Friday, February 24, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is disgusted by Muslim wife bashing

School Revolution?

John Hattie is a smart guy but he is up against a lot:  principally the low intellectual standards of those applying to be teachers.  Very few people with other options would want to teach in Australia's chaotic public classrooms.  Dedicated teachers get jobs in our large private school system, where they can make a difference.  My son's private High School actually had several MALE teachers!  Wonder of wonders!

AUSTRALIA is on the brink of a revolution in our schools, with a radical overhaul driven by the kids whose lives it will transform. And it all comes back to a reality TV show.

For the first time the progress of students will be linked not just to their teacher but all the way to their teacher’s teacher.

Under tough new standards being developed by the government, teacher training institutions will be accredited based on how students ultimately respond to the teachers they produce.

The pioneering new approach is driven by the guru behind the ABC reality show Revolution School, which famously transformed a struggling public high school in outer Melbourne into one of the leading schools in the state.

Internationally renowned education expert John Hattie says not only does the way we teach have to change but the way we teach our teachers must too.

He told he was sick of teacher training institutions reporting only what they taught their graduates without focusing on how that ended up in the classroom.

“I couldn’t give a s**t how you teach,” he says. “I care about the impact of your teaching.”

Prof Hattie is director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute as well as chair of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), which has been set up to advise the Federal Government as it overhauls Australia’s flagging education system.

His book Visible Learning is, according to the University of Melbourne, “believed to be the world’s largest evidence-based study into the factors which improve student learning”. It combined 50,000 other smaller studies and ultimately involved 80 million students.

In a nutshell, it found that teachers should talk less and listen more.

Almost miraculously in the current political environment, this approach has bipartisan support. Labor has even accused the Turnbull Government of pinching its own ideas, which in politics is about as close to a compliment as you can get.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham is understood to be very close to the thinking of Prof Hattie and Labor’s education spokeswoman and deputy leader Tanya Plibersek told “I think the Hattie approach is fantastic.”

According to one senior insider developing the new scheme it is nothing short of a revolution. “It’s absolutely a revolution. It’s going to take a while to flow through — you can’t make these things happen overnight — but it will happen.”

Senator Birmingham has adopted a cool and clinical philosophy since becoming minister 18 months ago but his resolve is clear.

“Every decision that’s made and every dollar that’s spent needs to come back to answering a simple question — what does the evidence show works best?”

And Ms Plibersek agrees: “All the research agrees that the most important thing to the child’s success in the classroom is the teacher.”

Critically, Ms Plibersek says that while she still wants to see more needs-based funding for schools, the Opposition “would never hold reform hostage” and supports maximum transparency in measuring student progress as well as teachers and training institutions being driven by that.

This is an almost unprecedented aligning of the planets when it comes to real reform that will transform our kids and ultimately our country.

And a major breakthrough could come in mere weeks, with the Council of Australian Governments’ Education Council set to meet in Hobart on April 7.

It is expected there will also be significant progress on fixing school funding so that wealthy private schools are not overpaid with taxpayer dollars, which Labor has indicated it is also willing to consider.

The top-to-bottom schools overhaul follows a string of international reports showing Australia falling behind in education.

The latest figures from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study found Australia had fallen behind Kazakhstan in maths and science — described by the Centre for Independent Studies education research fellow Jennifer Buckingham as “dismal”.

The following week the Programme for International Student Assessment found Australia had slipped behind nine countries — including New Zealand.

The Australian Council for Education Research’s Dr Sue Thompson, who collated our portion of the data, described school performance as being in “absolute decline”.

Prof Hattie is even more brutal, saying the obsession with more cash over better quality of teaching was destroying Australian education. “There’s a lot of ‘Just give me more money and leave me alone’ and it’s killing us,” he says.

“Everybody knows we’re going backwards but it’s very hard to get that on the table. We want more money to do what we were doing yesterday which is not the right answer.”


As demonstrated by Revolution School, as well as data and research across the world, the number one factor in a student’s performance isn’t school resources or class sizes but how the teacher engages kids in the classroom.

The new push means that for the first time student progress will be tracked not just back to the teachers but to the teachers’ teachers, with tough new standards for training providers based on how their methods work not on their graduates, but on the kids their graduates end up teaching.

It’s so simple it’s radical.

The government is significantly toughening up the accreditation process for initial teacher education programs, which Prof Hattie says has been ridiculously soft.  Providers must now apply for accreditation against a new strengthened standard. Some may well fall short.

“In the history of this country we’ve never denied accreditation to a single institution,” he says.

Under the new scheme providers would need to show “evidence of impact”. It is linked to an Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership report that states:

“It is a fundamental expectation that every teacher education graduate will have met the Graduate Teacher Standards, succeeded on the teaching performance assessment and demonstrated a positive impact on student learning.  “Equally, it is expected that graduates will continue to have a positive impact throughout their teaching career.

“It is acknowledged there are measurement challenges in assessing teachers’ impact on student learning, but it is expected that improved mechanisms will develop over time, given the importance of measuring this impact.”

In other words, the accreditation of training providers will depend on the performance of teachers not in their institutions but in the classrooms of the future.

Prof Hattie admits the approach of constantly measuring teacher performance by student progress or “growth” had met resistance by entrenched interests, including teachers unions and the odd state government.  “The union at the moment has a black ban on AITSL,” he says, only half joking.

In response, the Australian Education Union says it was actually represented on the AITSL Board until 2015, when former minister Christopher Pyne restructured it. “We’ve not really been part of their work since then, but we haven’t black-banned them,” a spokesman says.

He says the AEU supports measuring teacher performance and pay against set professional standards — a big improvement on the previous model based on years of service — but not on teachers being measured by student achievement.

“On the general idea of paying teachers according to student achievement, there are massive practical issues with what you measure, how you measure it and how you compensate for the different social backgrounds of schools. As far as I know, there’s no school system, public or private, that makes it the basis of teacher pay, including high-performing Asian ones like Singapore.”

But Prof Hattie says this is because schools do not have the right tools to measure student growth. “When you give the teachers the skills, the resources, they’re hungry for it,” he says.

The key is regular ongoing feedback and measurement rather than just end of year report cards or NAPLAN tests. “How do we help the teachers use that? How many of their kids have grown? There’s no calibration,” Prof Hattie laments.

“Teachers don’t have a common conception of progress. It’s reporting back to teachers, giving the resources to teachers so they can see who’s making progress.”


It is also vital to be able to talk about teacher performance without being seen to “bash teachers”. “How do you get a debate about expertise without getting a debate about bad teachers?”

Even parents, he warns, have fallen prey to misguided ideological thinking, often focusing on issues like class sizes that the research says do not really matter: “The things they want the resources for are the things that impact the least.”

Meanwhile, the great dance of the federation continues, with the states instinctively milking the Commonwealth for all the money they can get. “Every time the government puts a dollar in, the states take a dollar out,” Prof Hattie says.  “I can tell you, Oliver Twist is alive and well.”

Or, as the insider puts it: “Essentially we’ve been handing over this cash to the states and they’ve been doing all this ideological s**t that doesn’t make a difference.”

Meanwhile the crippling taboos and sensitivities that have always haunted political reform remain.

Prof Hattie is at pains to stress that his approach is nothing like the much-maligned NAPLAN “National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy” testing, saying he’s scared to even use the word “assessment”. “You can’t do that!” he jokes. I think.

But there’s one thing even more shocking, more galling and more forbidden about the schools revolution that might just save our nation. A truth that the former Professor of Education at Auckland University dare not speak and one that should send chills down the spine of every red-blooded Australian.

“I should never say we’ve already done it in New Zealand.”


A fine Muslim man whom Australia is lucky to have

Showing a typical Muslim respect for women

A Sydney woman, who saw her father stab her mother to death, begged and frantically tried to stop him while screaming for help, she has told a court.

Ola Haydar, who was 18 at the time, told the NSW Supreme Court she heard a scream at her Bexley home and ran into the kitchen to see her father, Haydar Haydar, stab her mother, Salwa Haydar, in the back in early 2015.

She said she 'tried to get in the middle of it' but her father kept going.  'I was trying to hold his hand back, the one that held the knife,' she said on Wednesday.  'I tried pushing him off her but I couldn't.'

Breaking into tears, Ms Haydar said she was 'begging him to stop' and 'screaming and screaming for help'.  She cried out: 'What are you doing? Oh my God you're going to kill her'.

But her father responded, 'No, it's fine' and 'Why are you screaming? Stop screaming'.

Haydar, 60, is on trial and has pleaded not guilty to murder, wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and reckless wounding, but has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

The Crown says the former taxi driver suspected his wife of having an affair and stabbed her 30 times.

On Wednesday Ms Haydar told the court two of her fingers were cut when she tried to save her mother, but she wasn't paying attention to herself at the time.

She said she heard her father call her mother the Arabic word for 'sl**' during the attack and heard her mother say: 'I didn't do anything'.

Ms Haydar said she went to the phone to get help and her father turned around. 'He looked at me and said, "What are you doing?", and he continued,' she said.  'He'd look back and continue.'

Haydar cried and held his head in his hands in the dock.

Crown prosecutor Michael Barr said in his opening statement Haydar and his wife, a drug and alcohol counsellor, had talked often about separating.

Mr Barr said Haydar suspected his wife of being unfaithful after he found messages to a co-worker on her phone.


Greens cowardice on Islam, other key issues, matches their ignorance

by Chris Kenny

Islam is the most feminist religion. Wind energy is reliable. Border security is unnecessary. The US alliance is inimical to our national interest. The Australian is a race-baiting newspaper.

The Australian Greens have strayed so far from reality in their post-truth universe that they must have become confused between the real world and a flashback to some trip in the 70s.

They have become the lunatics at the bottom of the garden shouting at the moon.

It would be hilarious if it weren’t so dangerous, amusing if it wasn’t so damaging to our nation. “The Australian, or as it may be better described, the Q Society Gazette,” said Greens senator Nick McKim in the Senate today, “has become little more than a loss-making, race-baiting rag.”

Not only do these political fringe dwellers combine with Labor and crossbench senators to undermine the nation’s fiscal position and economic future, but they meddle incessantly and odiously in identity politics, fuelling resentment and division, and spitting bile at mainstream voters, their concerns and their values.

This latest foray from Greens leader, Richard Di Natale, and McKim has come after today’s page one article by Caroline Overington about Yassmin Abdel-Magied.

Overington revealed how taxpayers had funded the writer’s tour to majority Muslim nations in North Africa and the Middle East to promote her book and her views.

It was highly relevant and topical given Abdel-Magied’s appearance on Q&A on Monday night, when she attempted to justify sharia law, and, astonishingly, said Islam was “the most feminist” religion.

In return for its reporting on this issue, this newspaper was singled out by the Greens leader who claimed we had attacked Abdel-Magied and that our reporting was fuelling tensions around Islam.

Overington revealed Abdel-Magied’s tour took her to a range of countries where women are treated appallingly.

She did nothing but put salient facts into the debate. She can’t do much about her skin colour but Overington is neither middle-aged nor male and anyone who reads her work knows she is a strong feminist.

McKim and Di Natale, on the other hand, are white non-Muslim men eager to parade their tolerance for Islam while wilfully blind on equality for women behind the veil.

Their cultural and political cowardice is matched only by their ignorance.


Labor party computer bungle still hitting hospital staff years later

The bungle was entirely the work of a big-noting health minister at the time.  He signed off on the contract before the new system had been validated.  All debts or apparent debts incurred at the time should have been written off years ago

A SUNSHINE Coast mum is being chased by a debt collector on behalf of Queensland Health for $6000 they say she was overpaid as a result of the payroll debacle seven years ago.

Krysten Harvey is fuming as she has been trying to get an explanation from Queensland Health for more than a year showing how they have worked out the debt, The Sunshine Coast Daily reports.

She’s had no response and didn’t think more of the matter, particularly as six months ago she gave birth to her first child.

But on Monday she received a text from a debt collector advising she was now being pursued for the alleged funds.  “Please contact ARL on .... concerning a matter received from Queensland Health,” the text read.

Ms Harvey, who worked as a wardie for Queensland Health in 2009 and 2010 while on a year off from university for her nurse studies, was hit by the payroll debacle “pretty blood bad”.

Sometimes she would go without pay for “months” and then her pay was “always wrong if I was paid”.

“None of my pay slips matched the figure which was finally deposited into my bank account,” she said. “Mind you, I was also receiving two pay slips each fortnight. Why? I don’t know. These pay slips made no sense at all.

“ I’d work a 64-hour contract, I was casual and one pay slip would say I was paid nothing and the other pay slip would say I was taxed $1200.”

It became so bad, it “marred the rest of my experience with Queensland Health”. “I struggled to pay bills, to pay my rent, to eat, to afford fuel to even get to work.

“I called Centrelink out of desperation only to be told that they couldn’t do anything because ‘on paper’ I was earning money.”

She washed her hands of the matter out of frustration.

The payroll debacle, which affected thousands of Queensland Health employees, sparked a Commission of Inquiry by Honourable Richard Chesterman in 2013. He described it as a “catastrophic failure”.

Health Minister Cameron Dick also apologised in September 2015 that the “payroll system under the previous Labor government was a disaster”. But if Ms Harvey thought that was the end of the nightmare, she was wrong. It was only the beginning.

In 2016 when she was pregnant with her first child and working as a registered nurse, she received a phone call from Queensland Health.

She thought it was about appointments for her pregnancy, but it wasn’t.  “It’s about a supposed $6000 plus debt that I owe to Queensland Health,” she said.

Thankfully, Ms Harvey had kept her pay slips and could access her bank statements from six years earlier and she took the matter to her local member Jarrod Bleijie and she asked Queensland Health for their documentation.

None of their examples matched what she was paid on her pay slips.

That was months ago and she hoped the debacle was behind her, until she received the text from the debt collector.

“The year is now 2017 and they’ve sent the issue to a debt collector now which I can only imagine meant that I have been defaulted for an amount of money that they have practically made up,” Ms Harvey said.

She is determined to fight it as they have caused me an “insurmountable amount of emotional trauma”.

“I gave birth to my now six-month-old son two weeks early due to stress-induced pre-eclampsia and now they are potentially affecting my ability to get a loan.”

Mr Bleijie was also amazed this issue had raised its ugly head again.  “I feel for Krysten and other nurses who have contacted me about the Palaszczuk government’s cruel attempt to recoup alleged overpayments that can’t be proven and occurred over six years ago under Labor’s watch,” he said.

“This is seriously affecting Sunshine Coast families and it’s time Cameron Dick stepped out of his ivory tower, listened to Queenslanders, and fixed his own mess.”

Queensland Health was approached early yesterday for comment. No response was received by deadline.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

1 comment:

Paul said...

When QH tried to make amends for the payroll bungle, they audited for overpayment but never took the same view for underpayment, insisting that this was our problem, not theirs. And yes, they still chase payments.