Friday, October 13, 2006

Leftist women rely on "connections" for advancement

Precisely what Leftists have always accused conservative men of -- the "old boy network" etc. Leftist projection is alive and well

The Liberal Party's first lady has taken a swipe at the Labor Party sisterhood, branding it an ex-wives' club that had got ahead by connections and embarrassing quotas. The Liberal Party's federal president, Chris McDiven, has pulled no punches in her assessment of female Labor MPs as she prepares to celebrate Liberal women in cabinet. "If you look at our women, they represent a wide selection of careers, career paths into parliament and a wide diversity of backgrounds, whereas if you look at the Labor women, you'll find that nearly everyone has got there through their family connections - they're 'wives of', 'ex-wives of', 'daughters of', 'sisters of'. It is an interesting comparison," Ms McDiven told The Australian yesterday.

Ms McDiven stepped into the media spotlight yesterday for the first time since she was elected 16 months ago as the Liberal Party's first female federal president. A confessed "backroom girl" who has not sought election to parliament herself, the 58-year-old mother of two, former teacher, small businesswoman and investment manager also took pity on her ALP counterpart, NSW state MP Linda Burney, who is guaranteed a term as ALP president because of affirmative action.

Ms Burney ran last in the current four-way ALP presidency race - well behind former Labor leader Simon Crean - but will be given a turn as ALP president in 2009 while Mr Crean misses out. "Personally I feel a bit sorry for Linda Burney," Ms McDiven said at the Liberal Party headquarters yesterday. "I feel much prouder that I have managed to get to this position on my merit. She's getting there, unfortunately for her, as a number on affirmative action. I don't think that will help her in the long term."

Ms McDiven, who ran a program training women candidates that is credited with doubling the number of women Liberal MPs at the 1996 election, said the Liberal way was to be elected on merit without quotas. "Personally, if I had got myself into parliament because I was a 'number' I would not be completely satisfied with that," she said. "I would like to think I got there on merit. Our women can hold their heads up and say they got there completely on merit."

Ms McDiven said many Labor MPs got into parliament on the back of family or marital connections but the Liberal Party was trying to encourage women to come forward and be elected on merit. "When we set up the training program I learnt then that we had to go and find women; women tend not to put themselves forward," she said. "We are seriously looking for women with talent to put themselves forward. "I have spoken to Republican women in the US and the Conservative Party in the UK, they all say the same thing, men tend to put themselves forward."

Ms McDiven said she "got a buzz" when Julie Bishop was appointed as the first female Liberal cabinet minister from the House of Representatives and took pride in the record three women who were now in cabinet. She said energetic new NSW senator Connie Fierravanti-Wells came through the Liberal program. Ms McDiven said she did not believe gender had played a part in the contretemps in NSW over the state preselection battle for the high-profile Pru Goward. She believed geographic reasons were important because the seat Ms Goward was now standing in, near Yass, was closer to where she lived. Ms McDiven is attending a gala dinner tonight in Canberra to celebrate the record number of women in the Coalition cabinet.


Ideologues hijack High School physics education

Comment by Dr Peter Ridd, a professor of physics at James Cook University

The moguls controlling the education syllabuses in the Queensland Studies Authority should be fearful of the plans of Federal Education Minister Julie Bishop to scrap the state boards of study and introduce a national curriculum. The message to them is simple - fix up the school syllabuses or face extinction.

The Queensland education system, and the QSA in particular, has been hijacked by ideologues applying theories dreamt up by the education faculties of our universities. They have become out of touch with the expectations of the parents. In addition, they have made little effort to address the concerns regarding their syllabuses of academics at universities in disciplines such as English, geography, maths, physics and engineering. In short, they have some of the world's silliest syllabus documents while at the same time claiming that Queensland is at the cutting edge of modern education practice.

Like most people who are concerned with education, but who have left the classroom, they have lost touch with reality. My favourite example of a typical Queensland syllabus is the new physics syllabus presently being introduced. A syllabus is the document that a teacher uses for guidance on what to teach and how to assess. Incredibly, the physics syllabus gives almost no guidance to the teacher of what content is to be taught. Nowhere, for example, does it say that the laws of electricity or gravity should be covered by the teacher.

The statements in the syllabus on copyright, equity and safety are each longer than the section on content. The reason is that according to modern education theory, content and facts are not necessary. In fact, in the world of education relativism, facts do not even exist; they are merely constructs that may vary according to your cultural background and general philosophy. Perhaps in some culture gravity goes upwards?

With the omission of any facts from the syllabus, one might have expected that it would be a short document, but you would be wrong. There is page after page of gory education jargon describing the overcomplicated assessment scheme that forbids the use of marks. Instead, it uses a highly questionable subjective system of "holistic judgments" to come up with a final grade.

Also, in the new syllabus, teachers are now at liberty to remove almost all mathematics from their physics courses. Mathematics is the primary language of physics and removing the maths effectively cripples the subject.

The miserable mess of the new physics syllabus is but one example of a multitude of crazy aspects about our education system imposed by the QSA. We have an English syllabus where the children learn more about gender equity and culture than about writing. We have a junior science syllabus that has removed almost all calculations, causing the subject to be pointlessly descriptive.

Students fail to realise how mathematics is a key aspect in most modern science, engineering and technology. Our mathematics syllabus document has not a single equation in it and introduces key techniques such as algebra far too late. Streaming of students in junior maths is officially frowned upon but most schools do it on the sly because the teachers at least do not have their heads in the clouds.

The junior SOSE (Studies of Science and Environment) syllabus has, in the words of Bishop, become a course that could have been written by Chairman Mao. It is a never-ending morass of trendy left-wing mantra on subjects such as multiculturalism, Aboriginal culture and history, diversity, minority groups and why Western civilisation is the cause of all the evil in the world. They learn little geography or history, and the environmental section suffers from the minor problem that they are not taught enough biology, chemistry, physics or geography to understand the environmental problems about which they learn.

Our assessment systems are dominated by assignments. Exams have been eliminated in many subjects. This is great if you are a child from a comfortable middle-class background with well-educated parents. Parents can either help you with your assignments or hire you a tutor. It is not exactly cheating, but pity the children from lower socio-economic groups who do not get access to this extra help. Continuous assignments do not achieve the aim of improving writing because teachers don't have the time to help the poor writers on an individual basis. Because teachers can never be sure who has actually done an assignment they must not be overused and certainly not become the dominant assessment type.

For the past decade or two, the QSA, backed up by their mates in the university faculties of education, have been going on a rampage through our education system. Finally, in Bishop, we have a person who is willing to take them to task. A national curriculum has the minor advantage that it reduces duplication. The major advantage is that we can start again and purge the country of our present boards of study.


Study sounds mathematics teaching alarm

Mathematics is a subject in crisis, with high school maths teachers increasingly underqualified, unhappy and in short supply. A national study, to be released today, reveals one in five maths teachers did not study maths beyond first year at university and one in 12 did no tertiary maths at all. Half are teaching subjects other than maths at school and more than a third are aged over 50, raising the problem of an ageing workforce.

Commissioned by the influential Australian Council of Deans of Science, the report calls for national accreditation of maths and science teachers to ensure minimum qualifications across all states and territories. As Education Minister Julie Bishop fights for a national schools curriculum, the 38 science deans have stressed "the urgent need to prepare more people for mathematics teaching in schools". "Three in four schools currently experience difficulty recruiting suitably qualified teachers for mathematics classes, and the impending retirement of the baby boomers is set to exacerbate this situation," the study says. The call comes as some universities introduce remedial maths courses for first-year students to help them cope with their degrees.

Overall, 8 per cent of mathematics teachers had studied no maths at university at all. One in five had not studied the subject beyond first year, including 23 per cent of junior school teachers. Teachers younger than 30 were significantly less likely than older colleagues to hold a maths major or to have studied maths teaching methods. "This data, along with the changing face of modern mathematics, explains why 40 per cent of those teaching at the moment were dissatisfied with their mathematics preparation as mathematics teachers," the deans say in a foreword to the study. "Fewer than half of the teachers were confident that they would be teaching mathematics in five years' time."

The research highlights the fact almost every Australian student will do maths at some stage during their schooling. And many fields - such as engineering, agriculture, economics, medicine and business - require a sophisticated understanding of maths and statistics. But many school students are not receiving the high level of maths education required for these fields because just 64 per cent of schools now teach advanced maths, a situation brought about by fewer students wanting to take it up.

Titled "The Preparation of Mathematics Teachers in Australia", the study was conducted by Melbourne University's Centre for the Study of Higher Education and is based on a survey of 3500 teachers and heads of maths departments across 841 secondary schools. It stresses the need for state and territory governments to upgrade the skills of the current crop of maths teachers to keep pace with advances in knowledge. "There's a really urgent task for government if they are going to back a new (national) curriculum to put in place upskilling programs in content for teachers that are currently teaching," said the president of the deans council and dean of science at the Australian National University, Tim Brown. "Students need teachers who have sufficient confidence in their subject knowledge to admit when they don't know the answer and help the students to find out what it is, or what the problem is."

The report reveals considerable disparity between the states: NSW has fewer maths teachers per school while Queensland and Victoria have the most. Queensland finds it hardest to recruit maths teachers. While in Western Australia, curriculum changes were causing widespread "dissatisfaction and concern". It says there is no single way to measure teacher quality, in part because teacher registration is a state issue and graduates can enter the profession by many pathways.

The deputy principal of Catholic girls' school Loreto, in Melbourne's Toorak, and a mathematics teacher for more than 20 years, Elizabeth Burns believes the job must be made more lucrative to attract the next generation of qualified teachers. "Teaching is not a profession that is highly esteemed and there are far more lucrative areas that students who are good at mathematics can go into," she said. "They have to look at better career paths for teachers and higher returns. "It's also about recruiting from other industries. I know people are moving into teaching now from other areas like engineering. Recruitment doesn't only have to come from school leavers or university leavers."


Drought caused by government??

That's what the Australian Green party claims. That Australia has always had punishing droughts and big bushfires is ignored:

Drought and bushfires ravaging Australia are the devastating outcomes of global warming, the Australian Greens said. Bushfires are raging in South Australia and Victoria, while firefighters have managed to bring blazes in suburban Hobart under control overnight. And drought has a tight grip on much of Australia, as farmers prepare to harvest significantly reduced winter crops.

Greens leader Bob Brown said the fires and drought were the result of the Federal Government's massive environmental mismanagement. "What I would call the Howard-enhanced drought and bushfire season. It's a very serious situation that the Australia nation faces," Senator Brown told reporters today. "We are going to have enormous economic, environmental and social damage done to this nation over the coming century."

Senator Brown said the only way for Australia to haul in global warming was through a revolution in dealing with climate change. "We need a revolution in politics in this country to not only catch up with world's best practice(with renewable energy and energy conservation), but to get behind those industries in this country which can technologically and otherwise help us to recover ground and deal with climate change."

Leading Nationals senator Ron Boswell said no coup d'etat was necessary. "Drought's always a problem, it's been a problem for about the last six or seven years, and I think we're doing as much as we can on it," Senator Boswell told reporters.


More fact-free Leftism

Read the following then read a comment on it:

The Australian Democrats in South Australia want a moratorium on the growth of the cotton industry to reduce its effect on water levels in the Murray Darling Basin. Democrat MP Sandra Kanck said the area under cotton production grew by 50 per cent to 314,000 hectares between 1994 and 2004. "To even grow one of the world's thirstiest crops in the driest continent is questionable, but to allow such a massive expansion of the industry is absolute lunacy," she said. Ms Kanck said the cotton industry used almost 20 per cent of the water extracted from the Murray Darling Basin. She said the industry accounted for $1 billion or three per cent of Australia's exports and employed three per cent of Australia's agricultural workers. Ms Kanck said water in the Murray Darling River system should be used to support fruit, vegetable and wine production which used less water, employed more people and made more money.


The world has a GLUT of food and wine. Selling it abroad is extraordinarily difficult due to protectionism and competition in the main markets of the USA, EU and Japan. And this brain-dead Leftist wants us to produce more of such crops and abandon a crop that we CAN sell??

No comments: