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Christmas Greetings

The school year is nearly ended and it’s likely that your desk is filling with cards and messages of peace and good cheer. From AACS we hope that you can close the year reflecting on God’s provisions and hand of guidance and look forward to 2016 with anticipation and the knowledge that God sent his only Son to bring about his redemption plan, of which you are a part.

Also, wishing you a tremendous break over the Christmas holidays. See you in the new year.

The AACS te am – Christine and Martin.

Church of nativity Bethlehem

Welcome to the December AACS Newsletter

Carols are cool in Victoria but not hymns. But what do you do with a carol that is also a hymn? Bizarre new guidelines have descended from on high. The freshness of a new federal minister and some encouraging messages about long term funding and Students with Disabilities (SWD) funding has emerged from Edu cation Minister Simon Birmingham’s desk. The need to secure the finances (in the May budget) and an up-coming election will mean some hard policy should replace the verbal reassurances. The biggest current issue remains matters around discrimination, exemptions and the further squeezing the freedoms for Christian edu cation whether in state schools or our Christian schools. S-xting and por-nography’s impact is also gaining attention. As Principals seek to clear the desk and get home for holidays they might be interested in looking at the findings of the Principal Occupational Well-Being report.

The two must read (if you can’t read all the eNews) articles in this December issue are Paul Kelly’s ‘Same-sx marriage debate’ in the Good Advice section, and David Brooks’ ‘Finding peace’ in the Other Interesting Articles section.

There is no AACS January newsletter so the next AACS eNews will come to you in mid-February.

Martin for eNews

UPDATE

General and Political Update

The new National Innovation and Science Agenda brings new money and programs – beginning in 2016 – that will support STEM edu cation and dig ital literacy. Last Friday’s Edu cation Council meeting saw a push to improve maths and science teaching, “opening the way for new teacher…

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Christian Schools National Policy and National Business Conferences

The following details come from CSA regarding the CS National Policy Conference and National Business Conference coming up next year. Registrations are now open for these Christian School gatherings in 2016. Register before the end of December…

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Carols Yes, but Hymns no – What’s the ‘Thought Police’ Coming to?

The Age (Nov 24) reports that the Victorian Government has released new detailed guidelines for spe cial religious instruction in state schools following the August announcement that Spe cial Religious Instruction (SRI) will be moved from the curriculum to outside of class time. The new rules…

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Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) Results are out

On Monday morning (14 Dec) thousands of Year 12 students were checking their mobile phones as ATAR results were released. ATAR symbolises the conclusion to 13 years of schooling and the start of a new chapter in students’ lives. It is a pity that media…

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2015 Australian Principal Occupational Health, Safety and Well-being Report

The 2015 Australian Principal Occupational Health, Safety and Well-being Report report reveals that more than one-in-three principals surveyed has experienced phy sical viol ence whilst at work this year. The results from this year’s survey show an overall decrease in the safety…

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Positive Comments on Funding Model

It has been very encouraging to hear recent comments from the new Minister about Students with Disabilities (SWD) funding and a desire to establish a national, equitable, consistent and transparent funding model, whilst still acknowledging that the country is facing a difficult budgetary situation. AACS applauds this positive…

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Independent Schools Council of Australia (ICSA) Executive Director

The ISCA Board has announced the appoint-ment of Ms Colette Colman to the position of Executive Director of ISCA. Ms Colman has been acting in this position since July 2015.

OECD 2015 Education at a Glance

A summary of the OECD report provides some interesting insights. Across OECD countries it found that – an average of 5.3 per cent of each country’s gross domestic product was spent on edu…

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Six Religious Non-Government Schools Issued With Non-Compliance Notices

The Federal Edu cation Minister, Simon Birmingham, has issued six non-government schools with notifications of non-compliance following concerns with their financial management and governance arrangements. The Minister stated…

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Four Critical Elements Needed to Create an Outstanding School Revealed

The Educator reported that a group of researchers at Southern Cross University have outlined the four key elements at the heart of creating and sustaining an outstanding school. They are – a principal with drive, determination and…

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GOOD ADVICE

We Need Board Training

School Governance reports (Dec 3) under the title, “Amateurish governance: UK mandates training for school boards, is Australia next?” NSW is ahead of other states here. The NSW government has made it mandatory for non-government school board members to undertake a minimum of 4 hours approved training. CEN is an accredited provider of governance training that meets…

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A Discrimination Case Study – Foundation Christian College

In the November AACS Newsletter I reported on the media storm around allegations of discrimination by a g ay WA father against Foundation Christian College. This situation raises many, many questions about the freedoms Christian school have, policy positions, enrolment practices and the use of exemptions. I have written and distributed an extensive advice paper to all AACS Principals and Board Chairs.

 

 

Tasmanian Test Case

This is a case we will be reporting on regularly both as it unfolds and because it has huge repercussions for religious freedom and Christian schools. There isn’t a lot we can do for the present as the case being heard involves only the parties in conflict. However, as we keep our…

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Same-Sex Marriage Debate Goes to the Heart of our Democracy

In an outstanding article in The Australian (Nov 28) Editor-at-Large, Paul Kelly writes a comprehensive piece that provides a helpful coverage of most of the issues. It is so good that I have reproduced some of the highlights. “The calculated assa ult on freedom of religious liberty in Australia is rapidly…

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Ramifications Beyond Same-Sex Marriage

The Australian ran a number of articles highlighting the importance of this issue. The editorial (Nov 30) titled Debate with ramifications beyond same-sx marriage is a worthwhile read. Its introduction reads…

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Tongue Tied by the Thought Police

In a piece titled, “Tongue-tied by the ‘thought police’”, The Australian Legal Affairs correspondent interviewed ACL managing Director, Lyle Shelton: “This is totalitarian, this is not…

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Reading the Contrary View

The bulk of articles and opinions given in this newsletter are obviously sympathetic to our viewpoint. In order to understand the issues and how we should contribute to the debate it’s important to read the viewpoints of those…

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What will be the Consequences of a Redefinition of Marriage?

In the article below the Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director Lyle Sheldon writes (Dec 8) about the fear of what could follow on from a redefinition of marriage, namely the loss of freedoms that Christian schools presently have. He picks up on recent consequences…

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Free Speech Suffers When the Intolerant Take Offence

Chris Berg from the Institute of Public Affairs wrote an excellent piece in the Fairfax media (Sunday Age Nov 22) regarding free speech and the Tasmanian anti-discrimination case. Here are some…

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Discriminate, but do it Well

Discrimination is such a dirty word. The human rights experts prefer to use Equal Opportunity (EO). Christian schools are frequently accused of being selective ghettos or hot houses of exclusion, using exemptions within Equal Opportunity law to get…

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OTHER INTERESTING ARTICLES

Finding Peace Within the Holy Texts

The outstanding writer David Brooks, a columnist with the New York Times wrote (Nov 17) the following reflection about finding a way forward in an age of religious conflicts. In the context where conflict and terrorism is being blamed…

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Teen Sxting – Not an Issue? What a Lie This is

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) Health Editor Amy Corderoy wrote a disturbing piece (SMH & Sunday Age, 29 Nov) about teenage se xting that used ‘neutral’ data findings to justify se xting as the new ‘normal’ of teenage se xual expression. The article quotes…

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It May be Awkward, but we Need to Talk to Kids About Porn

The Conversation (Nov 26) ran a story on facing up the challenges that ready access to po-rn presents for our students. The viewpoints expressed in the article reflect the concerns of the author like: protecting vuln erable children; ensuring material is…

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Parliamentary Inquiry Into Pornography

It is most pleasing to see that the Australian Parliament recognises the harmful impact that access to pornography is having on young people. In the last sitting days of the Senate this year an inquiry into the impact of pornography on Australian children was unanimously passed. The Environment and Communications References Committee will report in December 2016 on the “Harm being done to Australian children through access to pornography on the Internet”.

Wired and tired: Why Parents Should Take Technology Out of Their Kid’s Bedroom

The Conversation ran an article (Nov 20) encouraging parents to remove technology from their children’s bedroom, as it’s far more conducive to good sleep. The article does not raise the question about parents not having an adequate…

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Chaos When Kids Rule

In a superb little ‘whinge’ article (Weekend Australian – Life, Nov 1) Cathy Rushton, through the eyes of a teacher, reflects on those kids who expect the world but are not interested in doing the ‘hard yards’, and their parents who let them get away with it. Great stimulus for a newsletter editorial…

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Western Civilisation is Under Threat, but not Just From Terrorism

Greg Sheridan in The Australian (Nov 21) reflects on the reasons why western civilisation is under threat. “At the same time, the West is undergoing a genuine civilisational crisis of belief and of governance. This is the first generation in Western history that, substantially, is not sustained by any transcendent beliefs. The death of God is…

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ICT is Failing in Schools – Here’s Why

The Conversation (Nov 19) ran a story on why ICT in schools is not working. “National data released this week confirms an ongoing trend that now sees nearly half of Australian secondary school students failing to meet minimum…

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