Category: Education

The old school tie has lost potency, but a private education still opens doors

The question “what school did you go to?” can be a conversation starter, and ender.

Because in a real meritocracy— in a society that looks to its future productivity and social cohesion— plum jobs are available to all who strive, irrespective of their postcode or school. In a real meritocracy, the state does not actively encourage educational segregation whereby some schools have leaking roofs and others their own weather station, and then declare, as has federal Education Minister Alan Tudge, class warfare “over”. In a real meritocracy, no class of people can unselfconsciously assume they own the future.

Source: The old school tie has lost potency, but a private education still opens doors

Bags of money and the old school tie: Private schools and their impact on Melbourne

Fran Bailey in 2011 with former prime minister John Howard and then Opposition leader Tony Abbott.

When Fran Bailey moved from Brisbane to Melbourne in 1970, one big cultural difference stood out between the two cities. “I was constantly amazed at how often I was asked what school I went to,” says the former Liberal MP and Howard-era minister. “You would be invited to someone’s house for dinner and you would meet people and they would invariably ask.”

Source: Bags of money and the old school tie: Private schools and their impact on Melbourne

Education and Political Interference in the Death of Democracy – » The Australian Independent Media Network

In Ray Bradbury’s 1953 book Farenheit 451, Captain Beatty states that, ‘A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it, take the shot from the weapon. Breach one man’s mind. Who knows what might be the target of the well-read man’. In this dystopian novel, Beatty is justifying the burning of books. While Farenheit is a novel, there is a long history of book burning going back centuries. The burning of books is intended to control knowledge, to prevent free thinking, to make sure everyone thinks the same and an affront to liberalism. Book burning is a political issue, and similarly, the 21st century equivalent is Internet Censorship, which, in a political context, has became a hot topic since the propagation of mistruths became so visible during the Trump Presidency.

Source: Education and Political Interference in the Death of Democracy – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Why the panic over “critical race theory” is the perfect right-wing troll | Salon.com

Students line a busy intersection and overpass protesting against a Jefferson County School Board proposal to emphasize patriotism and downplay civil unrest in the teaching of U.S. history, in the Denver suburb of Littleton, Colo., Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. Several hundred students walked out of class Thursday in the fourth straight day of protests in Jefferson County. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)  (AP)

Moving away from the debate about what is or isn’t “critical race theory” and instead focusing on what lawmakers are actually trying to do — replace factual information with fake history — helps recenter the debate on what’s really going on. After all, the only reason Republicans and right-wing pundits lie about what is and isn’t in the public school curriculum is because they know they can’t win the debate by being honest. The truth terrifies them, which is why they go to such lengths to conceal it both in public debate and in our public schools.

Source: Why the panic over “critical race theory” is the perfect right-wing troll | Salon.com

Teachers Across the Country Are Protesting Laws That Stop Them From Talking About Systemic Racism – Mother Jones

Four people with signs in front of monument.

This weekend, teachers in more than 30 cities protested against new laws that would limit what they can say in the classroom about racism in the United States. The laws—in Texas, Idaho, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Arizona, North Carolina, and other states—have emerged since George Floyd’s murder in Minnesota, after more teachers expanded lessons about systemic racism. Many of the laws ban schools from exploring “critical race theory,” which holds that any study of American history must acknowledge that racism is deeply embedded in government policies and the legal system. Some of the laws are even more broad, seeking to restrict lessons that focus on marginalized groups or equity. There’s money behind them, too. A new political action committee, the 1776 Project PAC, is fundraising to support school board members and others who push similar bills. The conservatives cheering these new restrictions likely took a recent cue from former President Donald Trump—who during his term accused schools that teach kids about slavery of spreading “hateful lies” and insulting the country’s founders. Trump created the 1776 Commission to promot

Source: Teachers Across the Country Are Protesting Laws That Stop Them From Talking About Systemic Racism – Mother Jones

Who Gets to Be Smart by Bri Lee review – gutsy but unfocused interrogation of academic privilege | Australian books | The Guardian

Bri Lee and the cover of her new book, Who Gets To Be Smart.

Lee’s book is laden with research – podcasts, budget reports, soul-jarring statistics (to choose just one: in 2019, Australia’s four richest schools spent more on new facilities and renovations than the poorest 1,800 combined). But Who Gets to be Smart is light on listening. This book yearns for interviews, for the voices of those who are falling into the dark of education’s ever-growing equity gap: parents of children with disabilities, who have to fight for inclusive teaching; Indigenous students who quietly learn to dream smaller; the vast army of casual adjuncts, keeping universities open but teaching for crumbs; the principals of public schools struggling to repair the toilets when the private school down the road has on-site baristas; the women who’ve dropped out of higher ed because Covid-era caring commitments have made study untenable. Seated next to a high-profile vice chancellor on a plane, Lee delights in reading his emails over his shoulder, but she never asks him a question. That feels like a metaphor, too.

Source: Who Gets to Be Smart by Bri Lee review – gutsy but unfocused interrogation of academic privilege | Australian books | The Guardian

If You Love Our Country, Don’t Ban Its History | The Smirking Chimp

The question opponents of critical race theory don’t want us to ask is: How did the past affect the present? What parts of the ugly side of our history have we retained, even unintentionally? Understanding these lessons is the whole point of studying history. We do a disservice to our own history if we do not study all of it, in all of its complexity, in order to secure a better future.

Source: If You Love Our Country, Don’t Ban Its History | The Smirking Chimp

Teaching Australia’s truth is an opportunity for all young people | Hayley McQuire | The Guardian

Students at Bamaga Junior School in Bamaga on the Northern Peninsula in 2015.

Some will say that it’s too political, but right now is an opportunity for everyone to back the proposed change in the school curriculum

Source: Teaching Australia’s truth is an opportunity for all young people | Hayley McQuire | The Guardian

Exterminate All the Brutes on HBO: An astonishing and damning docuseries – Vox

An aerial view of a recreation of a medieval-era war.

Perhaps most blindingly, Exterminate All the Brutes vibrantly illustrates the role of culture in perpetuating myths of supremacy. Movies, yes; Peck has plenty to say about the images we’ve been served up for virtually all of cinema’s history. But also photographs, and stories, and speeches, and songs, and phrases like “brutes” and “savage,” even the tying of darkness to something brutish and bad and uncivilized. What we see, say, and hear, the pictures we look at and the casual phrases we throw around — they all make it possible for us to accept what seems like it ought to be unacceptable. If a culture is made up of the things that people create to make sense of the world around them, then the opposite is also true: Culture tells people what they ought to believe, and if you tell people long enough that their genetics entitle them to rule over and to “civilize” others, they’ll believe it.

Source: Exterminate All the Brutes on HBO: An astonishing and damning docuseries – Vox

Disadvantage accelerates as private school funding rises six times public schools over the decade – Michael West

School funding wars just beginning

By 2029 public schools will be underfunded by $60 billion; private schools overfunded by $6 billion. In the decade to 2019, private schools received an extra $2,164 per student, public schools just $334 per student. The huge costs to society as a result of such disadvantage includes higher unemployment, poor health and low economic growth but Minister Alan Tudge claims the school funding wars over. Trevor Cobbold reports.

Disadvantage accelerates as private school funding rises six times public schools over the decade – Michael West

Neo-fascism on the rise as critical thinking dissolves

By undermining humanities education, the Morrison Government is helping create a superficial society, which opens the door to far-Right extremism, writes Alex Hipgrave. AS STUDENTS across Australia begin a new academic year, it may be apt to re-examine the role of our schooling system in shaping societal attitudes and how capitalism undermines education.

Neo-fascism on the rise as critical thinking dissolves

Privatised VET and Coalition’s wage schemes no fix for Australia’s skills chasm – Michael West

Intermediate skills vital for Australia

Year 12 leavers will be competing with people who are already on Jobseeker and who will no doubt get priority with employers eager for the $200 subsidy per worker. What a terrible message to send to youth, writes Bruce Mackenzie, that they first have to go on unemployment benefits before they are likely to be offered a job.

Privatised VET and Coalition’s wage schemes no fix for Australia’s skills chasm – Michael West

Focus on basics leaves schoolkids short in essential deep thinking

Australian 15-year-olds are falling behind, according to the latest international assessment.

The LNP have been in control for most of the past 20 years and have successfully created disadvantage for most of the nation compared with the rest of the world. But then it’s easier to control the disadvantaged isn’t it? (ODT)

The declining performance of Australian school students is in the spotlight again. But is there anything governments can do to arrest the decline?

According to the latest results from PISA 2018, the average reading levels of Australian 15-year-olds fell by the equivalent of three-quarters of a year of school since 2000. Mathematics levels fell by one-and-a-quarter years of school since 2003. And science levels fell by almost a year of school since 2006. Very few countries recorded such large falls in performance.

Focus on basics leaves schoolkids short in essential deep thinking

Climate change student strike inspired by politically correct teaching, academic says – Politics – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Students protest climate change inaction at SA Parliament House

The youth of Australia marched against the Vietnam war and were called much the same by conservative academics. As if too young to know better. Where was Kevin Donnely then studiously preparing himself to make remarks like this?

Donnelly seems to believe in the art of “training” but then  he had a strict Catholic education by priests being judged  for their training methods today. Where obeying as the pillar of education success rather than the art of defining a problem and attempting to solve it in real life. Being able to say ‘no’ is a learning experience. The Donnely’s throughout the history of education seem to have always found themselves outdated if his beloved  Institution the Catholic Church is an example and result of good education practices. (ODT)

via Climate change student strike inspired by politically correct teaching, academic says – Politics – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The terror of climate change is transforming young people’s identity

I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.

They know certain possibilities have already been stolen from them by the older generations. Rather than trying to hold onto dominant cultural narratives about their future, striking students are letting them go and crafting alternatives. They are enduring the pain of the climate crisis, while labouring to generate desirable and possible, though always uncertain, futures.

By connecting with other concerned young people across the world, this movement is creating a more collective and ecologically attuned identity.

via The terror of climate change is transforming young people’s identity

The ‘Uberfication’ of education: warning about commercial operators

 

“This is Uberification of education and there are plans to scale it up in the global north,” he says.

“These staff are not trained teachers. They are high school graduates who instruct kids for a fraction of the price that it costs to employ a qualified teacher.

“By and large, teachers make up about 70 per cent of a school budget. If you want to make money, you hire fewer teachers or unqualified staff.”

A new American documentary called Backpack Full of Cash shows how children who attend “virtual” charter schools can now do all their schooling from home without the need for any physical interaction with teachers or other students. That includes dissecting a frog on their computer at home.

via The ‘Uberfication’ of education: warning about commercial operators

VCE results, HSC results: A low ATAR doesn’t stop success

We focus on ATAR the media pays far more attention to these few examples rather than proving that they are not exceptions there’s a world of success out of schooling but not enough attention to why and not enough role models to guarantee more. (ODT) Why are Australian schools failing their students? Why are there so few mentor programs and so many expanding privatised businesses selling unprovided enthusiasm for learning? Message: a who you know society is not a Meritocracy.  (ODT)

VCE results, HSC results: A low ATAR doesn’t stop success

Morrison government giving Catholic schools 10 times what they need: analysis

The Morrison government has given Catholic schools more than 10 times the amount of money needed to maintain “affordable choice” for parents, according to analysis by the Grattan Institute.

via Morrison government giving Catholic schools 10 times what they need: analysis

Private education spending in Australia soars ahead of other countries | Australia news | The Guardian

Boys from a private high school

The proportion of public money being spent on private schooling in Australia is higher than in any other advanced economy and has increased significantly over the last decade, a new report reveals.

By 2015 the share of private sources of non-tertiary education made up 19% of overall spending, the most of any advanced economy and double the OECD average of 8%

via Private education spending in Australia soars ahead of other countries | Australia news | The Guardian

Billionaires v teachers: the Koch brothers’ plan to starve public education | US news | The Guardian

‘The Koch brothers and DeVos are trying to do everything they can to divert money that should go to the public-school system, where 90%-plus of students go,’ according to the Arizona teachers’ union.

Convinced that the law would drain money from Arizona’s underfunded public schools, these women complained that Arizona’s lawmakers had ignored the public will and instead heeded the wishes of billionaires seeking to build up private schools at the expense of public schools.

via Billionaires v teachers: the Koch brothers’ plan to starve public education | US news | The Guardian

It is time to teach colonial history in British schools | UK | Al Jazeera

Members of the Mesopotamia Commission at the 1921 Cairo Conference, including Gertrude Bell, T E Lawrence (fourth from the right, second row) and Winston Churchill (centre front row) [Getty]

What the Ramsay Foundation won’t be offering in it’s Western Civilisation Degree. (ODT)

If you grew up in Britain, like me, you probably would not be able to recall being taught anything substantial about British colonial history in school.

The British curriculum dedicates plenty of attention to the violence of others – in Nazi Germany or during the American Civil War – and goes into great detail on a few events in medieval and pre-Victorian English history, like the Plague, the Great Fire of London, and the reign of Henry VIII. But a British school would not teach you anything about the brutality of British colonialism.

We were told nothing of the concentration camps the British army ran during the Boer War, the Bengal famine of 1943 or the massacres of Kenyans in the 1950s.

via It is time to teach colonial history in British schools | UK | Al Jazeera

Jobocalypse now: The impending social catastrophe

Jobocalypse now: The impending social catastrophe. 62707.jpeg

Or should we forget the Three Rs and introduce the Four Cs (Communication, Creativity, Critical Thought and Collaboration)? Teaching children to reproduce what is when in a few years it will no longer be, seems pointless because many of the jobs they are thinking about doing or are already training to do will not exist in ten years’ time. It has been estimated that up to half of our large companies will disappear before 2030, along with up to 40 per cent of the jobs which exist today.

Therefore tailoring the education program to meet the needs of transferable skills in a world in which flexible working conditions and freelancing will be the norm, makes sense. And it makes sense to have started yesterday. As a first step. And as a crucial one because if we do not address these needs, now, then we will lose the next generation to joblessness, homelessness, dispondency, demoralization, marginalization, in some cases criminality and terrorism. In a globalized world, education counts not only at home but in the distant corners of the world.

via Jobocalypse now: The impending social catastrophe

The great public v private education con job

We rarely hear such sentiments because since the Howard years there’s been an undeclared war – yes, a class war – against public education, with our political lords eroding confidence in the system either through overt rhetoric or in more subtle ways, the negative messaging amplified by obscene funding inequities.

At a time of growing inequality, when liberal democracy finds itself under siege, the real balance to “what’s in it for me” is the local high school: open to all comers, accommodating many faiths and backgrounds but striving for a common language and universal truth. The case for public education is more urgent than ever.

The reasons for the war: 1. Like elsewhere in the West, Australia’s political elite is disconnected from the concerns of ordinary people, and 2. Our political leaders are hostage to a private schools lobby that purrs about wanting the best for all schools, but they don’t, obviously, because it’s a law of the market that competitors seek to crush each other.

For years we’ve been sold this con job that funding private schools takes pressure off the public system when the reverse is true. A bigger public system would offer economies of scale. Gutting high schools of middle-class families, their resources and networks, residualising public education so that it becomes an option of last resort, with plunging standards and expectations, simply increases the long-term welfare burden for taxpayers. And what about the long-term psychic injury we’re inflicting on ourselves by raising children in stratified and segregated environments?

 

via The great public v private education con job

School funding war erupts in challenge to Turnbull

AEC president Correna Haythorpe said Mr Turnbull should restore $1.9 billion in funding for public education rather than strike special deals.

“Public schools were victims of savage funding cuts under Gonski 2.0, and they must have their funding restored before Mr Turnbull considers any further special funding deals for private schools,” Ms Haythorpe said.

There are 1730 Catholic schools educating round 760,000 students across the country.

There are 1061 independent schools educating 604,000 students.

There are 6639 public schools with 2.52 million students across the country.

via School funding war erupts in challenge to Turnbull

Women graduates will hurt the most

Make no mistake, the government’s proposed lowering of the university debt repayment threshold to $45,000 will hurt female graduates the most. And the impact will be most felt by women in some of the most essential, yet underpaid professions in the country.

Women graduates will hurt the most

University explains why it walked away from western civilisation degree | Australia news | The Guardian

Former prime minister John Howard

But the lucrative donation was mired in controversy. In April the former prime minister Tony Abbott – also a member of the Ramsay Centre board – published an article in the conservative publication Quadrant stating that the Ramsay Centre was “not merely about western civilisation but in favour of it”.

In the article Abbott criticised contemporary university education, writing that “every element of the curriculum … pervaded by Asian, Indigenous and sustainability perspectives”.

“Almost entirely absent from the contemporary educational mindset was any sense that cultures might not all be equal and that truth might not be entirely relative,” he wrote.
That sparked a backlash against the degree from the National Tertiary Education Union and students over fears about its academic independence of the degree. There was concern from within academia about the influence the Ramsay Centre would have over the curriculum and fears that it would push one narrow view of history.

via University explains why it walked away from western civilisation degree | Australia news | The Guardian

Schools turn to mindfulness to tackle student anxiety

 

Mindfullness may treat the symptoms but fails to address a cure. The Nordic approach to Education over the past 2 decades has adressed the very roots and causes of unnecessary stress in schools the family relieving stress inherent in non universal education turning education back to a process of learning rather than the constant attention to testing and competition for a limited resource.( ODT)

“We’ve collected some data in the one year we’ve been implementing it and teachers all say students have been more productive in the classroom and more focused and calm, particularly after a session. It’s a wonderful reason to continue it if our goal is to improve educational outcomes.”

Homebush West started mindfulness lessons in response to evidence that supporting students’ wellbeing can lead to higher academic achievement as well as health and social outcomes, Mrs Picoaga said.

via Schools turn to mindfulness to tackle student anxiety

‘Pretty damn critical’: Education experts urge big business to step into the classroom

“The biggest barrier is the upper year 11 and 12 curriculum which is so favoured toward tertiary entrance.

“Fixing up secondary school and allowing kids to achieve ‘excellence’ even if they want to be a panelbeater or a barista or a chemist is something that we’ve never had on the table in Australia.”

A rethink was “pretty damn critical”, Professor Hattie said. His University of Melbourne colleague John Polesel, whose research in this area was cited by the Gonski 2.0 review, noted Australia was well behind Denmark and Germany, where about 25 and 50 per cent of their respective high schoolers undertake an apprenticeship.

“The reasons they work well are because the employers actually play a role in designing and delivering the courses and also providing that workplace experience, so that young people are actually learning on the job,” Professor Polesel said.

“That doesn’t come cheap. For those employers to do that, they actually have to bear a short-term cost. But the short-term costs of training them are worth it in the long run because … you end up getting a skilled employee who can actually do what you want them to do because you’ve taught them how to do it.”

via ‘Pretty damn critical’: Education experts urge big business to step into the classroom

Education: Australia’s vocational education system is still creating victims

Little did she know that five months later, Sage would shut down and become yet another footnote in what was arguably the biggest public policy scandal in Australian history: the systematic rorting of the vocational education and training system.

via Education: Australia’s vocational education system is still creating victims

To reduce inequality in Australian schools, make them less socially segregated – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Finland has no Private Schools but far far better outcomes

Inequalities of educational opportunities and experiences are a result of socially segregated schools. Australia has one of the largest resource gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged schools in the OECD. Australia has large the largest gap in the shortage of teachers between disadvantaged and advantaged schools among all OECD countries.

Disadvantaged schools in Australia also have far fewer educational materials (books, facilities, laboratories) than high SES schools. This gap is the third largest in the OECD, with only Chile and Turkey showing larger inequalities between schools.

via To reduce inequality in Australian schools, make them less socially segregated – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Day to Day Politics: For an evaluation of what a splendid education can do, just look at the cabinet. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

 

PS For an evaluation of what a splendid education can do for you just look at the cabinet.

Even when it’s suggested that equality of opportunity in education is a noble pursuit and the right of every child, people like Christopher Pyne , when he was Education Minister, used to say it was class warfare and he ludicrously described the Gonski reforms as such. Mind you at the same time, he confessed to never having read the report.

Now years down the track we have the farcical situation where education is still a mess with the Coalition having a secret slush fund to top up the funding of the private school system while taking money from the Catholic School system.

Why is it so? Why do we deny every kids right to a decent education. You would think that even conservatives when they look into the eyes of the innocent child wouldn’t deny them an education equal to that of any child.

After all they could churn out capitalists who might vote for the. party. As it stands once my generation has passed on their voting pool will be very shallow.

via Day to Day Politics: For an evaluation of what a splendid education can do, just look at the cabinet. – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Richest private schools get payments from $7m government ‘slush fund’

Many of the country’s wealthiest private schools are receiving bonus payments from a secretive fund the Turnbull government claims is necessary to help schools transition to its Gonski 2.0 funding model.

On Sydney’s north shore alone, Loreto Kirribilli, St Aloysius’ College and St Ignatius’ Riverview are among the 102 independent schools – most of them in NSW – receiving top-up payments from the $7.1 million pool in 2018.

via Richest private schools get payments from $7m government ‘slush fund’

‘Feminists Need Rape’: DC Charter School Board Official Exposed As White Supremacist, Rape Advocate | Crooks and Liars

 

Until today, John Goldman was a Senior Manager of Finance, Analysis and Strategy for the Washington, DC Public Charter School Board. But today Goldman was suspended pending investigation after photos surfaced of him at parties with known neonazis and white supremacists as the pseudonymous “Jack Murphy,” self-proclaimed liberal-turned-conservative in the age of Trump.

“Murphy,” it seems, was a foe of Richard Spencer. Still it appears they share some fundamental beliefs, though Murphy/Goldman claims he was a Democrat who now has a man-crush on Trump. Apparently former Democrats can be white supremacist men’s rights advocates too!

John Goldman has now admitted that his online alter ego is “Jack Murphy,” but remains unapologetic about his stated beliefs and why he holds them.

Here are some samples of what Murphy/Goldman believes:

via ‘Feminists Need Rape’: DC Charter School Board Official Exposed As White Supremacist, Rape Advocate | Crooks and Liars

‘Too much control’: Pasi Sahlberg on what Finland can teach Australian schools | Australia news | The Guardian

Pasi Sahlberg, a Finnish education guru

The very opposite of the conservative approach to schooling. Far too left wing  and anti-Assimilation. Our youth might become probelm solvers and encouraged to think for themselves(Old Dog Thought)

via ‘Too much control’: Pasi Sahlberg on what Finland can teach Australian schools | Australia news | The Guardian

The young are mostly right, they are getting a bad deal

You can understand why young people resent being lumbered with education debt when governments have gone for years tolerating distortions in the tax system – negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount – that favour older people buying investment properties over first-home buyers, and push the price of homes and the size of home loans even higher.And it’s understandable that graduates should be uncertain about the economic value of their degrees at a time when so many uni leavers are taking so long to find a full-time job – which is partly because the past few years of weakness in employers’ demand for workers is being borne mainly at the entry level, and partly because universities have lowered the average value of their degrees by lowering entry standards and by educating far more people for particular occupations than are ever likely to be needed.

Source: The young are mostly right, they are getting a bad deal

I was a poor kid at a wealthy private school. It gave me social mobility, but also a sense of shame | Education | The Guardian

Scholarships at private schools might be highly sought after, but they cause otherwise progressive people to support institutions that maintain structural inequality in society

Source: I was a poor kid at a wealthy private school. It gave me social mobility, but also a sense of shame | Education | The Guardian

Art school is expensive and career options are limited, so why do students still go? – RN – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

With university fees set to rise, and job prospects in the arts sector remaining bleak, many aspiring creative types are faced with a dilemma: is going to art school worth it?

Source: Art school is expensive and career options are limited, so why do students still go? – RN – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)