Saturday, April 07, 2012

Children of the rich do better at school, study of NAPLAN test results finds

And so it always  will be.  But some galoot  says low funding for schools is behind it.  In fact of course, being smart tends to help you get rich and IQ is mainly genetically transmitted.  And IQ is the single best predictor of school achievement. Some of the worst schools in America have the highest funding -- but it doesn't help.  If your theory is wrong you won't get the results you expect. 

CHILDREN from higher socioeconomic areas are performing better at school than those in poorer areas, according to an analysis of school figures.

A study of the national literacy and numeracy (NAPLAN) test results by The Weekend Australian has revealed the country's top 100 primary and secondary schools have a roll-call of students from well-to-do suburbs.

Director of the Centre for Research on Education Systems at Melbourne University, Richard Teese, says the analysis highlights a geographical concentration of advantage.

"It's not an even playing field in which talent can blossom from whatever location - it's people excelling through social advantage," he told The Weekend Australian.  He said schools in poorer postcodes were under-resourced and found it difficult to attract experienced and specialised teachers.

"We are now at a point where there are no new commonwealth funds available to correct the funding imbalance that has operated for decades..." he said.  "Our potential is not being harvested.  "Public schools educate two-thirds of our kids; they are our nurseries and we are starving them."

The study also found selective schools ranked highest among the country's secondary and primary schools, with government selective schools in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia out-performing many other high schools.

The study highlighted that while independent schools performed highest outside of selective schools, students from the best performing non-selective government schools were also from higher socioeconomic backgrounds.

It also found a correlation between students' performances and their family's level of education.  "The large reserves of talent in less well educated families are being denied the support needed to be turned into the large band of high achievers representing all backgrounds that Australia should have," Professor Teese said.

The Weekend Australian performed the analysis by comparing NAPLAN results, based on national testing of Year 3, 5, 7 and 9 students, with the Index of Community Socio-Education Advantage, which measures income and education level's of student's families.

It comes after education ministers from across the country met in Sydney on Thursday to discuss major reforms  to the national schooling system.


A premature Aboriginal baby and an African doctor in a rural area -- not a good combination

And only very light taps on the wrist all-round.  Must not make too much of African incompetence must we?  Too bad if a baby dies

THE death of a newborn baby in a Wheatbelt hospital has prompted the West Australian coroner to recommend that overseas-trained doctors be fully informed of the support services available to them.

Baby Sharinka was only 14 hours old when she died of pneumonia on March 20, 2008, after being born five weeks premature in an emergency delivery at Dalwallinu District Hospital, about 250km northeast of Perth.

Coroner Alastair Hope delivered his findings into Sharinka's death yesterday, saying nurses had failed to properly observe her in the hours after her birth and no efforts had been made to treat the condition that took her life.

He has recommended more training for overseas doctors so they are aware of support services available to them, including a transport service that could have taken Sharinka to hospital in Perth.

Mr Hope said it was likely Sharinka would still be alive if the WA Neonatal Transport Service had been used.

He found that Dr Simon Wamono, who was trained in South Africa and Uganda, was not aware of the service and should have ensured nurses were regularly observing Sharinka.

Mr Hope also recommended the WA Country Health Service regularly audit staff notes and observations, finding the one observation note taken in the hours after Sharinka's birth was seriously deficient.

Observations of a raised temperature of 38C and an elevated heart rate had not been followed up, the inquest found.

Sharinka, whose surname has not been used at her family's request, was taken by ambulance from Dalwallinu to Northam Hospital, where she died later in the day.

The Country Health Service says it has put in place new measures to prevent such cases happening again, including improved handover procedures.


Australia  now a nation of enviro-sceptics

SUPPORT for the environment has slumped to new lows and Australians are increasingly sceptical of global warming, new research has found.

Quantum Market Research, which has interviewed 2000 Australians annually since 1992 to track social change, released its latest Australia SCAN in Adelaide this week.

When asked if Australians should all make sacrifices for the sake of the environment, the answer is increasingly "no", Australia SCAN consultant David Chalke says.

The research underscores the problems faced by the Gillard Government as it tries to sell its carbon tax, which takes effect from July 1.

Mr Chalke said there was a clear trend of declining support for the environment, falling from a high of about 50 per cent in the mid-1990s to the current low of about 30 per cent.

"There's a bit of a bump from Flannery and Al Gore in 2007, then Copenhagen," Mr Chalke said.

"You can see why carbon tax isn't particularly popular ... They are confused by the science, they don't understand it, they think it's probably natural, maybe - is the carbon tax going to make any difference? No."

In the environment category, global warming was well down the list of priorities at No. 15, with only 27.7 per cent of people surveyed rating the issue as "extremely serious".

At the top of the list is nuclear accidents and waste disposal (44.4 per cent), followed by a shortage of clean water (44.1 per cent) and loss of habitat for native animals (38.7 per cent).

Australians are making an effort to help the environment, most commonly by recycling newspapers, glass and cans (85.9 per cent), reusing plastic bags or taking their own shopping bags to the supermarket, and washing clothes in cold water.

A CSIRO survey of 5030 Australians on attitudes to climate change published late last year found that while most people agreed climate change was happening, they were evenly divided on the role human activity had on changing temperatures.


It's a bad case of criminal Kiwis in Australian jails

Must not of course mention that we are mostly talking about Maori here.  But no New Zealander would have to be told that

FIVE New Zealand criminals have been booted out of the country in just two weeks - and there's more Kiwis in our jails awaiting deportation than from any other country.

As the federal government yesterday sent yet another convicted criminal across the Tasman, it emerged that more than 220 New Zealanders' visas were cancelled between 2009 and last year.

The government can cancel or refuse to grant a visa to a foreigner if they don't pass the "character test".That's what happened yesterday when, after 14 months of appeals, the government was finally able to remove 26-year-old Hayden Tewao from our shores.

Nicknamed "Tiny", the 2.1m Kiwi was sentenced to jail in 2010 for aggravated robbery, resulting in the cancellation of his visa.

He became the fifth New Zealander kicked out of the country in two weeks after immigration officials deported four criminals on a specially arranged charter flight, because of security concerns that could have led to commercial pilots refusing to carry them.

The four high-risk criminals included one with more than 80 convictions to his name, as well as a man who had a violent history involving knife crimes, an armed robber and an arsonist.

The government has refused entry to 115 New Zealanders at the border since last July because they neglected to declare their criminal records before flying here.

In 2010-11 the government refused 175 Kiwis entry, up from 115 in 2009-10. In 2008-09 it was 160.

Department of Immigration and Citizenship spokesman Sandi Logan said the department "takes very seriously the role of protecting the Australian community from unacceptable risk of harm from foreign criminals or other serious conduct by non-citizens".

Australia doesn't just deport criminals but also frequently removes visa overstayers, illegal workers and foreign fishers.

In 2010-11 officials ordered 1270 people out of the country, with most of them from China, Malaysia and India.  That included foreigners who had landed here and were turned back on the next plane out because information emerged while they were en route to Australia.

"That is not uncommon because our layered border security approach never stops checking on the bona fides of people coming to Australia," Mr Logan said.

In 2010-11 the federal government cancelled the visas of 132 people who failed the character test - most of them criminals.

Officials also refused visas to more than 100 foreigners who wanted to come to Australia.

"So character can be used if someone is here, or if they want to come here," Mr Logan said.


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