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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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Gillard and Labor suffer another education policy collapse

Usually it takes me a while to find a story to  write about but this morning it was right there as the lead news item in the Age (my first port of call in the morning) :

Click for source

Click for source

Well who is surprised that Labor’s scheme is falling in a heap now? when this wild idea was first mooted I had my doubts and It is now clear that I was right to be cynical that Labor was incapable of both delivering on their promise and that promise being properly maintained. of course this will come as something of a body blow to Gillard’s very long campaign. However I just can’t help thinking that  at this rate of revelations and bad news  Labor will be out of puff entirely by about a week after next Tuesday. As the annoying demtel ads would ask “how low can they go?” frankly I can’t believe that any government could be so stupid/incompetent  to devise a program that leaves parents in the lurch and obliged to buy or lease the laptops that Labor was insisting would be “free” to every high-school student  way back in 2007.

As is often the case technology has moved on as well and now the device that would be more  useful to high-school students would be a tablet computer that has all of the heavy and cumbersome  text books available in the form of Ebooks  these devices have no moving parts to fail (and need for maintenance )  and a more intuitive user  interface  heck they are even cheaper than laptops…

So what are we as parents and voters to take from this very expensive policy failure? Probably that it is folly for a government to make ostentatious promises when it comes to technological devices used in education because you can bet that the hardware will cost more than expected do less than the geeks claim and become obsolete in  a political heart beat. For the Labor true believer it is just another reason to despair as there is no doubt that  the opposition will make much of this failure in the long campaign we face between now and September 14.

Cheers Comrades

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Aiming for excellence

Its an article of faith for many to say that more education for young people is always a good thing and in the workplace and the jobs market qualification for so many positions are ever increasing. in Fact I have mocked this trend for its conceits and emptiness on several occasions. So I find it quite refreshing to see a piece in today’s Age that points out the social folly of keeping the academically less gifted in education beyond the point where our society gets any benefit.

According to a 2000 survey conducted by the Australian Council for Educational Research and the federal government, 35 per cent of state school students completed year 12 in 1984. By 1994 the number of students completing year 12 had risen to 74 per cent.

No doubt, encouraging children to stay at school is enormously beneficial for the individual and society, but it also leads to some students continuing with school when they probably would have been better off leaving earlier and doing something else.

The point that’s often missed by social commentators is that the ugly side of schoolies is largely due to the behaviour of students who performed poorly in year 12. It’s the kind of student who repeatedly neglects homework and refuses to attend after-school detentions because they work up to five nights a week.

I suspect these underperforming and disengaged students are behind the interstate schoolies shenanigans that we see on news bulletins.

It is these borderline ”toolies” who don’t have much to celebrate at the end of the school year other than perhaps a bare pass that the media tends to focus on.

Hard-working sensible students who prefer to celebrate the end of their secondary schooling in a less sensational manner receive no media attention. One of my year 12 students plans to catch up with her girlfriend for an all-night horror film fest at home. Another student said that she’d ”rather have a quiet time with some mates, just enjoying each other’s company, maybe go on a road trip”. She went on to explain that ”schoolies is no longer a celebration of finishing high school, but another excuse to get drunk and party all week”.

Schoolies has become an ugly affair partly because there are far more kids completing VCE these days – many of whom shouldn’t be there. For these kids, schoolies is nothing more than a dead-end rite of passage for a dead-end education.

source

In an age when our governments are struggling to find adequate resources to properly fund education maybe the time has come to do a little judicious pruning and encourage those less academically gifted to leave school sooner rather than later because if they are not actually learning they make it more difficult for those that are to excel.

Cheers Comrades

My bold in quote

The Greens get a taste of political reality…

Its one of life’s great ironies that so many of the Greens  come from the more affluent strata of our society and that many of them have enjoyed the fruits of private education yet their party has been fiercely opposed to any contribution to private schooling from the public purse, Maybe its because they feel guilt about their histories  personal privilege and seek some sort of socialist atonement by becoming such fervent advocates for public schooling. One can only speculate about how the Greens supporters will react to the party now deciding to soften their position on education funding in the wake of their trouncing in state and territory elections:

Click on top search result for source

Personally I think we are seeing a rather desperate rearrangement of the deckchairs on the party liner and those of us who are happy to see this party of religious zealotry about “climate change” and deep left ideology brought low think that there may be a better way:

After-all don’t those pesky Greens believe in composting and  recycling?

Cheers Comrades

 

“This is Australia, we speak ENGLISH here”

As a parent there is nothing more useful and informative than your child’s report card  because it lets you know where your offspring are succeeding and more importantly what part of their education needs further effort. As such I welcomed the introduction of NAPLAN testing because its nationally consistent methodology and its easy to comprehend reporting does a good job of telling parents where our children stand in relation to their fellows on the all important skills of literacy and numeracy I also like the fact that this is a test for which there can be no “cramming”. Which is why I found the piece in today’s Age rather strange:

click for source

I can’t help but think that Kevin Pope is entirely divorced form the real world and far too hung up with the ideology  of multiculturalism which seeks to accommodate new arrivals from other cultures rather than help them become part of the greater Australian  society. Kevin clearly needs to realise the same simple truth that my late  father in law used to enunciate to his mother when she would speak to him in their native Dutch “This is Australia, we speak ENGLISH here”  because there is no escaping the fact that all new arrivals and for that matter all indigenous people for whom English is a second language, will not find a fruitful life unless they are competent  in English. Language competency is the core business of our schools and If Kevin Pope can’t deliver that or at least give delivering that his best shot then surely he has no business being in the teaching game at all.

Cheers Comrades

”So there is no question of injustice to public schools here. If anything, the injustice is the other way.”

I’ve been laid a bit low of late with the sadly not unusual back pain and of course it does tend to blacken one’s mood and it also tends to make me rather indifferent to some of the machinations of politics at present . The latest news poll shows that Labor have marginally improved their standing with the voters by a minuscule 2% to a 2PP  35% while some of my friends from the left see this as “The tide turning” I can’t help just feeling sorry for those poor desperate and deluded souls who think that Gillard can possibly get the voters to listen too her let alone decide to give her their votes again. Those same friends  from the left are getting very excited by this story getting a  run in the Fairfax press  and they seem to me to missing the point that Tony Abbot was making about the Government  funding per student definitely being in favour of the students in public schools. This is what he said:

Addressing a meeting of the Independent Schools Council of Australia yesterday, Mr Abbott stressed the Coalition’s opposition to the Gonski review’s recommendation to overhaul school funding.

”Overall, the 66 per cent of Australian school students who attend public schools get 79 per cent of government funding,” he said. ”The 34 per cent of Australians who attend independent schools get just 21 per cent of government funding.

”So there is no question of injustice to public schools here. If anything, the injustice is the other way.”

source

Its the old story of a politician making a factual observation of the way the figures present themselves and then being pilloried because our pals from the left  are riven with class envy and they resent the fact that the parents who want to send their children to private schools see any of the cost of doing so supported by the state.  That is the crux of lefties resenting private schools, its envy pure and simple.
Personally I send my two to state schools and I am quite pleased with the results that  they are getting academically even though I have some reservations about some of the social sciences in the curriculum they can be addressed with parental input.
So does Abbott’s observation mean that he is committing a government led by him to slashing funding for the state  sector to address the suggested injustice? Not in a million years I reckon. Now every parent or former parent who cares about the education of young Australians would like to see our children getting the best possible education but we also have to be totally real here in our expectations. Not every child is capable of being “rocket scientists” and my guess is that many have no desire to strive for  the lofty heights of a tertiary education either. Frankly I think that we are getting to the point where we face diminishing returns when it comes to sending an ever increasing percentage of our young people to universities or other institutes of higher education because all that achieves is more prerequisites for lower skilled professions (an Idea I explored here)
So what of the Gonski report I hear you thinking?
Well I am waiting to see what sort of dogs breakfast Gillard makes of that  and just where they think the  money is going to come from before I pass judgement on it. Going  by Labor’s record on getting things like this right  I won’t hold my breath in the hope of a good out come well at least not until a change of government that is..
Cheers Comrades

 

The lefty who doesn’t want poor young mothers to finish school

 

These poor women should not be made to complete secondary school!

 

I thought that lefties strongly believed in education, partly because it’s a way for poor people to improve themselves and their lot.

But it seems I may be wrong, after Jeremy Sear expressed his disgust that government welfare policies will now encourage young mothers from disadvantaged areas to finish secondary school:

Thank God we’re finally going to cut poor teenage mothers off welfare if they won’t find the magical time they don’t have to do Year 12, so their children can grow up in cardboard boxes while their mums go to school. And until they get the message, they and their children can starve…

Those darn people poorer than me. Man, it’s just so satisfying making their lives more difficult, isn’t it?

Anyone who believes in education for all would not think that making these young mums finish school is about “making their lives more difficult”. The benefit of finishing secondary school is obvious to anyone familiar with the realities of the labour market, where almost all employers prefer to hire candidates who have successfully completed their secondary schooling. Furthermore, the benefits of having superior literacy and numeracy, as well as a basic understanding of subjects such as science or history are also obvious.

But not obvious to Jeremy it would seem. Jeremy would presumably prefer young mums to be paid sit-down money and not have a future by obtaining a proper education.

Jeremy’s claim that children would “grow up in cardboard boxes” is another claim which shows just how out of touch with reality he is. In reality, most of these young mums will have parents of their own who already play an active role in the children’s upbringing. Those grandparents look after the kids when their mums go out partying with their friends. Young mums in low income families will also qualify for JET childcare, which means that they will be paying next to nothing for quality care for their young kids.

As a result, it is absurd to claim that this policy is about increasing the suffering of young parents.

What an ignorant, misinformed rant by Jeremy on this occasion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The end of air travel

I am delighted to announce that there will be no further air travel and that all aircraft will be decommissioned and used for other more socially beneficial purposes. The story I quote to day give just one example of how these death traps of the sky can be put to good safe use.

The safe way to use an aircraft, as a class room.
The safe way to use an aircraft, as a class room.
Back a bit, back a bit. The plane is edged gingerly past the glass windows of the school
Back a bit, back a bit. The plane is edged gingerly past the glass windows of the school

Head teacher David Lawrence said the plane will be fitted with its wings and kitted out with whiteboards, desks and laptops to make it a ‘user-friendly learning space’ for a class of 30 pupils.

Of course this decision will be something of an inconvenience for those who will become unemployed as a result But the leaders of the G20 (who are responsible for the decision) have released a statement to the effect that  that the reality of climate change has made this decision absolutely imperative.

Well how about that ? An end to air travel and politicians being honest for once.
Cheers Comrades
😉

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