Gonski and the week [or two] that was demonstrates just how big a mess you can make of a situation, and this doesn’t even take into account who you agree with about the scheme itself or even if you don’t agree with either side. In fact, the whole scenario could become a training exercise for years to come on how not to go about it. Everyone wanted to have a say, and most did.
Panel members [but not David Gonski] including Dr Ken Boston, Kathryn Greiner and Bill Scales spoke out, as did most of the Premiers and Education Ministers from the states who had signed up e.g. Angry Education Ministers critical of Christopher Pyne [ABC] and academics had their say, e.g., Gonski is gone but can anything be salvaged ?. News media and commentary from across the spectrum was forthcoming such as Bernard Keane and even including legal commentary. School personnel and parents also contributed opinions. This doesn’t even take into account other politicians who had a field day. Surprisingly, while the vast majority was negative in regard to the action taken, there were some reports which indicated other options may now have opened up for consideration as a result of this.
And eventually, and fairly quickly, there was a complete backflip. Well, almost. The funding for four years was guaranteed. In fact, additional funding was found to cover the three states who had not previously been involved. The exact method of allocation has yet to be finalised [at least as far as I can see …]. This does leave what was one of the oft missed factors of the original scheme, the fact that significant funding did not really appear until the later years, in some doubt. There also appear to be some doubts about what, if any, financial commitment states now have to provide in order to get the funding.
In all the furore, the original Gonski scheme seems to have acquired an aura of perfection. It was not perfect. It was a start. It varied from what was proposed by the Gonski Review in a number of ways. This does not say what has replaced it is any better. For an interesting article, including a range of comments, you could find Pyne’s Gonski shambles [Eureka Street] well worth reading and considering. It goes way beyond the immediate concerns about Gonski.
Out of all this, few people directly involved have come out smelling like roses. David Gonski and the panel members are among them. Adrian Piccoli, the NSW Education Minister is one among few others. He has fought for the agreement. He has been rational and explicit about why he has done so. More importantly, and this could be something other politicians may consider taking on, he actually believes and has already implemented areas of funding that were needs based. This meant that some schools were going to be worse off while those with greater need would gain the funding needed. As he indicated at the time, he chose needs based over political based. Name another politician in this whole sorry mess who has done this.
There will be a hiatus. But be assured, the Gonski process will not disappear.
7 December 2013
PISA results are back in the news. Results are not as high as we would like and detailed information about them give cause for concern. Regrettably, the blame game has already begun about who and what the cause of the results will be. We are also being told reasons why others are doing better, though I am not yet clear why Estonia, Poland, Vietnam and Lichtenstein should actually be achieving better even if only in some areas.
Apologists can no longer claim only rote learning, “tiger mothers” and undue pressure are responsible for several Asian countries that do better than us. These groups now also show skill in higher order thinking which is not developed by these factors. A good summary of both results and commentary can be found at OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) [ACER]. As well, there is an interesting piece by Sue Thomson entitled New PISA results show education decline - it’s time to stop the slide that is also worth a visit.
MOOCs have been seen as everything from the death of bricks and mortar universities to opening higher education to the masses. People have talked about quality or the lack of it. Universities have utilised them in various ways. Now, in Australia, we have a MOOC online English course in Brisbane [that] pips the Brits [The Australian]. It #8220;will house the world’s first specialist language MOOC. Dubbed the Massive Open Online English Course, the site features more than 50 free lessons developed by 15 Queensland colleges and universities”. Well done to all involved.
Aussie Educator Site Review. We are in the midst of a full site review that, at present, suggests several major changes to the site. The major data for decisions being made is usage by you, the users. Areas which have clearly demonstrated to be of no value to users will go, other sections may be archived [though no longer updated], others may move within the site. Material within pages may well be modified based on quality and other factors. We are also working to implement a better presentation which will cater for a significantly wider range of platforms/screen sizes.
It is planned to have all the structural changes implemented in time for the new education year while we will also hopefully have the presentation changes done at the same time. With only 24 hours in a day, these may be slightly slower in being achieved. Calendar and Conferences pages will be maintained and up to date during this period. We hope you find the new version an even more useful site.
7 December 2013.
- Not just tiger mums and rote learning : it’s time for a balanced view of Asian education [The Conversation, 6 December]
- VET students cherry-pick units [The Australian, 6 December]
- Making the school system work [On Line Opinion, 6 December]
- Gonski vision the foundation to lift schools performances [SMH, Opinion, 5 December]
- How to lift maths standards in schools [ABC News, 5 December]
- Vic TAFE merger talks broaden [The Scan, 5 December]
- State fails to add up [Editorial] [The Mercury, Tasmania, 5 December]
- Productivity commission childcare inquiry calls for parent input [News.com.au, 5 December]
- Classroom noise linked to poor results [SMH, National, 5 December]
- Mess method good for toddlers [The Australian, 3 December]
Highlighted Education Site
‘12 areas of mathematics from Algebra to Trigonometry. Each has multiple sections and help with specific topics [e.g. Algebra = 17]. Each is clearly explained, with examples, while some have downloadable files.’.
‘Select a category from the table, or scroll th[e] page to view the topic headings. Click the topic names to view the help pages’.
Australian to boot !