatory indoctrination with hidden agenda. Avoid if possible.
Backdoor indoctrination under the guise of values study. Not an organisation that is open about what their mission is in schools.
Sneaking into schools to fill gullible minds with christian religious misinformation is so not cool. It’s not “values”, the real teachers do a great job of teaching that already
Charlatans masquerading as teachers. Trying to indoctrinate children into Christianity through schools.
Such a dishonest group, invading classrooms telling the students about God’s love, Jesus and the threat of an eternity of hell, while disguising themselves as a general values course. This group has no place in a secular school system.
Do not trust the CEC with your kids. Their volunteers try to enter primary schools to promote “values” but are actually trying to convert your children via Christian evangelism, otherwise known as “Bible in Schools”. They teach that God is real, Jesus is his son and that God made your kids and the earth. IT IS NOT JUST A VALUES CLASS. The kids are also invited to pray to god. Some syllabuses they’ve used also encourage children to give money to the church and promote god to their friends.
If you have bible classes in your school, the school is required to “close” for the duration of the class and your children are not required to attend. Their classes are not approved by the Ministry of Education. Don’t give them access to your kids!