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They just don’t get it

Watching the Senate inquiry into the sports rorts affair shows that the government has no understanding of what they have done wrong.

Eric Abetz, whose entire demeanour screams arrogance, tried to tell us that Senator McKenzie’s intervention had made the grants fairer because it increased the total number of electorates to receive funding and Labor-held seats got more grants from her decisions than from the recommendations of Sports Australia.

He repeatedly tried to get the Sports Australia representatives to agree that this was the case and they repeatedly answered that arbitrary electoral boundaries were not considered in their merit-based assessment which, instead, assessed community need and impact.

For Senator Abetz’s line of argument to be worthy of consideration, we would have to believe that every electorate is equally in need of sports infrastructure upgrades and that the political persuasion of their federal representative should be relevant.  This view only confirms that the Coalition consider political considerations more important than funding based on need.

The same thinking seems to apply to school funding and here, Labor are guilty too.  Our government offers a public school system available to all.  Some people choose not to use it, but still expect government funding to subsidise their choice.

Scared of the political consequences of cutting funding to private schools, governments of both persuasions have caved in to making special deals, especially with the Catholics who are just given a huge amount of money to spend as they will with no justification that it is going to the schools most in need.

It is unbelievably galling to hear about very high fee-paying schools being giving large amounts of government money as they install a sound-proof recording studio, buy new rowing sculls, and build another three squash courts.

As Gonski attempted to point out, not all schools are equally in need and if we are really serious about improving results, we would be giving the funds where there is the greatest need.

It is also unfathomable how the government can resist all the evidence about the urgent need to increase Newstart and the economic and social benefit that would follow.  Their opposition seems entirely ideological, pandering to the ‘dole bludger’ pejorative.  Drug testing?  Nation-wide income management?  Seriously?

The argument that the best form of welfare is a job makes no sense as an excuse not to make Newstart adequate – if they could get a job, they wouldn’t be on social security payments.  Employment aspiration doesn’t pay the rent or put food on the table in the interim.

We employ these people to invest the common wealth in the best interests of the country, not to spend it to prop up their electoral fortunes.

They just don’t get it.

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59 comments

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  1. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks, Kaye. Well, poor old Eric is not the brightest globe in the chandelier. Trouble is, he doesn’t know it, Not sure if the issues about the Catholic school system can be dispatched quite as easily as you suggest.

  2. Kaye Lee

    Kate,

    If I wrote about all my concerns about education it would go to volumes, but in this case, my particular concern is that government funding, state and federal, does not go directly to the school in the Catholic system. It’s given to the Catholic Education authority who then decide through various opaque processes how they will allocate it.

  3. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks again, Kaye. I’m a product of the Catholic system, and I’m grateful for it, although that was long ago. I’d like to know more, though, about how it works these days. I’ll follow that up.
    Meanwhile, loving the photo of Eric. Is that a limp wrist?

  4. Kaye Lee

    Another line being spun by the government to justify overruling the Sports Australia appraisal is that local MPs have a better handle on what’s going on “on the ground.”

    I guess it is understandable for local members to advocate for their electorates but are they in a position to compare the relative merit of applications from communities across the country?

  5. Matters Not

    Lots of ‘issues’ here. But try this one as a fundamental opener.

    … only confirms that the Coalition consider political considerations more important than … ?

    Anything else – is the short but apposite answer. How can any self-respecting politician (given an almost exclusive emphasis on the self) achieve good/right or even great things if he/she is not there? Stands to reason! The future of the world depends on my political survival (goes the narrative). That’s what needs to be addressed as the highest priority.

    And so it shall be. With no correspondence entered into.

  6. RosemaryJ36

    I just did some research to check what the situation is now in the UK where I received my education. The majority of private schools there are fully funded by fees with a small proportion receiving about 10% of their funding from government. These schools are all subject to government inspection. All schools, whether or not they are faith based, which are fully government funded must follow the government syllabus. The British ‘public schools’ which are attended by the elites and wealthy are totally independent but, while they have no obligation to follow the government syllabus, theirs would be very similar to ensure their students can meet university entrance standards.
    In case you wondered why some private schools in the UK are called ‘public’, here is the explanation:
    ‘ The term public school emerged in the 18th century when the reputation of certain grammar schools spread beyond their immediate environs. They began taking students whose parents could afford residential fees and thus became known as public, in contrast to local, schools.’

  7. Michael Taylor

    Well, poor old Eric is not the brightest globe in the chandelier.

    Now that made me laugh, Kate.

  8. Matters Not

    Kate Ahearne re:

    I’m a product of the Catholic system

    Just a product – eh? Like a brick out of the kiln?

    Methinks we have some way to go re education and how it might be conceptualised. And hopefully it will go far beyond the notion of ‘reception’.

  9. Kaye Lee

    “How can any self-respecting politician (given an almost exclusive emphasis on the self) achieve good/right or even great things if he/she is not there?”

    The point is that while they ARE there they spend their entire time, and the treasury resources, trying to make sure they stay there….when do we get to the “great things” part? Eric Abetz has been there for 26 years….waiting……

  10. ajogrady

    The Indue card uses the exact same excuses by government that occurred in the early 1900″s when governments said that Aboriginals could not handle money and stole their hard earned wages from all Aborigines working on properties for decades. The financial debt to these people is huge let alone the moral and ethical debt. But yet again nothing has changed when it comes to Conservative governments taking from the poor and vulnerable and giving to the rich and powerful. Malfeasance and impropriety is in the L/NP’s DNA and it goes a long way back.

  11. Michael Taylor

    26 years and I cannot think of just one thing that he has done (apart from acting like a complete dill).

  12. Kate Ahearne

    Matters Not.
    No, not like a brick out of the kiln. More like a person who was taught to think and to question. I haven’t been a Catholic for most of my life, but I’m deeply grateful for the education that was given to me as a child and a teenager – the education that gave me the courage and the encouragement and the tools to think for myself – strangely enough, the courage to leave the church. The nuns who taught me for most of my years as a ‘product’, were unpaid. They were extraordinary women, and I am deeply indebted to them. I would love to think that I turned out to have been worth it.

  13. Matters Not

    KL – just trying to provide a rationale as to why the vast majority of politicians think and behave as they do. As you point out:

    while they ARE there they spend their entire time, and the treasury resources, trying to make sure they stay there

    Exactly! Sorry if I didn’t make that perfectly clear. But I thought I had.

  14. Kaye Lee

    ajogrady,

    That is what people don’t seem to understand about Aboriginal disadvantage. While white people were stealing land and using Aboriginal slave labour to accumulate wealth to leave to their children, Aboriginal families were dispossessed, torn apart, and exploited. They did not share in the growing accumulation of wealth and property.

    MN,

    I was agreeing with you. I “got” it. 😉 I’d like to ask them if they would rather achieve something “great” or get re-elected.

  15. ajogrady

    Knowing that Eric Abetz is not the brightest bulb in the chandelier is quite factual yet he has been a senator representing Tasmania for 26 years. This would have to leave one wondering that Tasmanian’s are not the brightest bulbs in the chandelier either.

  16. Kate Ahearne

    ajogrady, as Joni Mitchel has said/sung so convincingly, 2 heads are better than one. Some of us Tasmanians can even tell the time! Mind you, reading the ballot papers is a test. Abetz starts with ‘A’, so you just go down from the top. 1, 2. 3. Easy Peasy. If you can count.

  17. Matters Not

    Kate Ahearne re:

    not like a brick out of the kiln.

    Good to hear it. But why use the product metaphor? Or is that because most people do exactly that? As they do with receive? As though humans are passive recipients of an ‘education’? And not active makers of who they are? No doubt, many of your teachers will be disappointed that one of their ‘products’ left the Church. Probably – not what they intended? If they had their time over again … ?

    KL, there’s much in your post that’s worthy of further discussion but that’s for the morrow.

  18. Kaye Lee

    I don’t think any state showers itself in glory with the senators they elect – and that is to a degree the fault of the dross the parties throw up on their senate tickets. I still can’t get over Joe Bullock. And I am sick to death of having Jim Molan thrust upon me. How many times do we need to say no? I will say, Tasmania voted below the line to thwart Labor’s rejection of Lisa Singh in 2016 but they couldn’t save her last time despite her polling almost 6% of the vote from an unwinnable spot.

    In Queensland, apparently Amanda Stoker and James McGrath are fighting it out for number one on the ticket. Now that’s what I call a dearth of talent.

  19. New England Cocky

    After too many years at the chalk-face in Catholic, independent, and state schools in New England, my experience is that there are some wonderful teachers in the Catholic system providing an excellent child care facility for teenagers, many families living their familial tradition dating back five or six generations in independent schools and a real challenge for student academic excellence in state high schools.

    As for local Nazianal$ politicians, none of them could lie straight in bed and they are about as much use as teats on a bull.

  20. Peter F

    Michael, ‘Acting’? …’Acting’?…… he has had me fooled. It looks so natural.

  21. Harry Lime

    Kaye, I am extremely confident that the LNP rabble are going to”. get it”,their sins are piling up and the dam wall is creaking.Watched Morrison being interviewed on ABC this morning on corona virus and “sports rorts” saga,the lies are beginning to tell on him,won’t be long.
    Kate, I too am a”product ” of a catholic education in a high achieving college,and despite the brothers best efforts managed to emerge mentally unscathed,it was probably a nil all draw.As far as religion is concerned,I dropped out at ten years old.

  22. Kaye Lee

    Harry,

    I was extremely confident that the Labor party would not dump Julia Gillard. I have been wrong about pretty much everything ever since. Knowing Tony Abbott from a previous life, I thought him unelectable. Then I thought there was no way the Libs would knife a sitting PM, let alone do it twice. Then for people to completely ignore Labor’s good policies to elect ScottyFromMarketing was just unfathomable.

  23. RomeoCharlie29

    The funding of education in non-government schools is huge, and has been for decades. Back in the ‘90’s I was involved in state school parent groups at the state and federal level arguing that there was no justification for federal/ state funding of non-gov schools, the principle being that the state provided a universal, free (?) secular education and if you, as a parent chose not to avail yourself if it, you paid. Of course the Catholic penetration of the political system has rendered that system virtually untouchable but regarding the funding going to private schools, surely nowadays everyone can see that is both unfair and unsustainable. The hoary old argument “I pay my taxes therefore I’m entitled..” doesn’t wash anymore. There are many examples of taxpayer-funded services that people don’t use themselves but are part of the public good. Private schooling is not one of them. BTW, do Pentecostalists run schools? Incidentally back in the same 90’s the bodies referred to above warned that the commodification of education through full fee paying overseas students ( FFPOS) had risks for public education. One argument was that governments, seeing more fundraising from this, would reduce their contributions. I think we are seeing chickens coming home to roost.

  24. Kaye Lee

    RC,

    My father, a public school teacher, always used to say we have a public transport system, if you choose not to use it, don’t expect the government to pay for your car.

  25. Trish Hindmarsh

    Interesting Cath ed conversation. Have to own up as a former ‘official’ within the Cath. system responsible for allocation of system funds to individual schools.
    Our internal funding formulae are intended to provide equity, not equality for schools (they all have different levels of need). Based on all available data, (a) quantitative, like numbers, degree of family disadvantage, student needs, distance from the capital etc,and
    (b) qualitative, eg. frequent school visits, consultation with local staff and school communities, as well as within governance bodies like boards and commissions. We may not have got it right all the time, but over my dead body would we have not made every effort in the attempt. We always owe this to the Australian taxpayers, the families, and above all the students. People think it’s so unfair (and on first look it is) that the Commonwealth gives far more funding proportionately to non-govt schools than to state-run schools. However, the reverse is also true because the duty to fund public school belongs constitutionally to the states and territories, not to the commonwealth. When the combined state-commonwealth funds are considered for both govt. and non-govt. schools, the Catholic school systems have always lagged behind per capita to the tune of around 15% of what it takes at base to educate a chlld. That last 15% or so has to be found from ‘local’ effort (fees and fund raisers). Catholic schools that began dependent on the ‘donated’ services of the religious orders and some lay people, are now fully funded in a combination of government sources (around 85%) and financial input largely from families as fees and fund-raisers.Systems have the responsibility to distribute the funds so that no school is receiving less than it needs to educate its children, even if parents are too poor to raise that additional 15% or so; that’s why ‘systems’ exist … to ensure equity for all. By the way on top of this, Catholic schools manage to encourage students and families to fund raise for the poor, way beyond the school, as well. This is ‘core’ business … to teach social justice and Gospel love for others, as well as of course the set curriculum, geared towards students’ personal development and their futures.
    Sorry to be a bit long-winded but this is a topic dear to my heart as my sister Kate Ahearne can testify.

  26. Paul Davis

    I was led to believe the Senate was a safeguard, a house of review, to carefully consider bills passed by the lower house thus ensuring that only good sensible legislation would pass into law. LOL.

    The house of reps is stacked with spivs, cunning stunts, dills, chancers, grifters and thugs, mostly but not limited to the government benches, so it is to be expected that bills passed will often reflect the corrupt or shambolic nature of that gormless collective.

    But check out the Senate. How could anyone seriously expect persons of the calibre of Rushton, Stoker, Lambie, Abetz, Paterson, Hanson, Roberts, to name just a few, to review legislation in good faith? It is bleedin obvious that most of the sensible intelligent erudite senators sit on one side of the chamber, however a Senate composed entirely of genuine independents might be preferable to the stinking swamp we have now.

    By the way, which of the two Speakers is the more biased? Maybe a couple of totally apolitical non elected public servants or senior judges should be appointed as Speakers in both houses. Question time might be worth while…

  27. Kate Ahearne

    Kaye, I alerted my sister, Trish Hindmarsh, to your article and to the ensuing comments. She emailed me with the following response. (Trish has worked her entire adult life in the Catholic education system, both as a teacher and as an administrator.)

    ‘Interesting Cath ed conversation. Have to own up as a former ‘official’ within the Cath. system responsible for allocation of system funds to individual schools.

    Our internal funding formulae are intended to provide equity, not equality for schools (they all have different levels of need). Based on all available data, (a) quantitative, like numbers, degree of family disadvantage, student needs, distance from the capital etc,and

    (b) qualitative, eg. frequent school visits, consultation with local staff and school communities, as well as within governance bodies like boards and commissions. We may not have got it right all the time, but over my dead body would we have not made every effort in the attempt. We always owe this to the Australian taxpayers, the families, and above all the students. People think it’s so unfair (and on first look it is) that the Commonwealth gives far more funding proportionately to non-govt schools than to state-run schools. However, the reverse is also true because the duty to fund public school belongs constitutionally to the states and territories, not to the commonwealth. When the combined state-commonwealth funds are considered for both govt. and non-govt. schools, the Catholic school systems have always lagged behind per capita to the tune of around 15% of what it takes at base to educate a chlld. That last 15% or so has to be found from ‘local’ effort (fees and fund raisers). Catholic schools that began dependent on the ‘donated’ services of the religious orders and some lay people, are now fully funded in a combination of government sources (around 85%) and financial input largely from families as fees and fund-raisers.Systems have the responsibility to distribute the funds so that no school is receiving less than it needs to educate its children, even if parents are too poor to raise that additional 15% or so; that’s why ‘systems’ exist … to ensure equity for all. By the way on top of this, Catholic schools manage to encourage students and families to fund raise for the poor, way beyond the school, as well. This is ‘core’ business … to teach social justice and Gospel love for others, as well as of course the set curriculum, geared towards students’ personal development and their futures.

    Sorry to be a bit long-winded but this is a topic dear to my heart as my sister Kate Ahearne can testify.’

  28. Kaye Lee

    Paul,

    I agree about an independent non-political Speaker.

    When I had an unruly class, I would make a seating plan with specific seats saved for anyone who was disruptive on the day. I certainly didn’t give them an early mark to be first in line at the canteen.

    I would make disruptive politicians who ignored warnings sit in single file in front of the Speaker. If they interjected again, they would be suspended for two days during which time they would be expected to write an essay on effective communication, teamwork, and the importance of being a role model for respectful behaviour.

    I would ban all questions of the form “Could the Minister inform the house on how they are saving the world, and particularly my electorate, and is the Minister aware of any alternate approaches?” It is excruciating.

    I always thought ‘hands on heads’ was a silly way to try to regain control of a class but I would love to see it in parliament. I am smiling thinking of it.

  29. Kaye Lee

    Thanks for the comment Kate/Trish,

    The vast majority of people in the education system are devoted to doing their best for their students – it’s a hellish job if you aren’t – though I would suggest that fostering social justice and empathy is not confined to the Catholic education system.

    As the Commonwealth have increased their funding, states have decreased theirs. This has contributed to increasing inequity.

    “Disadvantage is increasingly concentrated, mainly in public schools, increasing their costs and making it even harder to lift student achievement.”

    “If pouring more money into the system actually increases inequity, then that’s astounding from a social justice point of view,” says Glenn Savage, a senior lecturer in education policy at the University of Western Australia.

    “It means we’re using public money to continue the reproduction of advantage and disadvantage rather than creating more equality of opportunity, which is a major part of what education is supposed to do.”

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-22/counting-the-cost-of-the-education-revolution/10495756

  30. DrakeN

    Kaye: “Scared of the political consequences of cutting funding to private schools,…”

    That is no doubt a large part of it, but there is also the tribal “Game of Mates” involved.

    Priviledge breeding and succouring priviledge – politely referred to as “networking”.

    “It ain’t what you know, but who you know” etc.

    Corruption at its most fundamental.

  31. DrakeN

    Kate and Trish – you were very fortunate in your Catholic education, unlike the very many destroyed men and boys who suffered under the same system.
    I have known, and been to the funerals of, men who were beaten, mentally and emotionally abused and sexually destroyed by the Catholic schools which they attended.
    Those who took their own lives will no doubt never enter into Heaven, suicide being a “Mortal Sin” and all that.
    The indoctrination runs deep, several of them still believe that the Catholic church is the way to “eternal life” and is the source of all goodness and benevolence in a world divided beween God and Satan.
    Teaching religion to young undeveloped minds is, in my view, child abuse.

  32. Kaye Lee

    DrakeN,

    I cringed when I heard this….

    “When it comes to school funding, my party stands shoulder to shoulder with the church,’’ Mr Shorten said.

  33. DrakeN

    Kaye – “Yea, Verily.”

    As I have often said, I am firmly of the opinion that no person of religious conviction should hold any position of legislative or administrative authority in secular government.

  34. Jack Cade

    DrakeN

    I endorse your views on religion. As I have posted before, I sprang from a mixed marriage – Liverpool-Irish Catholic and Protestant. I learned very young of the absolute hypocrisy of both sides, having witnessed from a first floor slum window a pitched battle in the street on Orange Lodge night, when my Catholic mother urged my Protestant father (who was a cruiserweight boxer in the RN) to intervene because she thought my Catholic cousin was involved, and noticed my father’s reluctance. I was too young to know about prudence – I just thought he didn’t want to help a Catholic.
    All of the participants in the brawl lived in my street ( now, 60 years later, if you threw me a name I could tell you what their religion was.) Half the street was RC, half Protestant. None went to church – I know that for a fact because we kids all played together.
    But the brawl was after closing time.
    Liverpool was not riven remotely as badly as Belfast or Glasgow, or even Edinburgh for all I know. But religion was ever present.
    I share Dawkins and Hitchens view of all religion. No good comes of it and no society should allow its revenue to subsidise it. After all, churches are just corporate entities that pay no tax.

  35. Geoff Andrews

    Matters Not,
    I don’t know why you appeared to take Kate to task over her “I’m a product of the Catholic system” comment.
    Of course we’re all a product of the education system we enjoyed. Product. Education. They’ve both got the same Latin root, duc, duct to lead. Whether one emerges as a brick or a butterfly (like you & me!) does have a lot to do with our own effort or parental encouragement, but teacher quality & enthusiasm contributes more than 50% of the final product.

    Kaye,
    I, too, see red when some dupe asks, “Can the Minister update the house ….. blah, blah, blah” I can’t see any reason why a Government member need to ask any genuine question of a Minister that couldn’t be answered on the blower or by email. As for an independent Speaker; it’s a no-brainer. We’re asked to accept that when the Speaker wants to do something for his electorate – say, air condition his/her local pony club stables – he just drops an email to the relevant Minister with whom he has just been engaged in a shouting match in the House?
    Maybe the GG could appoint a Speaker to each parliament. You know, The Queen, through the GG put her own man in to make things fair.
    One thing that appears to have disappeared around 1970 from the broadcasting of parliament is “Questions on Notice” and “Answers ot Questions on Notice”. This was where the questions, mostly from the Opposition, had to be carefully answered (could be accused of misleading parliament – ha!) by the Minister, generally a day or so after the question.
    As far as biased Speakers go, this is my favorite First Dog on the Moon cartoon:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/picture/2015/aug/03/a-presentation-on-bronwyn-bishops-legacy-from-fiona-the-unemployed-bettong

  36. Kate Ahearne

    Kaye, please excuse the fact that Trish’s comment appeared twice. We got our wires crossed at this end.

  37. Max Gross

    “It is also unfathomable how the government can resist all the evidence about the urgent need to increase Newstart and the economic and social benefit that would follow.” It is fathomable. The LNP have made it quite clear – as Mad Dog Molan confirmed on QandA – they do not rely on evidence to form their opinions or their policies.

  38. totaram

    Kaye Lee: As usual, I disagree with you and many commentators here who claim that Eric Abetz is some kind of low-IQ person, who doesn’t “get it”. You cannot understand his behaviour if you follow that line of reasoning. He gets everything. He cannot be stupid if he can work out a line of attack which will actually “prove” that it is best that politicians actually decide where the money goes, rather than some organisation, like Sports Australia, that decides “on merit”. I doubt that this line was worked out by the ubiquitous IPA, because no one else in this government has tried it. Even if it was not his original idea, he has shown great cleverness in trying to push this line. Check carefully what else he has been doing in the Senate. See how he has single-handedly caused trouble for GetUp! by referring them time and again to the AEC as being an “associated entity” of the Labor Party. To find out that you can keep doing this repeatedly without hindrance, even though proved incorrect the last time, shows his cleverness. I could give lots of examples to embellish this argument.

    The fact that he has been in the senate for 26 years proves beyond a doubt that he is cunning and politically astute. He has managed to do quite well out of this personally as well. You can verify that he is very well off.

    The fact that we all hate his views is simply explained by his family’s Nazi connection, which cannot be obliterated in a single generation unless a family member decides to actively repudiate it. To my knowledge, neither his father nor he has done this. He knows of course, that any overt reference to Nazi ideology would be immediately caught out and pilloried, but if you examine his beliefs you will see the underlying basis. From his very young days, he has been a right-wing ideologue, and that shows the “culture” in which he was brought up: born to rule (die Herrenrasse) and ever opposed to “lefties” to put it crudely.

    Simply characterising people like him, and many of his co-conspirators, (Dutton in particular) as “stupid” , is to make a grave error.

  39. Jack Cade

    Totaram.

    I agree with you about Abetz. He may not be ‘intelligent’ but he covers this by an excess of rat cunning.
    Insofar as his family background is concerned, the only thing I know of his father is thst he reportedly said ‘The only good unionist is a dead unionist.’ As for Abetz sibling, he appeared on an SBS programme about being ashamed on your family background. Abetz, when on the subject of ‘’great uncle Otto’, a Hitler henchmen who was tried and found guilty in the Nuremberg trials, said ‘Great uncle Otto did some good things.’
    He was not asked to elucidate, but ‘great uncle Otto’ organised the trains taking French Jews to Auschwitz and other camps. I’m uncharitable enough to assume that by ‘good things’ Abetz meant the trains arrived on time.
    The point about Erich Abetz is that Tasmania knows what he is and has voted for him for the best part of three decades. Maybe he keeps them in thrall by the Hitlerian joke – ‘Next time no more Mr Nice Guy.’

  40. Matters Not

    Geoff Andrews re education and product followed by:

    They’ve both got the same Latin root, duc, duct to lead.

    While I will come back to the implications of your claim, can I cite someone with more knowledge of Latin than my most humble studies.

    The term ‘education’ is derived from three Latin words: Educare, Educere, Educo. Educare means to bring up, to nourish, to rear, to train. Educere means to draw out, to lead out. In ‘Educo’ E means out of and ‘Duco’ means to lead. Thus education implies Act of bringing up, Act of drawing out, Act of extracting out, Act of leading forth, Act of leading out, Act of nourishing, Act of rearing and Act o training.

    Clearly there’s some dispute as to the origins of the word. Indeed that debate has raged for decades (and probably centuries). Some cite Plato whose epistemological view was rooted in the belief that people were born with innate knowledge (like embedded seeds) and the work of the teacher was to cultivate – to raise that innate knowledge to conscious levels. On the other hand, at the opposite end of the ideological scale was John Dewey who argued thus:

    Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” … Were all instructors to realize that the quality of mental process, not the production of correct answers, is the measure of educative growth something hardly less than a revolution in teaching would be worked.”

    There is no such thing as educational value in the abstract. The notion that some subjects and methods and that acquaintance with certain facts and truths possess educational value in and of themselves is the reason why traditional education reduced the material of education so largely to a diet of predigested materials.”

    But dwelling on what meanings people gave to words in times gone by seems unhelpful – given this view by Paulo Freire.

    Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”

    Thus for me, being a ‘product’ is not what education ought to be about. Rather it should be about each individual dealing creatively and critically with an inherited, constructed reality and thereby transforming their world as advanced by Dewey and Freire or at least that end of the ideological spectrum

    Won’t go on. Already far too long.

  41. leefe

    “They just don’t get it.”

    No but, sadly, they decide who does. And it’s invariably not those in need.

  42. Matters Not

    Trish Hindmarsh a few questions if I may because I have no knowledge of what happens re Catholic Education in Tasmania. My (limited) knowledge is confined to Queensland. So re:

    within the Cath. system responsible for allocation of system funds to individual schools.

    Responsible for allocating system funds to individual schools – presumably only those schools that are part of that system? So not all Catholic schools in Tasmania? By way of explanation. In Queensland, there are 307 Catholic schools run by 22 Catholic School Authorities. The more prestigious Catholic schools (with higher fees, populated by students with higher SES backgrounds etc) are not run by any diocesan Catholic Education Office. Thus not guided nor bound by allocation of system funds to individual schools. Here’s a list

    .https://qcec.catholic.edu.au/about-qcec/catholic-school-authorities/

    What arrangement applies in Tasmania? Are prestigious schools outside the CEO there as well? If so, then how many?

    Thanking you in anticipation.

  43. Kate Ahearne

    Matters Not, this is an answer from Dr. Hindmarsh to your question about Catholic ed. in Tasmania:

    In Tasmania, all 37 Catholic schools with the exception of two (a Salesian College and a former Christian Brothers College), are part of the ‘system’ in terms of governance. Those two schools are governed respectively by a religious order (the Salesians) and a Public Juridic Person (PJP) , namely Edmund Rice Education Australia.

    All schools, including these two, are in the system in terms of funding, and receive their individual schools funding via an agreed formula that applies to all. In a small resource-challenged state this makes good sense and it is easier to negotiate and cooperate for us here as well with our small number of schools.

    Hope this helps,

    Dr Trish Hindmarsh

  44. Matters Not

    Thanks for the response. Yet I note re the latest statement:

    receive their individual schools funding via an agreed formula that applies to all

    This ‘agreed formula’ suggests an application of objective measurements, perhaps with transparent mathematical calculations to silence dissenters. Yet the earlier statement under the (b) qualitative heading there seems an elevated level of subjectivity as in:

    frequent school visits, consultation with local staff and school communities, as well as within governance bodies like boards and commissions.

    To what extent could these ‘visits’ and ‘consultations’ with ‘staff’, ‘school communities’, as well as ‘boards’ and ‘commissions’ be conceptualised as a manifestation of real politic – reaching a political settlement of sorts over and above the ‘agreed formula’? No doubt there would be real tensions.

    (Yes, that’s an unfair question on a public site such as this. So just disregard.)

    But thanks anyway.

  45. Kate Ahearne

    Matters Not.
    Wherever people work and interact together, there are tensions. That’s an aspect of the human condition. We all push and pull in our various directions, at least a little bit, according to our lights, our personalities, our ideas. Even in the most co-operative and ‘enlightened’ groupings, where people are working together for a common goal, this happens. These interactions are not necessarily sinister. They are quite natural, and often very productive.
    You are clearly quite sceptical, but It’s not about realpolitik, or ‘real politic’ as you call it. Where the Catholic Education Office in Tasmania is concerned, the goals and systems really are as Dr. Hindmarsh has outlined. Not everyone in this world is corrupt.

  46. Kaye Lee

    Kate,

    Having been treasurer of the local school P&C I can attest to that. Worthy people always wanted money for their worthy cause but they were not good at prioritising comparative need. I fear that is sometimes the case in education funding too.

    The majority of disadvantaged and special needs kids attend public schools. As mentioned, one of the main aims of education should be equality of opportunity thus decreasing disadvantage and increasing inclusivity.

    No school is ever going to say give the money to those who need it, we’ve got enough money/income/equipment/playing fields. But some of them should.

  47. Kate Ahearne

    Kaye.
    I’m not sure that the funding in the Catholic Education Office, at least here in Tassie, works quite the way you and/or Matters Not seem to be thinking.
    Anyway, I’ll alert Trish to the turn this conversation has taken, so she can reply for herself if she has time today.( BTW, Trish is retired now, but she is the former Director of the Tasmanian CEO.)

  48. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks, Kaye. I’ll read that now. I’ve just spoken to my sister, but she’s flat-out this weekend. I hope she’ll be able to address the issue of elite schools, if not over the weekend, then perhaps early next week.

  49. Kaye Lee

    No problem Kate. It’s good just having a chat. I hope your sister does not feel under attack or like she has to justify anything. Life is actually more important than responding to online discussions.

    I spoke to one of my best friends yesterday. She is principal of a high school in the western suburbs of Sydney. She was in the middle of responding to a crisis that I won’t go into but the stuff she has to deal with on a daily basis is really tough and she is doing a great job under difficult circumstances. Many of the kids she deals with have little support from home and sometimes actual harm. Her job goes way beyond the curriculum which is why I get so infuriated when I hear people who know nothing about teaching saying “we just need to get back to the basics.” They seem to have no perception of how home life can be a huge contributing factor.

    Which brings me back to increasing Newstart….

  50. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks again, Kaye.

    As you are no doubt aware, I’m a big fan of your work. I don’t always agree with you, but I’m in awe of your ability to put your finger on just the right document or piece of relevant information at a moment’s notice, and to keep it all bubbling away in your head. I can’t imagine how you do that.

    But more importantly, I’m a big admirer of your turn of mind, and of your pursuit of truth, accountability, justice, and all that good/difficult stuff.

    My heart aches for those children who, without the care of people like your friend at the coal-face, would surely sink beneath the cracks, and probably will anyway.

    Yes, increase to Newstart, of course. And as for that horrible cashless ‘welfare’ card, I can only say that I would never have been able to raise my children if I hadn’t been able to avail myself of the op shops, the garage sales and the produce markets (late on a Saturday morning), and pay cash – just for starters. Not to mention the indignity, the demeaning. the depression and everything else that happens when a person has to present that horrible card at their local supermarket.

    So much work to be done.

  51. DrakeN

    Kate Ahearne: “But more importantly, I’m a big admirer of your turn of mind, and of your pursuit of truth, accountability, justice, and all that good/difficult stuff.”
    You speak for many of us here, Kate.
    She is an educator extraorndinaire, too.
    This old septuagarian has a lot to thank her for in my on-going process of learning.

    I thank you, too, for viewpoints which I had nor previously considered – as they say “For the wise, everyday is a schoolday” and you are both helping me “wise up” 🙂

  52. Jack Cade

    It’s a funny thing about age and learning. I am old – at an age that was unimaginable to me when I was 30 – but I learn something everyday. And I am not too old to be persuaded that opinions I hold may be wrong.
    However, of one thing I am certain, and I asserted this to a couple of proselytisers not an hour ago; THERE IS NO GOD.
    And even if there was a God, I don’t like the people he allows, if not chooses, to represent him.

  53. DrakeN

    Well, Jack Cade, let us us say that there is no evidence for the existence of said “God”.
    There is, however, abundant evidence that the mass of claims for the ‘works’ of “God” are false, human generated and generally invented for the benefit of those making such claims.
    As I so often assert: “Religions are the longest running and most successful confidence tricks ever imposed on humankind”.

  54. Jack Cade

    DrakeN

    As the late Christopher Hitchens pointed out, if a child falls from a third floor and survives, ‘God’ gets the credit: so who gets the blame for a million kids dying from dysentery? Didn’t ‘God’ notice, or worse, care?
    (Or from one of the million or so land mines Uncle Sam deposited in Laos and Cambodia, countries that they were not at war with – but Hitchens would not have said that, because he was an ardent supporter of the US empire).

  55. Kaye Lee

    There is no-one in the world with whom I agree all the time and vice versa. We often learn more from people with whom we disagree provided we can listen,

    The great thing about getting older is having more time to learn. They say old people get set in their ways and perhaps that is true about some things, but our ability to interact nowadays and to check up on things we hear, to read the scientific papers and government reports or listen to the speeches, is invigorating, I learn so much from the discussions here,

    I hate being wrong so, when I am, I want to be told. Some things are just discussions and opinions but hearing other perspectives also helps me learn. People come up with great suggestions.

    Our views change – for example, I now understand the fixation on credibility of sources that I so resented when I was writing essays to pass courses.

    On religion, I loved the community part of belonging to a church, but grew to hate the worship part (other than the hymns – I just love communal singing). Any deity worth their salt wouldn’t be so needy and would surely decry the waste of time and money and the power struggles and politics.

    PS Kate, I have a good memory and google is my friend. Having people to share things with actually relieves the swirling in my head. And my family are eternally grateful to you all for relieving them of the burden of listening to my daily rants.

  56. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks, Kaye, Dr. Hindmarsh has just sent me this response to earlier remarks on this thread, I’m posting on her behalf.

    Good to see robust and respectful discussion here. Not in defence exactly, but just to say I believe face-to-face meetings (eg during school visits, meetings with parents, dialogue with teachers etc),which technically are ‘qualitative research’ methods, are the best ways to inform and reform funding formulae. If an administrator realises from a personal encounter, rather than from statistics alone, that this school has largely struggling families on Newstart or Parenting benefit, obviously there is greater conviction to ensure that reality is reflected in funding levels. A school with mainly middle class, employed families should attract a lower level of funding. That’s what Gonski 1 attempted to make real, and I do believe Julia Gillard ‘got’ this principle of equitable funding. Her home suburb, Altona, where I once worked in two schools, may well have helped her to understand the need for a funding model that is fair for all students. It’s hard to get that right all the time. We can aspire …

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