Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Malcolm Turnbull backs Gonski report call to move from mass learning to tailored education

Gonski is a lawyer and a notable networker. He has no experience as a teacher or educationist.  His report is an expression of conventional pious hopes and nothing more.  It's all old hat to real educationists.  The devil is in the detail.  How do you make it happen?  Nobody knows.  Most British private schools achieve something like it but they cost a bundle.  They need to charge like that to get the low staff-student ratios required.

So even to attempt to carry out its recommendations in government schools would take at least a doubling of teacher time.  Where do we get the extra teachers?  How do we pay them? 

Turnbull is safe in endorsing it as he won't have the job of implementing it.  The States will. The State governments will regard this as just a Chinese puzzle and do very little in response to it. It's just a pipe dream

David Flint comments: "Gonski- more of the same. More reviews, more money, poor discipline and a national disaster- constantly falling standards in education. As usual, Canberra  succeeds in only making the problem worse"

The Prime Minister has thrown his support behind what he's described as a blueprint to lift Australia's lagging educational performance, laid out in a report by businessman David Gonski.

Malcolm Turnbull has urged state governments, teachers and parents to back the recommendations in Mr Gonski's report on achieving excellence in Australian schools.

Mr Gonski's second major review into Australian education said the country must urgently modernise its industrial-era model of school education and move towards individualised learning for all students.

Too many Australian children are failing to reach their potential at school because of the restrictive nature of year-level progression, the report said.

It calls for the implementation across states of a new online assessment tool that teachers would use to diagnose the exact level of literacy and numeracy a child has achieved.

Teachers could then create individual learning plans for students that would not be tied to what year group they are in.

If formative online assessments were established and reported nationally, it would downgrade the intense focus on the yearly NAPLAN tests in favour of continuous, real-time measurement of student progress.

The Federal Government has agreed to implement all of the report's recommendations, and it hopes to use it to develop a new national schooling agreement.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said he would enter into talks with the states and territories about how to implement Mr Gonski's recommendations.

"We want to see a system out of this report where each student is stretched to the maximum of their capabilities each and every year over the 12 or 13 years of their schooling," Senator Birmingham said.

"It really is essential that teachers know and are able to chart where their students are up to in terms of what they're learning, how they're progressing and that parents are fully engaged as part of that process as well."

Mass education model holding back students

The report was commissioned by the Federal Government last year after the passage of its amended schools funding legislation.

Mr Gonski said in his report that the structure of Australian schools reflected "a 20th century aspiration to deliver mass education to all children".

The report recommended shifting from that industrial education model to one where schools focused on achieving each individual student's "maximum potential growth in learning each year".

It found current assessment tools in schools did not provide teachers with "real-time or detailed data on a student's growth".

"In our report we're suggesting: let's take some time to allow teachers to have more time to improve their art — and not to improve it because it's not good, but to keep up-to-date with all that's happening around the world and in their profession."

While tests like NAPLAN and the international sample test PISA provided "a useful big picture view of student learning trends across Australia and the world", they provided limited assistance to teachers at the classroom level, the report said.

It also said the current "rigidity of curriculum delivery, and assessment and reporting models" were holding Australia back.

Several state governments lodged submissions to the Gonski review, pointing out that current assessment tools used by teachers were not uniform across all schools.

The Victorian Education Department described current assessment tools in its state as "idiosyncratic".

Mixed-ability classes preferable

Many schools rely on gifted and talented programs to extend bright students but the report said evidence showed that mixed-ability classes were preferable.

It said streaming children by ability "has little effect in improving student outcomes and [has] profoundly negative equity effects".

It recommended overhauling the curriculum to focus on "learning progressions" that extended all students, regardless of ability.

Other key recommendations included:

    Setting up a national inquiry to review curriculum and assessment in years 11 and 12

    Establishing a national educational research institute

    Implementing greater principal autonomy

    Providing more rewards for high-performing teachers

    Overhauling the current A-E grading scale to instead measure progression gains

    Introducing a "unique student identifier" for all students that allows progress to be tracked across time, even if a student changes schools or moves interstate

A special meeting of the Education Council will be held on Friday to discuss the recommendations in the report, titled Through Growth to Achievement: Report of the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools.

Mr Gonski was commissioned by the Gillard government in 2011 to compile a major report on school funding.

The review formed the basis for what is known as the Gonski legislation that created a baseline resourcing standard across all schooling sectors.

Findings 'not supported by research', 'lack detail'

But the report has not been welcomed by all in the sector, with the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) describing it as a failure.

Senior research fellow at the CIS, Jennifer Buckingham, said the report offered no clear guidance to schools and did not meet the review's terms of reference.

"Many of the findings are not supported by research, and lack detail about implementation," Ms Buckingham said.

    "For example, the disproportionate attention to policies that facilitate 'growth mindset' have no evidence-basis in terms of impact on student achievement.

"Likewise, the pre-occupation with increasing the focus on general capabilities has no support in rigorous research about curriculum design and how children learn."

The Australian Education Union said it was concerned the report was coming at a time when the Federal Government was cutting funds to public schools over the next two years.

Union president Correna Haythorpe said it was about properly resourcing disadvantaged schools and students.

"We do have outstanding teachers across Australia who are delivering a very high-quality curriculum, but the reality is that they are missing out on the resources needed to close the student achievement gap," she said.


More African vibrancy in Melbourne

Rental property trashed and police cars smashed as wild party involving dozens of African youths descends into violence. Police cars and property were smashed and damaged at wild Melbourne party

A rental property has sustained thousands of dollars in damage and four police vehicles have been smashed after officers arrived to shut down an out-of-control party in Melbourne in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The party, held at a property in North Melbourne, was an online rental booked under a false name and bears striking similarities to a spate of recent wild parties throughout the city.

Police arrived at the 17 Shands Lane address at about 2am in response to noise complaints and were pelted with rubbish and other objects, including damage to four police cars at the scene. 

'It's outrageous. It's criminal behaviour and we won't tolerate it,' Senior Sergeant Adam Tanner told the media on Sunday.

The partygoers allegedly shouted 'you can't come in ... get a warrant' when police knocked on the door, a witness told 7 News.

The party guests have been described as being of African appearance, Victoria Police told Daily Mail Australia.

Around 50 youths were found at the party and were asked to leave but police discovered 'significant damage' had been made to the property.

Numerous items were recorded as stolen such as a TV and microwave and walls that had been 'punched or kicked in', Sergeant Tanner explained.

'The group dispersed but then began throwing objects at police from a nearby laneway,' leading Senior Constable Lee Thomson said.

Police took cover for safety and later found their patrol cars had been significantly damaged with smashed windscreens, some side mirrors kicked off and panels dented.

Neighbours described waking to the sounds of banging and shouting, abusive language and youths jumping and running across police cars. 

'They were running down the street and jumping on the cars,' a father of two and resident of the area told the Herald Sun.

Another resident Meg Moorhouse said the party-goers became violent quickly, loitering in the alleyway and using 'abusive language' toward police.

'It was aggressive,' she told the Herald Sun.

'They were drinking in the alley. They left broken bottles and were yelling.'

'I think they [party attendees] need to party in normal places ... whether it's in pubs or in public areas that are enforceable by law, or in their own homes,' another neighbour told 7 News. 

The youths reportedly did not leave the street until about 8am, and it's the second out-of-control party to have been hosted at the property over the past fortnight, according to neighbours. 

The $460 per night four-star North Melbourne rental home was listed on multiple rental sites but the 'strict house rules' include 'no parties' and noise levels needing to 'be kept at an appropriate level at all times'.   

No arrests have been made and witnesses are continuing to be questioned by police.

Police are speaking to the owners of the property and investigating the details of the person who made the rental booking.

The police vehicles are also being processed by crime scene services and distinctive footprints have been recorded from the scene.

Piles of rubbish and broken glass can still be seen outside the property and a locksmith was seen changing the locks.


Cutback to funding for Catholic schools

Members of Victoria’s 500 Catholic school communities will be watching next month’s federal budget to see if the Turnbull Government is serious about tackling their concerns over the Gonski 2.0 debacle, Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Executive Director Stephen Elder says.

‘It’s been less than  12 months since Malcolm Turnbull and Education Minister Simon Birmingham stood up to announce a new era of fair funding had arrived, yet in that time over 600 Catholic schools across the nation have already lost an average of nearly $600,000 each, or just under $2,000 per student,’ Mr Elder said.[PB1]

‘The fine print of the Gonski 2.0 legislation – discovered only after the bill had passed the Senate – showed that over-funded independent schools will transition down to their new funding levels over 10 years, while their Catholic equivalents will have just six years to accommodate the changes, leaving them over $1 billion out of pocket.[PB2]

‘This not only makes a mockery of Mr Turnbull and Senator’s Birmingham “no more special deals” rhetoric. It can’t be called “needs-based funding” either.

‘About one hundred thousand families have students in a Catholic school across the state. We are the biggest school system after the government sector by far.

‘Spread those families across Victoria’s 38 federal electorates and they have real punch at the ballot box.

‘That’s why, with the whiff of an election in the air, we expect to see signs on 8 May the Turnbull Government has recognised the need to rebuild bridges with the Catholic education community.’

Mr Elder said Catholic school communities expect action on three key priorities.

‘We expect to see signs in the forward estimates that no special deals means no special deals; that the transition measures for non-government schools don’t see the smaller, more exclusive independent sector given a four year free ride that leaves Catholic schools over $1 billion behind.

‘We expect to see signs to show the government is serious when it talks about needs-based funding and is prepared to finally act on the recommendations of the Final Report of the Gonski Review Panel from more than five years ago and replace the fatally-flawed school socio-economic status, or SES, score system.

‘We expect to find clear indications that the government is looking at fair and accurate measures of need for non-government schools – measures that won’t slash funding for Catholic parish schools while lining the pockets of wealthy independent schools.

‘With Gonski 2.0, Mr Turnbull and Senator Birmingham put the horse before the cart. With the Budget, they can begin to put things right.’

Media release received via email. Further information: Christian Kerr, 0402 977 352

The sexual, racist and homophobic remarks that got a police officer booted from the force

A Victorian police officer has been dismissed from his post in the transit safety division after a decade of derogatory and racist remarks were revealed during a disciplinary hearing.

The man, whose identity isn't revealed, allegedly told a constable she had a 'cracking a***', offered to slap another's 'just once' and made comments about public service officers not being Australian or greeted them as 'homos'.

When she replied that she had, he continued with: 'Don't worry if I want you, you will know about it,' the Herald Sun reported.

While the officer contested his dismissal upon reviewing the comments Police Registration and Services Board Victoria upheld the decision.

While the police officer was later diagnosed with mental health issues, he made a point of saying his actions were only an effort to promote camaraderie.

The board said his unprofessional and repeatedly disrespectful conduct was made worse by the fact he didn't appear willing or able to alter his behaviour.


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

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