Home » Australian Politics » If Gonski is the answer what is the question again?

If Gonski is the answer what is the question again?

The Gonski agenda is core business to rebuild Gillard's personal profile. During the next month she has the chance to alter the atmospherics with the Easter break, an official visit to China and the Gonski deal. There is one certainty -- a Gillard media onslaught next month focused on her ability to deliver. If she cannot do a street walk she can still attend plenty of schools.Gillard's remarks yesterday betrayed her huge reliance on the Gonski agenda to salvage her fortunes. She comes with buckets of hope and swinging a big stick. Gillard told the premiers they must "stop the cutbacks" on school funds, demanded they apply an annual indexation factor for schools of at least 3 per cent, tied Gonski to her Asian Century plan of expanded opportunity and repeated her aim that Australia by 2025 penetrate the top five school systems in the world.Gillard sees education as her strength. Her record, however, is far more dubious. It is vital that this debate be focused on results, not just financial inputs. Gillard must be forced to explain how her policies and funds will change classroom culture and arrest the documented Australian decline in standards when significant funding increases in past years have been linked with falling quality. (click for source)

The Gonski agenda is core business to rebuild Gillard’s personal profile. During the next month she has the chance to alter the atmospherics with the Easter break, an official visit to China and the Gonski deal. There is one certainty — a Gillard media onslaught next month focused on her ability to deliver. If she cannot do a street walk she can still attend plenty of schools.
Gillard’s remarks yesterday betrayed her huge reliance on the Gonski agenda to salvage her fortunes. She comes with buckets of hope and swinging a big stick. Gillard told the premiers they must “stop the cutbacks” on school funds, demanded they apply an annual indexation factor for schools of at least 3 per cent, tied Gonski to her Asian Century plan of expanded opportunity and repeated her aim that Australia by 2025 penetrate the top five school systems in the world.
Gillard sees education as her strength. Her record, however, is far more dubious. It is vital that this debate be focused on results, not just financial inputs. Gillard must be forced to explain how her policies and funds will change classroom culture and arrest the documented Australian decline in standards when significant funding increases in past years have been linked with falling quality. (click for source)

Beware of the pork when it is promised for delivery after September 14 and take with a very large grain of salt  any promises made in the next  budget because the underlying assumption inherent in any Labor promises no matter how grand or generous,  that they will be around to deliver on them is not to be believed by anyone with this in mind I am rather cynical about the so called Gonski reforms.  In particular I object to the drivel preached in the TV adds sponsored by the teachers union that suggest that if only more money is spent  on special attention for those children struggling with literacy then they will “get it” and magically become successful at their studies.

To my mind its just a total denial of the reality that not every child can be a great scholar.   No amount of money and special  coaching will  change that simple fact. Its obvious to me that what Gillard is trying to do is butter up the parents of those underachieving students with the false hope that Labor can buy their children academic adequacy. Add to that the inherent politics of envy that sees so many socialists resenting the fact that many parents choose to send their children and that those parents are just as entitled as the poorest of the poor to expect some government contribution towards the education of their children.  It all adds up to a flurry of half truths and false hopes of academic excellence from all sides of the political spectrum.

Why False hopes you may ask?

Well no matter how much we help the prospects of those who are “lagging”, no matter how much we try to leave none behind there will still be  a world out there where every member of the next generation will have to compete with  for their place in the economic machine. No amount of delusional dodo race thinking, so beloved of the left, is going to help the children of today compete in the economy of tomorrow.  All that will be achieved at a social level by spending ever more on educating our young people will be an ever expanding education industry  and the goal posts for entry into  every job or profession moving ever further away.

Cheers Comrades

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14 Comments

  1. Brian says:

    In particular I object to the drivel preached in the TV adds sponsored by the teachers union that suggest that if only more money is spent on special attention for those children struggling with literacy then they will “get it” and magically become successful at their studies.

    The teachers’ unions, their obvious self interest aside, are one of the best organisations to provide information about what is needed in our school sectors. As for students “magically becoming successful”, no, that won’t happen. There is no magic in education, only processes and hard work. Parents play just as big a role in this as teachers and schools. And no, not all students succeed. The issue is whether there can be better outcomes for students (and consequently, the workplace and the economy) than is currently the case.

    To my mind its just a total denial of the reality that not every child can be a great scholar.

    Nobody is denying that reality at all and you are building a straw man if you claim otherwise. Education reform is about doing things better and improving opportunities for kids, not trying to turn them all into mini Einsteins. Of course some students will fail and leave the system barely literate. Someone has to read the Herald Sun after all.

    Its obvious to me that what Gillard is trying to do is butter up the parents of those underachieving students with the false hope that Labor can buy their children academic adequacy.

    And it’s obvious to me that the parents of most underachieving children are probably directly responsible for their underachievement, by not taking an active interest in their child’s education and/or not supporting the child’s educators. Education is a partnership between parents, schools and teachers; the government’s only role in this is to provide and organise resources.

    All that will be achieved at a social level by spending ever more on educating our young people will be an ever expanding education industry

    “Ever expanding education industry”? You speak like teachers and academics are in education just for the money, to milk it and rort it and turn it into some gigantic cash cow. What an insult to the many fine teachers I know, some of whom give up better paying jobs because they have a genuine interest in the development and the future of young people. You should be ashamed for publishing these slurs, just to score a cheap political point.

    By the way, your post is full of grammatical errors, missing words and unclear phrasing. Maybe you could find an English teacher in the “ever expanding education industry” to help you tidy it up so it makes better sense.

  2. Iain Hall says:

    Brian

    The teachers’ unions, their obvious self interest aside, are one of the best organisations to provide information about what is needed in our school sectors. As for students “magically becoming successful”, no, that won’t happen. There is no magic in education, only processes and hard work. Parents play just as big a role in this as teachers and schools. And no, not all students succeed. The issue is whether there can be better outcomes for students (and consequently, the workplace and the economy) than is currently the case.

    Teachers are far too close to the issue to provide any sort of dispassionate appraisal of what is needed in education and the teaching unions have one primary purpose for which they were created and that is advocate fro the best benefits to their members that they can get out of management, their campaign on the Gonski thing is certainly dressed in the virtues of doing more for struggling students but that is the window dressing and the substance here is more resources means more money for teachers.

    Nobody is denying that reality at all and you are building a straw man if you claim otherwise. Education reform is about doing things better and improving opportunities for kids, not trying to turn them all into mini Einsteins. Of course some students will fail and leave the system barely literate. Someone has to read the Herald Sun after all.

    Yes Brian and those who attend to their lessons will become readers of the Age or the Guardian :roll: all joking aside my argument is based entirely on the messages in the campaign that are being fed to us on a daily basis.

    And it’s obvious to me that the parents of most underachieving children are probably directly responsible for their underachievement, by not taking an active interest in their child’s education and/or not supporting the child’s educators. Education is a partnership between parents, schools and teachers; the government’s only role in this is to provide and organise resources.

    Tend to agree with you that parents have a big role to play in the education of their children but I can’t accept your claim that the the only role of government is to provide money.

    “Ever expanding education industry”? You speak like teachers and academics are in education just for the money, to milk it and rort it and turn it into some gigantic cash cow. What an insult to the many fine teachers I know, some of whom give up better paying jobs because they have a genuine interest in the development and the future of young people. You should be ashamed for publishing these slurs, just to score a cheap political point.

    I don’t see calling something an industry is in anyway derisory, its just an apt description of the whole education enterprise. Nor is it necessary to remind me just how dedicated most teachers are as my wife has been a teacher for more than twenty years. That said you yourself acknowledged that there is an element of self interest when teachers campaign for schemes such as this one.

    By the way, your post is full of grammatical errors, missing words and unclear phrasing. Maybe you could find an English teacher in the “ever expanding education industry” to help you tidy it up so it makes better sense.

    My posts are all subject to revision and corrections are made if and when I see the need to do so, in fact you will see that I have made some changes in the light of this comment.

  3. deknarf says:

    The trouble with pork Iain is that it comes from both sides of the political divide. After September 14 you may find that the alternative pork is a bit like camp pie — full of gristle and not very nutritious!
    While I may not entirely agree with Gonski and also agree that some children’s potential is not going to be of genius quality, I still think that children should be educated to maximise their potential. That isn’t happening at the moment and it should!

  4. Iain Hall says:

    Oh I agree with that Deknarf I know that the Gonski scheme is much lauded by the usual suspects but as the chances of Gillard being re-elected are essentially stuff all the merits or otherwise of the scheme are entirely a moot point aren’t they?

  5. Peter Dippl says:

    Brian said
    “And it’s obvious to me that the parents of most underachieving children are probably directly responsible for their underachievement, by not taking an active interest in their child’s education and/or not supporting the child’s educators. Education is a partnership between parents, schools and teachers; the government’s only role in this is to provide and organise resources.”

    As the husband of a teacher with near 40 years in the game I can only agree with every word you said here. Of all the conversations we have had over the years this point probably comes up the most.

  6. deknarf says:

    I think the election is on September 14 Iain. When the voting count shows that the NO Coalition has won then I’ll be in a position to concede that the neo-con, pseudo Tea Party, free marketeers have succeeded in their attempt to turn Australia into a tragic shade of the very worst of the US of A>
    And we talk about class, and rich and working poor here? We ain’t seen nothing yet!!
    I’m just pleased that I’m in the demographic that the NO Coalition considers their electoral base!

  7. Brian says:

    And anyone who’s ever spent any length of time in a classroom will say the same thing, Peter. Too many parents take only a passing interest in their kids’ education and expect schools to take up their slack. If there’s one common factor in under-achieving students, it is the utter indifference of their parents towards their education.

    Iain, your use of the word “industry” to describe education is both incorrect and insulting to those who work in it. The purpose of an industry is to manufacture something to sell in order to make profit. The purpose of education is to teach, develop and equip children for their future. In terms of what they do and why they exist, there is no comparison to be made between the two.

    While I am not completely in agreement with the Gonski proposals, I am quite certain that education funding in this country needs a good frisking and then a solid commitment from both federal and state governments. There are dozens of schools that are critically underfunded and unable to scramble together the resources for even a basic education, let alone one suitable for the digital age. Unfortunately the prevailing view among some conservatives is that education receives enough funding, which is patent nonsense.

    Iain, your view on this just seems to be dictated by your prime directive: hate all unions and the ALP in equal measure. I think I’d rather hear what your wife has to say, to be honest.

  8. Iain Hall says:

    Brian

    Iain, your use of the word “industry” to describe education is both incorrect and insulting to those who work in it. The purpose of an industry is to manufacture something to sell in order to make profit. The purpose of education is to teach, develop and equip children for their future. In terms of what they do and why they exist, there is no comparison to be made between the two.

    Your definition of “industry” is not at all adequate for this day and age Brian. An industry does not have to manufacture something tangible nor does it have to “sell” its product for a profit education is just like any other service industry and its practitioners are no more or less noble than any other person who does their job with diligence.

    While I am not completely in agreement with the Gonski proposals, I am quite certain that education funding in this country needs a good frisking and then a solid commitment from both federal and state governments. There are dozens of schools that are critically underfunded and unable to scramble together the resources for even a basic education, let alone one suitable for the digital age. Unfortunately the prevailing view among some conservatives is that education receives enough funding, which is patent nonsense.

    Well that begs the question of just how much funding will be enough doesn’t it? I think that in real terms those in the industry would not be satisfied with a doubling of funding. I think that we a reaching a sort of education saturation point now and the push to have ever more of our children go to university is just expensive madness. Do you really think that we need to have our Plumbers to have a PHD? or for the chap on the council mower to have a degree in horticulture? Or the person taking your order in a restaurant having a food service degree?

    Iain, your view on this just seems to be dictated by your prime directive: hate all unions and the ALP in equal measure. I think I’d rather hear what your wife has to say, to be honest.

    I don’t hate either the ALP or Unions Brian I just think that both have gone past their use by date. As for my wife well she does not offer opinions on this blog, its just not her thing at all.

  9. Craigy says:

    Unfortunately Brian, Iain is right about the education ‘industry’, but this attitude is mainly infecting higher education and TAFE, with a focus on overseas students to make up the funding being eroded by successive governments. I believe high schools are now also chasing fee paying students from OS to boost their income.

    Where Iain’s argument goes of the rails, is when he states that he thinks that ” not every child can be a great scholar” as a reason why we don’t need to worry about those who aren’t so great at school.

    The problem with this thinking is the change in the kinds of jobs available in this country. Employers now demand a higher level of literacy, not just for white collar jobs but even to get an apprenticeship in a trade these days. To get just about any job, even some laboring jobs, you need to go to TAFE and do some study. The unskilled jobs are fast disappearing. So to compete in the future they will need to come out of high school with a good basic education….

    Important subjects for the future are things like language and computer skills, our system is way behind when it comes to these and others.

    A recent study (can’t remember which one) showed just how far behind Asian and American teaching we are in many fields, especially math and sciences. These subjects are needed not just for academic study but to be successful in many TAFE courses and apprenticeships.

    In days of old parents could be advised that little Johnny should leave school at 15 and go and learn a trade, that’s impossible these days unless they can read and write, know some math and basic science and have computer skills beyond just loading up ‘world of warcraft’.

  10. Craigy says:

    off the rails…..typo sorry…I hope it’s the only one, we are talking education after all!

  11. Brian says:

    Your definition of “industry” is not at all adequate for this day and age Brian. An industry does not have to manufacture something tangible nor does it have to “sell” its product for a profit education is just like any other service industry and its practitioners are no more or less noble than any other person who does their job with diligence.

    So you believe that a person who stands on a production line and assembles widgets should be on the same footing as the person who teaches your children? Therein lies the problem with you conservatives Iain; you think of human beings as “resources” or “capital” and not simply as human beings.

    Well that begs the question of just how much funding will be enough doesn’t it?

    Well that is at the crux of this debate: how much funding and how should it be deployed. Just about anyone of any note in this debate believes that education is critically underfunded and in need of greater investment. But by your account, any Gonski funding promised by the ALP to fill up that shortfall would be nothing more than pork-barrelling.

    Do you really think that we need to have our Plumbers to have a PHD? or for the chap on the council mower to have a degree in horticulture? Or the person taking your order in a restaurant having a food service degree?

    That takes the issue way off track and to a ridiculous place. Gonski is not about forcing blue collar occupations to have university degrees. I’m not sure how you think this is part of the current debate.

    Unfortunately Brian, Iain is right about the education ‘industry’, but this attitude is mainly infecting higher education and TAFE, with a focus on overseas students to make up the funding being eroded by successive governments.

    Yes Craigy, higher education has had to sell its soul to remain viable. But that doesn’t change the fundamental role of education, which is to educate and develop young people, not produce units or make money.

  12. Iain Hall says:

    Brian

    So you believe that a person who stands on a production line and assembles widgets should be on the same footing as the person who teaches your children? Therein lies the problem with you conservatives Iain; you think of human beings as “resources” or “capital” and not simply as human beings.

    Well in many ways I do think that everyone is equal and that the production line worker and the job they do is no less important than any other job that another person may do. It is the essence of being truly classless to see all work being equal in its nobility no matter how humble or how specialised it may be.

    Well that is at the crux of this debate: how much funding and how should it be deployed. Just about anyone of any note in this debate believes that education is critically underfunded and in need of greater investment. But by your account, any Gonski funding promised by the ALP to fill up that shortfall would be nothing more than pork-barrelling.

    You see the problem with teachers and those in the industry have a vested interest in the “game” as you call it do have a horse in the race so they are not really the best opinions on the matter.

    That takes the issue way off track and to a ridiculous place. Gonski is not about forcing blue collar occupations to have university degrees. I’m not sure how you think this is part of the current debate.

    There is an ever increasing push to get more and more high school students to go on to further study which means that the issues I allude to starts with the way that the curriculum is structured in high-school.

  13. Brian says:

    Well in many ways I do think that everyone is equal and that the production line worker and the job they do is no less important than any other job that another person may do.

    Are you seriously trying to suggest that the person who collects your rubbish or makes your pizza is performing work of equal importance to the person who teaches your child how to write, or the physician who performs surgery on your child? Pull the other one Iain. People may be equal in politics and before the law, but that’s where it ends.

    It is the essence of being truly classless to see all work being equal in its nobility

    But we are not classless, nor can we be. Or are you some kind of raving Marxist now?

    You see the problem with teachers and those in the industry have a vested interest in the “game” as you call it do have a horse in the race so they are not really the best opinions on the matter.

    And who are the “best opinions”? Yours? Tony Abbott’s?
    If you’re going to discredit or disregard the opinion of every specialist or professional or expert on the basis of self interest, then you might as well not listen to anyone.

    There is an ever increasing push to get more and more high school students to go on to further study which means that the issues I allude to starts with the way that the curriculum is structured in high-school.

    There is no push whatsoever for “plumbers to have PhDs”. Trades are learned by and large by the same methods they have always been learned: through apprenticeship and on the job training. Yes, there is more of a theoretical component now, but that’s fair enough too. People in the food industry must have food handling and safety qualifications, but these courses are based on common sense more than anything else. Your suggestion that the current system tries to push more kids into university education is not grounded in fact.

  14. Iain Hall says:

    Brian

    Are you seriously trying to suggest that the person who collects your rubbish or makes your pizza is performing work of equal importance to the person who teaches your child how to write, or the physician who performs surgery on your child? Pull the other one Iain. People may be equal in politics and before the law, but that’s where it ends.

    If I need my rubbish removed then the person removing it (me actually, as we don’t get rubbish collected here)is important, If I hunger then the pizza man (me again) If I need a surgeon the he(or she will be important, but NO one is of greater or lesser value dependant upon their profession.

    But we are not classless, nor can we be. Or are you some kind of raving Marxist now?

    No just an egalitarian old school hippie I suppose.

    And who are the “best opinions”? Yours? Tony Abbott’s?
    If you’re going to discredit or disregard the opinion of every specialist or professional or expert on the basis of self interest, then you might as well not listen to anyone.

    You know very well Brian that as an autodidact I am rather unimpressed by any deference to “experts”

    There is an ever increasing push to get more and more high school students to go on to further study which means that the issues I allude to starts with the way that the curriculum is structured in high-school.

    There is no push whatsoever for “plumbers to have PhDs”. Trades are learned by and large by the same methods they have always been learned: through apprenticeship and on the job training. Yes, there is more of a theoretical component now, but that’s fair enough too. People in the food industry must have food handling and safety qualifications, but these courses are based on common sense more than anything else. Your suggestion that the current system tries to push more kids into university education is not grounded in fact.

    While my “Plumbers with PHD’s” thing is a bit of hyperbole it is not that much of an exaggeration either Just look at what you need to go into any trade these days and what was required just twenty years ago and you will see that the trend is as I suggest.

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