Tag Archives: Education

Garrett in the news again

THE launch of the Gillard government’s revamped My School website could be delayed for months after Schools Minister Peter Garrett was forced to concede that financial data for some private schools contained serious errors.

The much anticipated new version of the website, which was due to go live today, will not be launched until next year, Mr Garrett has confirmed.

Simply amazing that he is still a minister of the crown.


Education watch

Julia Gillard on ABC has trouble convincing Lyndal Curtis the the ALP education policy is original.

LYNDAL CURTIS: But you’re introducing the same element of compulsion that the Howard government proposed on transparency.

JULIA GILLARD: No, we’re introducing a very different system. And the important difference, the most important difference to understand is this. The Howard government went to State and Territory Governments and said, we want transparency in order to hold you up to public ridicule and to play a political blame game. We want transparency to help batter Labor Governments around the country.

A few points, Julia
1 The Howard government didn’t say that,
2. It wasn’t their intent, and
3 They were trying to do what you say you are trying to do.

There is no question that what Rudd and Gillard are trying to do has some merit, as most Coalition policies have merit, but the telling point is will the states and territories roll over for the Feds?

The local ALP boys run the education systems and the teacher’s unions and members are a part of their power base thus it’ll take a lot of beating over their respective heads with baseball bats before they come to the party. Transparency is not a natural policy of the Left and the Left lead the state’s debate on education.

Once again, just because Rudd has said it will happen, that it is his plan, doesn’t make it so.

Good idea, good luck!

Gillard blames Howard for skills drop

EDUCATION Minister Julia Gillard has blamed the Howard government for a decline in the literacy and numeracy standards of Australian students.

Fair enough. Her team won the election and thus have sledging rights but I do think it’s a bit simplistic. The Federal Government’s main input into education is funding the states who then apply the funding as they see fit. Or, rather, as the Teachers Union see fit. This left wing union and the state Labour Government’s have more say in class room teaching than the Federal Government and until Julia speaks of setting the agenda herself then there will be no change.

To be quiet honest, even if she does set the agenda herself I’m willing to bet there will still be no change.

True, Howard tried to influence the school system, the suggested History curriculum comes to mind, but he didn’t get far.

It will be interesting to see where the ALP go on education. “Lap Tops for everyone, lunches for free” type of policy does need some fleshing out.

The Australian Education Union tells lies

THE Australian Education Union (AEU) is simply lying. In it’s add currently showing on TV they claim Howard ignores public school education.

Just to have it on record on this site I quote the Australian

The campaign mirrors a $1 million advertising blitz by the AEU against the Government at the last election, urging a boost in funding for public schools. But what both union campaigns failed to mention is that public school funding is a state responsibility. The federal government does provide the majority of taxpayer funding for non-government schools, as the state governments do not fund the private sector. But overall, government schools receive a higher level of government funding than private schools.

Sixty-seven per cent of students are in government schools that receive 75 per cent of total taxpayer funding. And under the Howard Government’s funding formula, which is based on income demographics for the school catchment, the poorest non-government schools can receive a maximum of 70 per cent of the taxpayer funding provided per government school student, with a sliding scale down to a minimum of 13.7 per cent.

The AEU campaign conveniently leaves out the fact that commonwealth education funding to government schools has increased by 120 per cent since 1996, while enrolments have risen by 1.1 per cent over that period. And it must be remembered that the state funding for public schools comes largely from commonwealth grants.

They lie, it was ever thus

Rudd now wants to join the education debate

At a seminar in Brisbane earlier yesterday with education spokeswoman Jenny Macklin, Mr Rudd challenged John Howard to a national debate on education

We’ve been having a national debate on education for some time now. It has centred on the ALP’s left wing attitudes to teaching and will most probably continue for some time. I note Western Australia has been forced to abandon their policy in light of all the flack it received for it’s discredited outcomes-based education; but behind this weeks headlines announcing the abandonment this article in the West Australian reveals the OBE mob are fighting a rear guard action and so far they have only abandoned the policy implimentation for year 11 students.

Education Minister Mark Mc-Gowan acknowledged the so-called “levels” marking system was inadequate for ranking students for university and had caused huge angst among teachers and parents, forcing the Government to abandon plans to apply it to Year 11 students this year.

If it’s inadequate for ranking students for university why is it still in place at all?

The surest sign that the debate on education needs to continue is the howl of protest heard whenever Howard questions todays standards.

If Rudd wants to enter the debate now then good. He may be able to clarify the ideological constraints on the debate to date as the people trying to stifle it are all from his side of politics.

Bring it on.

Raffle funds ‘used to pay teachers’

From the Australian… Of the 331 Victorian principals who responded to the Australian Education Union (AEU) survey, 87 per cent said funds raised by the schools through events like fetes were seen to be very important or important.

Fair enough. I used to be involved in school committees and helped raise a lot of money for additional equipment but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine we could raise enough to pay teacher salaries. I still don’t but apparently in Victoria they do exactly that – according to the Australian Education Union.

And 55 per cent of principals said they used those funds to pay teacher and staff salaries.

With Victorian Teachers starting at $48k the raffles must be gold plated. At the local Catholic Ed school I know they net about $20k from the annual fete and I guess maybe they might get several thousand more from raffles but enough for a salary…I don’t think so.

I just can’t help being cynical about the survey but I’m happy to be corrected if I’m wrong.


What happened Doc?

Currency Lad has an email from a reader about the struggle she and her husband had to put their kids through a private school.

They are not happy Latham!

I don’t blame her.

In a previous life, a long time ago, I was a recruiting Sergeant and in one day I lectured at two north-of-the-harbour Sydney schools. The first was St Leo’s Hornsby. I was well received, the students sat quietly and listened, or at least sat quietly, and when I finished the head boy thanked me after some reasonable searching questions from the Year 12 audience.

After lunch I went to Hornsby State. The gym was decked out in communist propaganda – I mean copies of USSR posters, and the students were an unruly, profane mob. The teacher, who had obviously primed them, smirked and ask me how it felt to be a murderer.

I walked out – embarrassed for my self and my country.

At about the same time I read an article in the Bulletin magazine about the Evatt Family. You know. Doc Evatt…the Evattt Foundation …one of Labours greatest leaders? In this article one of the family, and I think it was Doc, was quoted as advising;

Don?t leave your kids money. Spend as much as you can afford on their education.

Always ready to follow good advice, my wife and I put five kids through private schools and then helped them through University. We chose Private schools, not because of some weird elitist ideal, but because we believed in education. The Christian ethos, discipline and charters of the schools we chose, suited our beliefs.

We had a choice and took it.

We could see that Doc Evatt had a good point.

We too worked three and sometime four jobs and in the one year when all five were at high school, we had to take out a loan to maintain the dream.

Our socialist neighbours thought we were all mad. While we worked shifts to midnight, three and four nights a week on top of our day jobs, the neighbours watched ‘Neighbours’ and like the ALP today miss the point.

We did it happily and ask for no return other than the kids use their education for the betterment of their community, their family and themselves.

Apparently Doc Evatt, and by extension, myself and all other parents who have tried to improve on generational standards are wrong.

What happened Doc?


Graham at Ambit Gambit has some good background and comments on the education debate. Well worth the read

Where I’ve been

I have just spent six days at Carnarvon Gorge helping the staff of a local Boys college run an environment studies bush week. I am often caught criticizing the education system including the input of teachers and output of young Australians but must give credit where credit is due and in this case do it gladly.

The teachers worked very hard, sometimes up to 20 hours a day, leading the boys up ravines, along cliffs and high ridges. The entire exercise is one of learning about the environment, aborigines and their culture and the boys own self worth. Time spent around the campfire at night was devoted to assessing each boy and approaching his personal and academic advancement in a positive light.

If you read boys college and think ‘privileged’ don’t. A lot of parents work two or more jobs to have their sons attend this college and whereas one boy might be the son of a wealthy businessman, the boy along side is not. The boys are only privileged insofar as their parents strongly believe in education

Another pleasing aspect was the presence of fathers and others who had once had an association with the college who gave a up a week of their busy live to travel on a 1600 km round trip at their own expense to help guide and provide role models for the boys. Company Directors, Tradesman, a 79 year old ex Luftwaffe technician, a publican who has recently divested himself of his hotel and a brace of young ‘old boy’ uni students.

Such is the committment of those who believe in education.

I contributed by helping to run the Base Camp. My legs, and more recently, my right arm, are beyond their use-by date so leading boys up ravines onto high ridges is beyond me. But hey, I can now enjoy the life of a base soldier.

I was thanked for my help but the abiding bottom line is that I am a better person for having witnessed this dedication to our youth and I congratulate all who attended- particularly the leaders.

While there I met an old mate from Army Days who, with his wife, had spent some days on bush walks. When I told them I was with the schoolboys they were generous with their praise of these 15 year olds, who, to a boy, had looked up on their weary climb up the gorge and exchanged pleasantries, said Hullo, how are you? Great place isn’t it? Did you see the echidna down the track?

Best praise of all – unsolicited.

My background leads me to be critical and demanding but I have no criticisms and would only demand you consider sending your boys to Nudgee College, Brisbane

They would be in good hands.


When I was away the news of the North Korea rail disaster broke and I was listening to a junior relative ratting on about how if it happened in the USA we would know all about it.

I mentioned it might be because the US is a free and open society and North Korea isn’t, but the lessons from her exclusive public girl?s school held true and my comment went through to the keeper.

She saw nothing good about the US or Bush and had I questioned her, Howard would have got some stick as well.

What’s my point? Clearly she is picking up this rubbish from her teachers and I for one think that?s an abysmal abrogation of responsibilities on the teacher?s part. She is only a teenager and already biased in her thoughts on world events. Attractive, intelligent and pleasant but none of this will matter if she isn’t taught to look at all the facts before forming an opinion. With everything going for her the teachers have only taught her to parrot their left wing diatribe.

I socialize at a major GPS school in Brisbane and am long use to Howard being held to ridicule at the Staff club. If I point out Liberals responsible fiscal management versus the 23% overdraft I suffered under Labour, they resort to pulling a Howard like face and talking like Gollum from the LOR. Everyone rolls around laughing at their wit and I wonder what they are teaching the kids.

I would like to think they are teaching them to look at the world a little deeper than starting all debate with ‘Bush is evil’ and going on from there.

I would like to think they are teaching them to recognize the natural bias of journalists and commentators (Yes – me too!) and factor that in.

I would like them to think that competition extends people and systems, that no one should be exempt from critical assessment and that the closed shop recommended by the Teachers Union disguises inefficiency.

I would like to think some of these issues will be taken on board by our professional teachers but I’m not holding my breath.

Meanwhile the debate on insufficient male role models in the education departments of Australia waxes and wanes. A Catholic system tried to get scholarships for men only to be countered with ‘No – must have equal amount of scholarships. 12 for men must have 12 for women’

Gender equity should work both ways.

Our male teachers have to sustain continual attacks on their integrity and honour. A disgruntled kid falsely accuses a mate, a male teacher, of touching him inappropriately and his career is ruined. Never made court, kid and Mother confessed – career still ruined. Mud sticks.

Result? Men stay away in droves from teaching.

Just a few things to fix!

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