Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Wins In North Carolina School

Nice try, bub/bubbette
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeerwas almost grounded at Murrayville Elementary School this week after a parent complained about the classic Christmas song's inclusion in her daughter's upcoming kindergarten concert. The objecting parent was upset about the words "Christmas" and "Santa" in the song, feeling that they carried religious overtones. That prompted the song to be pulled from the upcoming holiday concert, which in turn upset more parents.

But Rudolph will be shining bright next Tuesday after New Hanover County school administrators and lawyers determined the song was just, well, a secular song about a make-believe reindeer. "They've determined that it signifies just a day in time, Dec. 25, not the promotion of a religious symbol," said Ed Higgins, chairman of the county Board of Education. "So Rudolph is back in."

By all appearances, it looks like the school reacted - it is hard to say "overreacted," considering the hyper sensitive nature of schools and the Christian religion nowadays - then someone in the adult category said "what the hell is the matter with you people? Put the song back in. The children do not care, they just want to have fun doing a freaking Christmas play, not a holiday concert. Sheesh!" Then Ed Higgins made some shat up to placate the Christmas haters. However, the complaining parent does have a slight point
The mother, who is Jewish, said she was trying to have a Hanukkah song added to the musical lineup but had not received a return phone call about it from school officials by mid-afternoon Friday.

If it is a holiday concert, yeah, maybe it should be included.
The objecting parent said that she spoke to Duclos about keeping the program about education and having fun, without any religious references. She sees the beauty in the Christmas celebration, she said, but believes religious holidays have no place in a secular public school setting.

Despite having done it for decades and decades, heck, probably since the school was founded. BTW, I hope the parent is not pulling her child out of school for HER religious holidays. That is not meant as a knock at Judaism, I grew up around plenty of people of the Jewish faith, who would often have days off that I wasn't getting. I simply mean that if the parent doesn't want others to combine religion and school, then she shouldn't let her religious holidays interfere.
"I don't mind Christmas or anything Christmas-related at all, so long as you're not imposing it on my child," the objecting parent said Friday morning.

So, don't have your kid participate. But, sure looks like you do mind.


Australian school in clear over teaching creation

A CHRISTIAN school that teaches a biblical view of creation in science classes has been cleared of breaching state curriculum requirements for the teaching of evolution. The NSW Board of Studies has found that Pacific Hills Christian School at Dural has met its requirements for teaching the science syllabus, including evolution, to years 7 to 10. The board said it had not substantiated a complaint about how science was taught at the school. Its investigation involved an assessment by the school's overseeing body, Christian Schools Australia, and its own inspection of curriculum and teaching materials.

The board's curriculum director was given access to the school's intranet to review the school's curriculum documents. The director also observed several science classes and class work on evolution. The board's science inspector reviewed the school's educational programs for science, including student work samples and assessment tasks. A board spokeswoman said the reports found the school was meeting its science curriculum requirements and this was endorsed by the board's registration committee.

An inquiry by Christian Schools Australia also cleared the school of failing its duty to teach evolution theory appropriately. The head of Christian Schools Australia, Stephen O'Doherty, said: "It was a very thorough process in which the Board of Studies conducted its own inquiries and came to its own conclusions based on empirical evidence, and it is very pleasing that they confirmed the findings that our registration system made."

The original complaint was made by the former president of the Secondary Principals Council, Chris Bonnor. He raised his concerns after he viewed a sample of how science was taught at Pacific Hills on an SBS television program. He said he was not satisfied with the outcome of the board inquiry. "Notwithstanding the extent to which that lesson may or may not be typical of science teaching at the school, I remain concerned that the Board of Studies has not commented on the appropriateness of advice given to students by the teacher in that science lesson. I still want to know whether it is appropriate for a science teacher to exhort his or her students to consider what God's revelation through his scripture shows you, so that you can come to some clear understanding about your view of evolution."

The NSW Greens MP John Kaye said the board's ruling set a dangerous precedent that had "opened the floodgates to a religious invasion of the curriculum". The board had failed in its duty to protect the integrity of the science curriculum, he said. "Every fundamentalist private school in NSW will be emboldened by this decision."

In response, the board said its position on teaching evolution as evidence-based science had not changed and it was satisfied Pacific Hills had complied with its curriculum requirement. The board spokeswoman said: "Parents are entitled to choose schools for their children that support their own beliefs. However, it has been repeatedly made clear to faith-based and other schools that creationism is not part of the mandatory science curriculum, cannot take the place of any part of the mandatory science curriculum, and will not be assessed in the mandatory School Certificate science test."

Mr O'Doherty said Mr Bonnor had misquoted the Pacific Hills science teacher, and Dr Kaye's comments amounted to vilification.


Australia: Private school enrolments rise despite tough times

Strong testimony to what parents think of government schools

DESPITE tough times, Queensland parents are digging deep to send their kids to private schools, with enrolments to rise by up to 4 per cent next year. The public sector is expected to experience only a half per cent rise.

Brisbane mother and doctor Jane Collins says she is fortunate to afford the near-$10,000 fee to send daughter Stephanie to Prep at Somerville House [a Brisbane Presbyterian girls' school] next year. "It's the cost of having the best possible education," she said. The single mother viewed the hefty fees as a critical investment, not a cost. She has set up a fund to bankroll Stephanie's schooling career, believing annual fees will hit $20,000 when the four-year-old reaches Year 12.

The latest estimates from Education Queensland revealed 38,600 youngsters will start Prep in 2009 at a state school. State primary and secondary enrolments will make up about 68 per cent of Queensland's student body, with 306,000 and 174,000 respectively.

A Brisbane academic said the continued growth of private schools was indicative of Queensland's population growth and healthy economy. "(A recession) hasn't hit yet," QUT lecturer and head of economics and finance Tim Robinson said. "In a year's time when the economy slows you may find the drift to private has slowed down." The Catholic sector expected enrolments to rise about 2.6 per cent next year, with the independent sector preparing for rises of up to 4 per cent.

Brisbane Catholic Education spokesman John Phelan said many parents in his sector made huge sacrifices to keep a child in a private school. "(A private education) is often the last thing to go ... it's one of those things parents struggle to keep affording," he said. Mr Phelan said the trend to go private had been gathering pace in Queensland for about 20 years. And while some of the most expensive schools had recently been asked by parents for financial concessions, it was still extremely rare.

Professor Robinson cited 2007 data showing Queensland's 90,000 newcomers were split evenly between international, interstate and newborns. He said southeast Queensland benefited from a particularly strong intake of educated and cashed-up international immigrants.


No comments: