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Chaos in Australian Education

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by dutchie, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. Muschu

    Muschu

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    Not sure what you mean by "I just don't see it" Tisme but you are right about teacher freedom. However the department heads, principals, directors etc are all accountable. What becomes most important is the nature of leadership and the inclusion of teachers in decision making. But, as in most organisations, decision-making is withing the confines of matters such as the Australian [or State version of] Curriculum.

    My previous comment was actually referring to resource in primary schools.

    And, as in all occupations, there are teachers who are "better" than others.

    Schools often have the autonomy to determine their own "specialist" programs [numeracy and literacy are a given]. But Primary schools simply are not equipped to do it all. I know of one primary school that has a dedicated science program with an internationally acclaimed specialist. Another school might determine they need to prioritise physical education for example. And increasingly schools are also responsible to their specific community via a School Board.

    Big topic with no easy answer. Kids deserve a quality education with quality teachers. The vast majority of teachers, in my 50 years of experience, are very committed. But they are also an easy target for those who wish to blame.
     
  2. Tisme

    Tisme Apathetic at Best

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    I don't see the symptoms of the malaise insofar as the kids seem better educated, better communicators, etc compared to the drone existence my cohorts and I endured both at school and generally. Sure we had sports, Gilligan's Island and took off for holidays, but the kids of today are tuned into fast pace and pretty switched on I reckon.

    Are we just asking too much and are we competing against phantoms that exist in rarefied communities in regimented (potentially dishonest) societies where kids are streamed into a profession from the cradle?
     
  3. Muschu

    Muschu

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    Good points Tisme...

    Certainly so much has changed since I went to school; when I began teaching; when I retired as a Principal; and to now where I still have consultancy involvements in education.

    I often think of how much one of my grandmothers lived through - being born in 1899 and dying a month short of the telegram.....

    The external world has changed and that has impacted upon parenting and upon teaching - and made neither any easier.

    I find my hope in seeing so many wonderful kids; great parents; and fabulous teachers. Yes, of course there is the "dark side" where parents and educators don't cope so well.... But I am optimistic about the future of education.

    There are things that need to be constantly reviewed imo... School and teacher accountability can be too extreme; change management needs very astute leadership; work and "life" need to be balanced....

    And there are challenges out there that face our kids and test us all. Substance abuse and technology abuse being just two.

    One thing I am confident about is that parents and teachers need to work together as best as they possibly can.
     
  4. Tisme

    Tisme Apathetic at Best

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    One of the dangers I see is a lack of oversight when it comes to secondary school Principals.

    It's all well and good corporatising the schools, but unlike private enterprise the workforce does not have the freedoms to move on and leave baggage behind. If they are sexually harassed, pursued and bullied by their chiefs, teachers risk their whole carrier if they complain. The union reps are often teachers themselves which means they too have to walk the eggshells.

    Middle aged male Principals seem to have a habit of garnering harems that evolve into Alkhansaa brigades that delight in making other female staff miserable, fedup and fearful. The manual arts teachers are generally the last bastion of free tongues and common manners, although that is also in the crosshairs.

    Once upon a time there were fearless, friendless roaming superintendents who answered only to the education bosses... I feel this is missing in the equation.
     
  5. SirRumpole

    SirRumpole

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    Are you talking about private or public education in your experience ?
     
  6. Tisme

    Tisme Apathetic at Best

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    My family tree is saturated with teachers (including directors and principals) past and present. So my views are weighted by their experiences. One of mine had the task of assessing the performance of delivering certain subjects in various private schools until recently and I think this is where Muschu's comment about the calibre and talents of teachers becomes a salient issue.

    Private school teachers don't enjoy the same level of renumeration, super, professional development courses, etc and the degrees of disconnect between their private lives and the school. Many are those who can't gain permanency in state schools.

    While flash new schools are being built by the Catholics, there are still many that do not have the resources required to deliver the subject content correctly. Sort of like Sandstone Universities that are all facade and prestige, but not necessarily educationally superior.

    Personally I suspect a Bayesian regression model might show up the stagnation of the dependent 'outcomes improvement' variable as the 'private school population percentage' variable increases.:rolleyes: Of course I have no proofs of that and I'm not sure if true unadulterated datasets exist to discriminate between state and private.


    Round One ! :D
     
  7. SirRumpole

    SirRumpole

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    That surprises me. I would have thought that private schools and the isolation from the riff raff would be attractive to teachers . Maybe there is an oversupply of teachers in private schools as a result and therefore lower pay ?

    Anyway I can't comment too much as I only went to a public school in the 70's .
     
  8. Muschu

    Muschu

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    A little more later as I have to go out. All Principals in my State [WA] are very accountable and many are female. If a school has serious issues then they can be subjected to an inquiry by an expert review group who can prescribe obligatory improvement strategies. These are then monitored by other directors and by the review group. A summary of the review is posted, for some time, on schools online - a public website. The degree of inspection and accountability is vastly higher than it was even 15 years ago.

    Also, depending on the organisation, private school teachers are often paid significantly more than those in government schools - although all salaries, government and other, vary from state to state. i know that from interviewing private school teachers and from relatives and friends who work in private schools.

    There was some truth, imo, to the comments about manual arts teachers. This has dissipated greatly in my observations of schools where "whole school" policies and "distributed leadership models" serve as a support for teacher-inclusive decision making and as a barrier to teacher isolation. Of course there are variations between schools.

    Private school resources also vary greatly. Just down the road from me is a Catholic secondary school with all the bells and whistles. Perched on prime beach-side land it built what is really a professional theatre a few years back; and is now completing a huge gymnasium that would have cost millions.

    About 10km away is another Catholic secondary school that just gets by financially.

    Have to go - that took more time than I have.

    Have a good day...
     
  9. SirRumpole

    SirRumpole

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  10. Muschu

    Muschu

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    Yes no question this remains an issue - although not everywhere thank goodness. And all schools devote enormous effort to develop positive behaviours. Big topic... Not confined to Oz of course. And another reason for parents and schools to work together, along with specialist agencies and others.
     
  11. Muschu

    Muschu

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    For my own interest I just did a small exercise. In the geographic area where I work there are 35 government secondary schools with 18 female Principals and 17 males. Good leadership is good leadership and all are selected on merit through very rigorous processes.
     
  12. Tisme

    Tisme Apathetic at Best

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    Is there a process in WA where staff can actually talk to a totally independent umpire without a formal complaints or merit penalty/reward outcome to any party? Purely a true picture of the landscape.
     
  13. Muschu

    Muschu

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    Sorry Tisme but I am really not up-to-date with these processes so can't really comment with any certainty. I do know that support systems were in place for any teacher who was at issue with, for example, their Principal.
    As an example [and this is days past] there were many strategies for supporting an under-performing teacher that would rarely be found in the private sector.
    I should point out though that there are still mechanisms where every staff member at every level is held very accountable for their performance; as well as processes where teachers can lodge grievances against their managers [or colleagues] where they feel they have been unjustly treated.
    [I am not talking, as I am sure you will have picked up, on any behaviour that may be illegal which may end up as a police investigation].
     
  14. Tink

    Tink

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  15. SirRumpole

    SirRumpole

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    Good to see someone recognising that there are more causes of bullying than just LGBxyz.

    Merely disagreeing with "the mob' or those in charge of the gang could be a reason for persecution.

    It's a wide issue that should be addressed across the spectrum.
     
  16. Tisme

    Tisme Apathetic at Best

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    From what I understand the "Safe Schools" program is all about creating social discrimination at the expense of the mainstream population's right to have an opinion and reaction?

    Of course Bill Shorten will be defending the right for impressionable young people to be exposed to Govt backed soup of aberrant behaviours instead of enjoying the innocence of youth and individual maturation they were once entitled to.
     
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  17. SirRumpole

    SirRumpole

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    The LGB's have to get an education somewhere but how many of them are there really ? One or two per school perhaps ?

    Safe Schools was a push by a small but vocal group to use our money to push their agenda onto 98% of the population. I'm glad to see the scope of anti bullying has been widened.
     
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  18. SirRumpole

    SirRumpole

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  19. Tisme

    Tisme Apathetic at Best

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    Of course the real reason the private schools get more money and prestige is because their students are thoroughbreds and come from the same stable as the LNP pollies and supporters. Can't have knuckle dragging working class puling on the reins when we are trying to outpace totalitarian countries who are out in front of their 3rd world pack.
     
  20. SirRumpole

    SirRumpole

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    Indeed so. The same reason the Libs won't do anything about negative gearing, it's the Liberal voters who have their snouts in the tax minimisation trough.
     
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