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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.

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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:

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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:

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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.”

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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

 

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