August 3: School Governance weekly school wrap

AUSTRALIA

Scientologists send M-rated anti-psychiatry DVD to primary schools
According to ABC News, the Victorian Government has advised school principals to ignore materials sent from the Church of Scientology, after schools received DVDs and pamphlets warning of the dangers of psychiatrists and antidepressants.  The church sent the “glossy material” and an M-rated DVD titled Psychiatry: Friend or Foe? to various schools in Victoria and New South Wales.

The two groups of people who must act to engage our students
The Advertiser wrote about South Australian students who are disengaged and have no interest in learning.  After surveying 43,000 students, the SA Department of Education found that 46 per cent of students were “poorly engaged” in class.  This dangerously low level of engagement is showing results.  According to one OECD study, about 44 per cent of Australians do not have a “proficient” level of literacy and when it comes to numeracy, 53.5 per cent of Australians are not proficient.

Gold Coast school ‘tricked’ into allowing anti-vaccination film screening
ABC News reported about a Gold Coast principal being “hoodwinked” into hiring out his government school hall for screening a controversial anti-vaccination documentary. The Queensland premier said “my preliminary advice is that there has been some misrepresentation to the school in question. They conveyed to the principal that it was to be conveying information about organic produce … We are incredibly strong about the need for people to be vaccinated, especially children.”

Donations and sausage sizzles raise $33.4 million for Victorian public schools to cover funding shortfall
According to the Herald Sun, Victorian state schools pocketed around $33.4 million in donations from parents, businesses and the public last year to cover a funding shortfall in government school funding.  Data released under Freedom of Information laws, show that Victorian schools received on average $22,370 in donations last year.

ACT Education Directorate launches occupational violence policy
The Canberra Times reported about the Australian Capital Territory’s Education Minister expecting a rise in reports of assaults after a new policy was released outlining the Education Directorate’s commitment to ending occupational violence.  Around 700 Canberra public school staff reported incidents of verbal or physical violence in 2015-16.  Other figures show that over the last 5 years, the Education Directorate had to pay out almost $6 million in compensation for physical or psychological injury.

 

INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand: Auckland school hires first-ever Maori language teacher
Stuff.co.nz reported about an Auckland school hiring its first ever te reo Maori teacher in its 147 year history.  Last year the school decided to make te reo Maori a compulsory subject for all year nine students and optional for year 10 students.

New Zealand: New Zealand to drug test high school rugby teams
The Guardian reported about how drug testing of its leading New Zealand high school rugby teams in a move to address concerns about doping infiltrating junior rugby teams.  Drugfree Sport New Zealand said it had information which indicated “a significant potential for doping to occur” with the school rugby environment.

USA: Man accused of kidnapping student loses teaching license
According to the National Post, the Tennessee Board of Education revoked the teaching licence of a man who caused a nationwide manhunt after running away with a 15-year-old student.  The teacher filed paperwork stating pleading not guilty to charges of taking a minor across state lines for sex, and obstruction of justice.

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