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Thread: Queensland Parents for Secular State Schools

  1. #1
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    Default Queensland Parents for Secular State Schools

    QPSSS was formed out of the Kenmore Atheist Community and is now an independent entity. One of its current programs is to audit state schools for the compliance with with the Queensland education policies regarding religion. You can see some of this work on their face book page: https://www.facebook.com/QldParentsSecularStateSchools

    Here is their "About" section

    Queensland Parents for Secular State Schools

    QPSSS is a movement for parents and other interested persons who would like to see state schools become truly secular as befits a multi-cultural, multi-faith country such as Australia.



    We believe that the current provision of religious instruction, which sees children segregated according to the religious affiliation of their parents, is divisive, fails to acknowledge the diversity in our schools and does nothing to foster mutual understanding and social cohesion. We propose the cessation of RI and the inclusion of general religious education embedded in curriculum subjects such as social studies and/or history and delivered by teachers.

    We also believe that the placement in state schools of chaplains, who are required to profess a religious belief as a condition of employment, is antithetical to secularist principles and that people employed to assist children in need should be first and foremost selected on the basis of qualifications and experience, regardless of religious affiliation or lack thereof. We propose the removal of the chaplaincy program and the re-direction of funds to allow school counselors and guidance officers to be employed for longer hours.

    As QPSSS is not an anti-theist - or anti-atheist - group and makes no comment on the validity or otherwise of faith positions in this forum, we welcome all like-minded secularists. We feel that our children are currently being done a disservice in that their education fails to reflect the reality of, or prepare them adequately for, the society in which they live and which they will inherit.
    "History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government".
    -Thomas Jefferson

    Burden of proof is the obligation on somebody presenting a claim to provide evidence to support its truth (a warrant). Once evidence has been presented, it is up to any opposing "side" to show the evidence presented is not adequate. If claims were accepted without warrants, then every claim could simultaneously be claimed to be true.

    History isn't written by the victors. It's written by the people with the time machines.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Queensland Parents for Secular State Schools

    A very nice mission statement. Well done to them.
    The meaning of your life, is what you choose to make it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Queensland Parents for Secular State Schools

    I like this process they have of assessing individual schools compliance with QED policy on religion.

    https://www.facebook.com/QldParentsS...61860230741937

    Here's another school assessment to break the drought. Hilliard State School is up for scrutiny this time and, well...take a look for yourself.

    Q: Does the school call the program by its correct name 'Religious Instruction'?
    It’s a mish mash of calling it Religious Instruction and Religious Education in a number of places on their website and even within the same document.

    Q: Is the RI program 'opt in' as per Education Qld’s Regulations?
    No it’s clearly opt out!
    From the document Religion Letter as part of the enrolment package- “We require you to please fill in the below section and return to the school ONLY if you DO NOT consent for your child to participate in Religious Education at Hilliard State School.”
    And from the website on student services and support programs- “All children participate in the program unless the school receives a written and signed request from parents (sent to the school office) for a child to be excused from the R.E. class.”

    Q: Does the school let parents know what kind of alternative arrangements are made for children who are not participating in RI?
    From the Religion Letter- “Children who do not attend Religious Education will be supervised and provided with revision work or other suitable activities”
    We hope the school complies with EQ policy that all children not attending RI will be separately supervised in a separate location and not in the same classroom.

    Q: Does the school identify which religious groups are represented?
    Not well enough. What is offered is referred to as Non-Denominational lessons, though there is mention of Christian stories and the Bible in the Religion Letter. We presume this to mean Christian denominations but most people who aren’t Christians wouldn’t know this term and may think it’s education about a number of religions. In the school handbook it says “A dedicated band of R.I. teachers conduct non-denominational Religious Education classes at our school”
    So no mention of the word Christianity in there!
    From the Religion Letter- “Our volunteer instructors deliver non-denominational lessons through the CONNECT program, which is endorsed by our local Ministers Fraternal, and comes under the banner of the Redlands Co-operative Religious Education Program.”
    It’s good they state they use the Connect program but there should be more detail on the churches that are part of the local Ministers Fraternal. Most parents would not know what this means or what the Redlands program is about. Also EQ has NOT approved the Connect program or any other program for RI so this is misleading for parents trying to make an informed decision about RI.

    Q: Does the school identify the volunteer instructors as 'teachers'?
    Unfortunately YES, it’s a mess. They are referred to as both volunteer teachers and instructors, even in the same document.

    Q: Does the school comply with EQ Religious Instruction policy that “State schools respect the background and beliefs of all students and staff by not promoting, or being perceived as promoting, any particular set of beliefs in preference to another”?
    Well it appears only a Christian program is on offer at this school and the school in stating that EQ has approved Connect is concerning and could been seen as promoting the program.
    This school has a Christian chaplain who, as stated in the Religion Letter, “co-ordinates our Religious Education classes”. Included in the list of extracurricular activities held during school hours are SUPA and Blast Clubs run by the chaplain. Both are Christian programs. SUPA Club is the Scripture Union Primary Age Club. Scripture Union is a major chaplaincy provider in Qld and likely the employer of the chaplain of this school.
    Under student services and support programs, the school gives a high five endorsement and promotion to the SUPA club- “SUPA Club operates in Hilliard State School with the approval of the Principal and Education Queensland. Apart from the fun and enjoyment of Bible stories, games, quizzes, craft, music ....... the SUPA Club provides opportunity for children to investigate life’s questions from a Christian point of view.
    “SUPA Clubs operate in primary schools at lunch times or as after school clubs. There are more than 100 SUPA Clubs throughout Queensland. It is part of the world wide work of Scripture Union – an interdenominational Christian movement. Weekend and vacation camps are also held by S.U. Qld”
    We also note from their latest newsletter under chaplaincy news that there will be a parenting seminar presented by a child psychologist specialist. Parents should be informed that this person holds himself out as providing his advice from a Christian prospective so why weren’t parents told this?
    We have said this before, that where there are Christian chaplains, it seems only Christian extra curriculum programs show up in their schools, notwithstanding one of their terms of employment is to respect all faiths.
    We also note that there is a lot of fundraising at this school for the chaplain. We hope that the school makes it clear that any such fundraising is for a religious organisation.
    One School enrolment data for 2014 shows that 85% of students at this school DO NOT identify as Christian. Hmm very interesting!

    QPSSS gives Hilliard State School an "F" - fail.

    Schools that operate under an opt-out system are breaching not only the law and EQ policy but, perhaps more importantly, a fundamental human right to freedom of religion.
    Last edited by DanDare; 3rd May 2015 at 03:06 PM.
    "History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government".
    -Thomas Jefferson

    Burden of proof is the obligation on somebody presenting a claim to provide evidence to support its truth (a warrant). Once evidence has been presented, it is up to any opposing "side" to show the evidence presented is not adequate. If claims were accepted without warrants, then every claim could simultaneously be claimed to be true.

    History isn't written by the victors. It's written by the people with the time machines.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Kilmore
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    Default Re: Queensland Parents for Secular State Schools

    Very interesting, I hope EQ will take some action with this school Principle.
    The meaning of your life, is what you choose to make it.

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