Saturday, March 31, 2012

Public schools struggle to attract male teachers as non-government sector scores more men

Because there are fewer of them, they have more choice and many choose schools where they are free to teach, instead of having to spend half their time just trying to get the kids to sit down.  I was pleased to see the number of male teachers  in my son's private High School.  It was because of them that he became enthused about mathematics  -- and he now has a B.Sc. with a First in Mathematics

Australian High Schools are heavily sorted.  With 39% of the kids going to private schools,  all the problem kids are in the State sector.  So those who most need discipline and strong role models are least likely to get that.  If the State schools had reasonable disciplinary policies, the chaos would vanish and a career there for those who really want to teach would be more atttractive

AUSTRALIA'S public schools are in the grip of a man drought.  But it's raining men in the non-government sector, where the number of male teachers has grown 25 per cent since 2001.

At the same time, the number of male teachers has dropped 2 per cent at the nation's public schools, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures reveal.

Schools have struggled to attract male teachers to the female-dominated profession.

Teachers can earn more money in the non-government sector but there can also be more demands outside school hours, such as Saturday sport.

The New South Wales Department of Education and Communities said the national trend was reflected at the state's schools but they also had a very low resignation rate.

Last year there were 15,274 male teachers at public schools, representing about 27 per cent of teaching staff.

In 2001, male teachers made up about 31 per cent. There were 9734 male teachers in the non-government sector - about 30 per cent of the teaching workforce. In 2001, male teachers represented 23 per cent.

A department spokesman said strategies were in place to recruit more male teachers but quality was more important than gender.

One man happy to be working in the public system is 29-year-old Mark Platt, who teaches Year 6 students at Kellyville Ridge Public School.

The school has almost 800 students from the boom suburbs in Sydney's northwest and nine male teachers - a rarity in the public primary system.

Mr Platt said the pay rate was probably the reason men were attracted to the non-government sector but he enjoyed the challenges of a public school.

"I'm happy where I am and couldn't see myself at another school," he said.

The school's assistant principal, Luke Hogan, said he chose to teach at a public school because he believed in its values.

He said male teachers could provide a positive role model to boys who may not have a man in the family home.

"Every child deserves to have access to an education, whether their families can afford it or not," he said.

James Galea, 24, is the only male teacher in his nine-person faculty at Mitchell High School in Blacktown, which he said reflected the perception that teaching was not an attractive career path for men.

The English and drama teacher said his wife taught in the non-government sector and earned more money than him but the main difference between the two sectors was facilities.


Bureaucratic takeover of Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital raises ire of doctors

DOCTORS at Queensland's biggest hospital have passed a no-confidence motion in their executive director over changes to senior medical roles they say hark back to pre-Patel days.

The Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital doctors yesterday called on Queensland's yet-to-be-appointed new health minister to intervene in the dispute which they say is "potentially a disaster for patients".

At a recent emergency meeting, 120 doctors passed a "no-confidence" motion against executive director David Alcorn over his ongoing pursuit of changes to the job description of medical directors covering surgery, cancer care, women's and newborn services and critical care.

The contracts of senior doctors fulfilling the roles - Barry O'Loughlin, Roger Allison, Ian Jones and Marianne Vonau - expired last April and have not been renewed.

RBWH Medical Staff Association chairwoman Dana Wainwright said doctors were in "uproar" over changes to the job descriptions and were worried they would be rolled out to all Queensland hospitals.   "The job description is now focused on managerial skills, not patient engagement and patient outcomes," she said.

"We are very concerned that this change in focus of these vital jobs to bean-counting, rather than patient care, will take us back to the dark days of the pre-Patel era.  "The ideal model is good clinical leadership, supported by business and administration, not the other way around."

Dr Wainwright said this had been emphasised "over and over again" by Tony Morris, QC, who chaired the first aborted Bundaberg Hospital inquiry, and by the Forster inquiry into Queensland Health - both sparked by the Jayant Patel fiasco.  Patel was the Bundaberg Hospital surgeon jailed over the deaths of three patients.  Subsequent inquiries revealed a lack of oversight in the hiring process.

Dr Wainwright said she had met with Queensland Health's Metro North District CEO Keith McNeil, director-general Tony O'Connell and former health minister Geoff Wilson to discuss the doctors' concerns, but her pleas had "fallen on deaf ears".

She said the existing medical directors had unblemished records in delivering good patient care while reducing overheads and improving efficiencies.  "They are all practising doctors who have long-term service to patients at RBWH while delivering budget responsibility," she said.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said resolving the dispute would be an issue for the new minister.

Dr O'Connell said the positions were responsible for the delivery of hundreds of millions of dollars of clinical services.  "These positions should be filled with highly trained and experienced clinicians who also have the proven ability to appropriately manage their resources and staff," he said.


New Qld. Premier bans mining expansion on the Darling Downs

The Darling Downs is Brisbane's food bowl but is only a small part of the State.  There is a role reversal here, however.  Leftists normally hate mining but the outgoing Labor government was more supportive of mining that Newman is.  But Newman has conservative country voters to answer to

QUEENSLAND'S new Liberal National Party government vetoed two massive coal projects after Premier Campbell Newman yesterday declared some of the nation's most fertile farmland off-limits to mining.

The decision delighted Glen Beutel, the "last man standing" in the ghost town of Acland, where Mr Newman has vowed to block New Hope Corporation's plan to double coal production to 10 million tonnes.

The ousted Bligh government had granted "significant project" status to fast-track the stage three expansion of the open-cut mine.

But the new Premier yesterday said it was "inappropriate" to expand the mine in the state's southern food bowl, 150km west of Brisbane. Mr Newman also said he would oppose the creation of Australia's first coal-to-liquids project on fertile farmland at Felton, on the Darling Downs. French company Ambre Energy claims the $3 billion project could supply one-fifth of Queensland's unleaded petrol and LPG needs.

The LNP's insistence on blocking both mines came after Queensland's Land Court ruled on Tuesday in favour of Australia's biggest open-cut coalmine at Wandoan, on fertile cattle and cropping country northeast of Brisbane. But Mr Newman said yesterday he supported Xstrata's mine at Wandoan because "this is not actually on the strategic cropping land of the Darling Downs".

"Wandoan is a different matter," he told ABC radio.  "This has been approved by the previous government, it's now been upheld by the court generally and frankly the project's going to go ahead."

A spokeswoman for Mr Newman yesterday said the LNP had been clear during the election campaign that it would not support open-cut coalmining in the Felton Valley.  "In fact, the LNP don't support open-cut coalmining on strategic cropping land anywhere in the state," she said.

"The LNP will not support the proposal for Acland stage three (because) it covers some areas of strategic cropping land, and would come too close to local communities."

Mr Newman's objections did not appear to deter the miners.  "This has been the LNP's stated position during the election campaign and we will continue to work with the new LNP government," a New Hope spokesman said.

He would not say whether the company would amend its mining proposal to try to reach a compromise with the government, whose policy addresses surging community concern over mining on farmland.

In homage to its National Party roots, the government will fast-track statutory regional plans to quarantine farmland from mining, especially coal-seam gas extraction, in the Darling Downs and the southern Scenic Rim.

Ambre Energy director Michael van Baarle said yesterday his company would not be dissuaded from pursuing the coal-to-liquid project: "We haven't had an opportunity to speak to the new government or the new bureaucracy. We've always supported protection of cropping land."

Mr Newman has also pulled the plug this week on financial support for the $1.2bn Solar Dawn solar thermal project near Chinchilla, 300km northwest of Brisbane. The showpiece of the Gillard government's $1.5bn Solar Flagships program, Solar Dawn had been promised $75 million in state funding and $464m in federal funding.

Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson told The Australian on Tuesday the federal government would need to "consider its own position" if Queensland pulled out.

Mr Newman appeared to back down yesterday, revealing he was awaiting legal advice over the "contractual commitments" with Solar Dawn.

"We're not going to, in some silly way, cancel a contract that ends up costing taxpayers money in some sort of penalty," he said.  "I'm seeking advice on that and I haven't had a formal briefing, but my intent is clear. If we can exit this project and save, I think it is $75m, we will."

He said if the federal government wanted to proceed with Solar Dawn, his government would do everything except provide funding to make it happen.


The people will deal with Labor's drift to Green

They already have in Qld.

Dr Jeremy Sammut

In his new book, Coming Apart, Charles Murray worries about the consequences of the formation in the United States of a culturally distinctive upper class – enjoying all the benefits bestowed by high intellects, high incomes, and high status professions – that has limited knowledge and understanding of the lives and attitudes of middle America.

In Australia, this aspect of the culture wars is usually discussed in political terms of ‘inner city trendies,’ with a preference for pro-Greens policies versus ‘ordinary’ Australians, aka ‘the battlers,’ with families and mortgages in the outer suburbs.

Murray does not explore the electoral consequences of the growing divide between the so-called ‘best’ and the rest in great detail. I wonder whether this is because in democratic polities, the ‘problem’ of political elitism is often self-correcting.

It is true that members of the political class these days are predominantly drawn from among university-educated elites. But politicians who ignore the values and aspirations of average voters, and become obsessed with fashionable ‘progressive’ causes of the moment to the exclusion of core or mainstream preoccupations (jobs, livings standards, transport, etc.), are liable to have brief careers.

This appears to be one of the chief lessons of the catastrophic defeat suffered by the Labor government at last weekend’s Queensland state election. The fall in Labor’s parliamentary representation from 51 seats to just seven speaks of a formidable talent for alienating average voters.

The more astute on both sides of politics appear to recognise this. Commenting on Queensland Labor’s annihilation, federal Trade Minister Craig Emerson warned his party against embracing Greens-style anti-coal hysteria, which leaves most voters cold.

‘If you think you can smash up the coal seam gas industry and harvest votes from that,’ Emerson told Sky News, ‘you’re wrong.’

The same point concerning the ‘policy inflection that’s come from the Greens’ was made in a more entertaining fashion by Senator Barnaby Joyce on ABC’s Lateline:
We can’t build a dam anymore because it’s all impossible. It’s too difficult.

Everything every time we try to make a decision to take our nation forward, to build something constructive, there is someone who stands up and says that that affects the way they see the world and therefore we can’t do it.

And they get garlands of roses thrown at their feet in Canberra, but what happens in the regions such as Queensland is you get voted out of office and the Labor Party have seen that tonight.

So, if you want to get away from the nanny state, get away from Green policies that just drag you into oblivion. And as soon as the Labor Party works that and drops crazy ideas, just dippy, loopy ideas such as the carbon tax, well the better off they will be and maybe they’ll have a chance of rebuilding.

There is more to this than a gratuitous political sledge. The policy failures of the Beattie and Bligh governments included refusing to build new dams (which arguably contributed to the scale of the devastating Brisbane floods of 2011 by delaying the release of flood water from the Wivenhoe Dam) and the Wild Rivers legislation, which banned all economic development in areas such as Cape York in return for Greens-preferences.

So if you can get past the confusion of concepts and garbled presentation, Senator Joyce has expressed a pertinent piece of political wisdom. Ultimately – and I think compulsory voting plays a part in producing this outcome in Australia – the demos can be trusted to solve the problem of political elitism by casting the trendies and all their works into the wasteland of electoral defeat.


1 comment:

Paul said...

"The job description is now focused on managerial skills, not patient engagement and patient outcomes," she said.

I think I mentioned to you a while back that Management in the Hospitals were now convinced it was all about them and their issues alone. I still recall being treated like a leper when I wandered, uniform and all, into the Management suite looking for someone.