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Day to Day Politics: A problem that money can fix.

Thursday 4 July 2016

1 As usual the Naplan results show a decline in the standards of our education. As usual the Coalition says it has nothing to do with money but what happens in the classroom. The education budget will increase by 25% over the next few years, they point out. What they don’t say is that this is a result of population and increased growth in the economy.

No need for ‘Gonski’. After all, it was only ever about equality of opportunity in education.

The federal president of the Australian Education Union, Correna Haythorpe, said delivering the full Gonski funding to schools would see a boost in results.

“No one in their right mind thinks that denying schools the resources needed to meet the needs of all students is a strategy that will lead to better results.”

It seems that the most advantaged schools, the ones getting the most money aren’t returning a dividend on investment while the poorest and most disadvantaged schools are left to cope as best they can.

A former Principle and fellow of the Center for Policy Development, Chris Bonner said that funds were not being directed appropriately.

“Gonski recommended the establishment of a schools resourcing body to clearly identify those struggling schools, the resources required for those schools to reach their goals, and to make sure the money got there,” Bonnor said.

An observation.

“First fix the problem of equity in education and the excellence will follow”.

A view from Bob Lloyd on Facebook who watched the same interview I did:

“At the moment listening to Birmingham, federal Minister for Education. What a joke. As usual he has no bloody idea what happens in schools. Just repeats the same tired old lines that it’s not just about the money but “evidenced based” changes to teaching. What is he talking about? He also continues to misrepresent the position of Labor on education. If the Gonski funding reforms were properly implemented across the country for the entire time as originally put forward then funding would be properly targeted to those students in most need. I am sick and tired of people with no qualifications or experience in education telling educators what they should be doing. The Gonski review was thorough, across all providers and in the final wash up had the support of all providers, state, religious and private/independent but as usual the conservatives want more for private and independent schools and less for public. Any changes to education systems take time to bare fruit. Also he must have mentioned phonics a dozen times as if it is the only way into reading. I am rambling so I will stop.”

Another thought.

“For the life of me I fail to understand how anyone could vote for a party who thinks the existing education system is adequately funded and addresses the needs of the disadvantaged.”

2 The Reserve Bank reckons the economy needs a touch of stimulus so it lowers the cash rate. The banks don’t pass it on in full so mission un accomplished. The banks want to top up their profit margins. Mr Turnbull says it’s their business.

The end result is increased household debt, mostly on the card. The economy needs some stimulus from the government but it doesn’t want to spend.

Interest rates are at historic lows. It’s a great time to borrow and invest in our future.

It is against touching any handouts to the rich so the spiral continues. What about jobs and growth you ask. Well you have to wait for the trickledown theory to start working. Maggie Thatcher started it. Just be patient. It’s a bit like a man of my age with a prostrate problem. You just imagine it will start dripping sooner or later.

Whilst waiting we could have a Royal Commission into the banks and other financial institutions. God I need a leak.

3 Well I did say the Turnbull/Rudd saga would roll on. We now learn that the Cabinet was in favour of supporting Rudd in his attempt for the top UN job but Turnbull went against it, proving that his capacity for revenge at least matches Rudd’s.

Now it appears that the deputy Prime Minister may have told a lie about how the cabinet was split on the issue.

God they are a nasty bunch. It was the wrong decision Malcolm.

4 With anti-union Senator Bob Day surprisingly retaining his Senate seat with 2.87% of the vote the Government has a slightly better chance of its ABCC legislation getting passed.

To pass legislation the government will need nine of the eleven crossbench senators. Crossbench will likely be Family First. Hinch. Lambie. Xenophon times three. Two liberal democrats. Hanson times three. I’m beginning to think that without the aid of Labor and the Greens nothing will get passed.

5 Essential is the only pollster doing any polling at the moment. It has Labor 52/48% ahead of the Government.

Its survey of trust in the Media is interesting though.

On the question, “How much trust did you have in the way the following media reported and commented on the Federal election campaign?”

ABC TV 65%

SBS TV 61%

ABC Radio 54%

SMH 45%

The AGE 42%

The Australian 37%

Courier Mail 37%

Commercial TV 42%

The Telegraph 35%

Commercial Radio 35%

Herald Sun 35%

I note that the Murdoch rags are the most untrusted. Mind you they are the newsheets where the truth goes to die. I will leave it for the readers logic to analysis it.

For the full results go here.

6 According to Amnesty International attacks on refugees occur every day on Nauru. A combined report by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said there were daily abuses against detainees and widespread trauma, as well as a culture of secrecy and complicitness by Australian authorities.

For 12 days last month Anna Neistat, a senior director of research at Amnesty, and Michael Bochenek legally entered the island nation. Both were shocked by the scale of violence and ill-health.

It is well known that intimidation, violence, sexual harassment and abuse has been happening for years in detention centres.

Similar reports surface from time to time but they are ignored by the government. Given the promptness in instigating a Royal Commission into wrong doing against teenage boys in the Northern Territory, why are crimes perpetrated against refugees any different. Or is it that there are cameras installed in one place and not the other.

It is nothing short of a national scandal.

My thought for the day.

“Pass this onto your children ‘If you are not willing to learn no one will help you. If you are determined to learn no one can stop you.”


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  1. Freethinker

    Regarding education I strongly support giving more resources to the teachers but having said that I am not impressed with the program at primary school level.
    I can see far to much sports activities and not enough maths, language, geography and science.
    Another point it is that it does no matter how good is the school, the teachers and the program if the students are not supported by the parents. Educations begins at home.

  2. Matthew Oborne

    Education truly does begin at home I wholeheartedly agree, I have seen parents do it wrongly though.Kids get bored and play up when they already know what they are learning teach them what they are having problems with and besides that teach them what they dont teach in schools, which is an awful lot.

  3. Matters Not

    As usual the Naplan results show a decline in the standards of our education

    Really? Would you have a link for that? Here’s the source.

    Summary data released today from the 2016 NAPLAN tests demonstrate that, compared to 2008 (the first year of NAPLAN), there have been gains in all content areas (except for writing), but not for all year groups.

    At the national level:
    Reading results for Years 3 and 5 saw significant gain compared to 2008.

    Spelling results for Year 3 saw significant gain compared to 2008.

    Grammar/punctuation results for Year 3 saw significant gain compared to 2008.

    Numeracy results for Year 5 saw significant gain compared to 2008.

    Writing results for Years 7 and 9 saw a significant decrease since 2011 (the yearfrom which results can be compared for this domain).

    The MSM, as always, is only interested in ‘bad news’ or the spin provided by the government that doesn’t want to be ‘fair’.

    Not that I want to defend NAPLAN which has serious problems but ….

    As for improvements in QLD, the explanation lies in the ‘age’ of the students which is now on average higher due to Bligh introducing a prep year.

    The way the MSM dealt with this is disgraceful. We should not follow down that path,

  4. wam

    the misuse of government HECS, TAFE and VET money by the vice-chancellors results in a terrifying debt with compound interest for tens of thousands of people with unusable degrees, diplomas and certificates (especially teaching and nursing) and no chance of reaching the earning threshold for recovery. These pollies, after the introduction of ‘new work choices’ to give wage control to employers, will be forced lower the threshold and introduce death duties to give the impression of doing something.
    As for for ‘bob lloyd’ keep rambling because the real use of NAPLAN is the individual progression of a kid who hasn’t the parents who are able to help the school learning processes.
    The teacher who says ‘must try harder’ when the kid is already doing the best is detrimental to learning’ The will depends greatly on the means and telling is rarely, if ever, the means.
    ps the census cannot succeed:
    who opens ‘to the resident’ to get the info for a form?
    who has a computer and the net, even with copperman’s NBN?
    what are the odds of ‘crashing’ on census night?
    Why not sack the ABS and privatise the census?(sorry not sack downsize and privatise collection of data)

  5. Matters Not

    As for Gonski, it’s seriously flawed. Sure it’s better than the ‘method’ Howard introduced to allocate funds but Gonski was prevented from doing a root and branch review. The ‘inequality’ that Gonski inherited from the Howard model was to be sustained courtesy of Rudd and Gillard. With the directive, that no school was to receive less, the whole edifice was built on inherent inequality, to be sustained for evermore.

    It’s a farce. What’s worse is that so many people believe it’s fair.

  6. helvityni

    Agree with Freethinker, there’s too much emphasis on sports in our schools, especially when it’s all about competing and winning, and not about just fitness and learning to play ball games for enjoyment, doing your best and learning to interact and share with others…

    Parents don’t need to become their kids’ teachers, but they have to VALUE education.

    Maybe also not allow the kids to spend too much time on their IPhones, tablets etc. would be helpful. Parents could also encourage their offspring to READ more.

  7. Steve Laing -

    It can be challenging to help the education process at home when parents are already strapped for time. I’d like to see data that matches NAPLAN results with access to parental assistance. I’m very fortunate to have three smart daughters, but they still do come to us for assistance sometimes, and we are (usually) able to provide it. Reading is key – and can be done on iPhones etc, although the distraction factor is often too great. However peer group pressure is increasingly significant in the interconnected world, so denying kids social media etc then creates another set of problems.

    Personally, I think that someone needs to have to look at education again from first principles – what are we actually trying to achieve with it? Effectively not much different from what it was originally designed for – a mechanism to prepare children for the workforce. Another thing that is abundantly clear, kids still aren’t being provided with enough relevancy about why they are being taught things. If you can’t see when you might ever use trigonometry, for example, then what is the impetus to learn it other than to pass exams?

  8. Matters Not

    Steve Laing –

    what it was originally designed for – a mechanism to prepare children for the workforce.

    Not really. The genesis of ‘mass schooling’ was the Industrial Revolution in Britain. The great bulk of the industrial labour force at that time required no ‘education’ because any skills that were required were usually learnt (informally) ‘on the job’. Yet public schools (for the masses) were founded and spread quite rapidly. There were a number of reasons (and like any ‘history’ will be the subject of some dispute).

    First, it kept kids off the streets while their parents toiled in the mines, factories and like from daylight to dark. Second, schools ‘socialised’ children, necessary at a time when the society was undergoing rapid change. In the early years, reading was taught but not writing. ‘Reading’ allowed children to read the Bible, so that they could become god fearing, honest and obedient and know right from wrong etc. Writing was not taught in the early times for fear of what might be written. The fear of revolution was ever present. Writing, mathematics and the like were only introduced when businesses became so large that family members could no longer do all the work and ‘clerks’ and the like were required. So schools in the early years (for the masses) were more about ‘social control’ rather than ‘education’.

    Education for the ‘elite’ families began much earlier and was more for leisure than a preparation for work, particular when rural activities were the source of wealth. As for the ‘teachers’ in public schools – that’s a really interesting story.

  9. Keith

    These comments may upset some people:

    Over the years more administrative tasks have been loaded onto teachers and professionals employed in other Agencies. The impact being that less time can be spent on doing more productive work than administration. The computer is a wonderful creation; and also a curse, the computer allows for the creation of more bureaucratic jobs but takes away from those working at the coal face who need to provide information to bureaucrats.

    Providing information to bureaucrats takes away enjoyment of the real work professionals do.

  10. Matters Not

    Keith, as someone who has experience on both ‘sides’, I can only agree. The constant weighing of the pig, doesn’t make it fatter. BTW, ‘bureaucrats’ can be ‘professionals’ as well. And schools are bureaucracies also. Just ask any parent. The pieces of paper that come home from school. That have to be read and signed. Permission to be granted. Monies to be collected. It never ends.

  11. king1394

    More than one third of the population surveyed found the Murdoch rags and shock jocks trustworthy – this is alarming

  12. Keith

    Matters Not
    Generally, I don’t think School Principals look for an unreasonable amount of information from they’re teachers; it mainly stems from Head Office. The same is true for other Departments, where it is Head Office that wants particular bureaucratic tasks completed. Staff in Head Office do not necessarily have the Professional skills exhibited in Schools/Units.

  13. Matters Not

    Keith, people in Head office don’t believe they ask for an unreasonable amount of information from schools. In much the same way as Ministers don’t believe they ask for an unreasonable amount of information from Departments. Premiers, Treasury, the Feds and the like share Ministers’ views that what is asked for is not unreasonable.

    Where you ‘sit’ often determines what is considered reasonable or not.

  14. Jack Russell

    Did we import a corrupt American system that is described as the ultimate in support of best educational outcomes, but was actually designed to be used for defunding and/or closing the public schools over there . . . and call it NAPLAN?

    Yes, we did!

  15. rossleighbrisbane

    While I couldn’t help but wonder how an annual test was demonstrating a failure in the system when there had been no improvement SINCE 2015 as was being reported by some of the MSM (from which one could infer that there had been an improvement from the previous year), I’m always intrigued by the logic of conservative government’s who argue that increased spending hasn’t eliminated many of the problems, so therefore we can cut back on spending.
    I mean, we don’t say that all this spending on anti-terror measures haven’t meant that there are no threats, so we can cut back on security funding.

  16. townsvilleblog

    Precisely John. David Gonski identified the problems years ago, much more funding, in line with his findings must be made available, by taxing the corporations who pay little to naught in taxes compared with their incomes. I certainly don’t want to see yank health or education in Australia. The yank system is in a shambles for the same reason that they do not tax their corporations anywhere near enough.

  17. Neil of Sydney

    David Gonski identified the problems years ago,

    Years ago kids were in classes with 40 kids/class. They left school knowing how to spell, knew lots of stuff and could spell their names.

    Now with smaller classes they leave school knowing nothing

    by taxing the corporations who pay little to naught in taxes compared with their incomes.

    We do not make anything here anymore. That is why Apple only pays $85M in tax on $5B of income

  18. Kyran

    The only portfolio where money isn’t a problem is defence. This shower of wasters have committed to increasing that one portfolio’s funding to a % of GDP without analysis, scrutiny, oversight, performance based evidence.
    Nothing, nada, zip, zilch.
    We are now buying planes that don’t fly; subs that will be delivered at least ten years after their use by date; frigates from Spain that could have been made here; all sorts of things. All based on some imaginary need which can only be addressed by money.
    From memory, the last time we committed to such a task was when we signed up to the ‘Millennium Development Goals’, committing a % of GDP to international aid funding. I’m tipping we will pay more respect to one commitment than the other.
    With regard to #6, the Nauru report has now been addressed by broader farce;
    “But the department denied many of the claims, stating they were not consulted about the report.
    In a statement, it said: “We strongly refute many of the allegations in the report.”
    “The Republic of Nauru is a sovereign nation and Australia does not exert control over Nauru’s functions, its law, its judicial system or law enforcement.
    “Australia does, however, provide support to the Government of Nauru by funding accommodation and support services for all transferees and refugees, including welfare and health services.” ”
    The paucity of their proposals, refutations and explanations beggars belief.
    For the past three years we have had a government that can only be described as farcical. The damage wreaked by their farcical incompetence will likely be comparable to the howard/costello years. About a decade ago, they were the ones who squandered the proceeds of ‘boom’. They were the ones who quarantined the proceeds of their pilfering, for generations to come, by enshrining tax benefits to their benefactors from that very quarantine.
    B/S and spin doctors rule, according to them. The rest of us know there are real problems that need real solutions. This shower of wasters will never be up to it.
    Thank you, Mr Lord. Take care

  19. Neil of Sydney

    About a decade ago, they were the ones who squandered the proceeds of ‘boom’

    The biggest mining boom and the best terms of trade in Australian history happened from 2008-2013. ie under the Rudd/Gillard govt

  20. Jack Straw

    Neil about 70 years ago you were born. What happened ?

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