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People learn something every day, and a lot of times it’s that what they learned the day before was wrong. Bill Vaughan

Thank heavens for NAPLAN [no, really !]. It gave Christopher Pyne a chance to tell us that there was a faster turn around for results to be available - and it could be even faster. However, nothing yet on whether they will be able to do it online, as some people have suggested it may be able to be done.

At the same time there is concern over the drop in the Writing results this year, with a host of reasons being offered. Same topic for all levels; a difficult essay question; the end of critical thinking [a culture of compliance]; a 'confusing' NAPLAN writing test; and more. At least there was defence issued by the designers - see what you think.

Some states were fairly happy [WA] while others were much less satisfied [NT].

Perhaps one of the more interesting commentaries came from Jennifer Buckingham in an article entitled NAPLAN - IQ versus Poverty. While not lengthy, it is interesting and provides something different to the norm.

This week is being suggested as the one when the proverbial hits the fan in parliament, with the bill regarding deregulation and fee changes coming up in parliament. The signs are not looking good for the government, with opposition from the Opposition [Labor and Greens] and if Jacqui Lambie is any indicator with her comment that “Christopher Pyne, you know, he can go and grab a box of Kleenex because all his education reforms are going down the gurgler” [Stephen Matchett], then PUP is also totally opposed. Where to now ? [More on this below.]

Surprisingly, Christopher Pyne does not seem to be fazed by any of the angst being generated. He has even offered to do a YouTube video on setting fire to cutout figures of himself. However, others are not as generous. Politics 101 : …' does not decry the proposal so much as the inability [failure] to sell the scheme. This failure has also been noted by several others.

Others refer to the Trickle up effect of the deregulation proposals. Tim Worstall in an opinion piece in Forbes, looks at the difference between economics and “educational economics” in respect of fees. Stephen Parker’s article Universities are not milk sellers, they must promote the public good rebuts one argument in favour of deregulation.

One of the most thoughtful recent articles though is by Ben Etherington [Anaemic academics surrender to marketisation], while you can maintain a full watching brief via the Campus Morning Mail and High Wired.

Options to get them through are limited, or are they ?

Govt. to target research for savings … ? looks at one possibility for overcoming the need to generate savings if deregulation fails. At the same time, Back off or face mother of all protests, Christopher Pyne told, suggests it may well not be worth considering. A better summary of options, however, is found at “Price of passage” in the Campus Morning Mail for 25 August. The last sentence is particularly telling.

TAFE has remained in the news, though not necessarily as the lead item. One interesting article is TAFE in crisis ? No, but the future is changing for vocational education. It is well worth reading. Much more so than some of the following … .

New VET Panel chair attracts attention for wrong reasons; Concerns about the financial viability in Victorian TAFEs; Apprenticeships and traineeships slump; and more. Hopefully, there will be a more positive note to reports in the future.

Other Areas of Interest

Weatherill call for structural reform of SA university sector rebuffed is an interesting one. It was always unlikely three universities would have agreed to either a partial or full amalgamation. However, it has raised the possibility of merging the business arms of the three. This may well prove possible, desirable and even become a structure others could consider in the future. Are there other areas where this could be the case ?

What next for tertiary education ? Some preliminary sketches is one of the most recent reports generated by NCVER. ‘In 2014 a group of prominent thinkers on tertiary education came together to reflect on the Committee on the Future of Tertiary Education report [the Martin report]. This publication is the culmination of the ideas discussed and is intended to generate discussion and debate on the possibilities for the future of tertiary education in Australia’. The report is available as a PDF download, while there is also a link to a companion publication entitled “A differentiated model for tertiary education : past ideas, contemporary policy and future possibilities”.

Teacher quality is always a contentious area of discussion, often with limited agreement between different parties. What makes a good teacher is the compilation of ideas from an expert panel. Would you agree with the points they make ?

Gonski Finding #1 is the first in a series of finding reviews from Need to Succeed [Chris Bonnor, Bernie Shepherd]. As they say, “It is now four years since the Review of Funding for Schooling began its work. It came up with twenty-six findings. Over the same four years a massive amount of data about schools has appeared on the My School website. Does it confirm or challenge the findings of the Gonski Review ?” They will be covering each finding in turn. For those interested, it will be a site to monitor over the near future.

Site Changes

The following pages have been completely updated : links, descriptors, exclusions, additions : Curriculum page, Famous Australians and Famous World Figures. They can be accessed via the Curriculum and Reference links in the menu.

Updates have been added to the following pages : Calendar, Conferences, Journals.

25 August 2014.

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