Monday, July 23, 2018

Simple solution to STEM teacher shortage

Both ideas put forward below have great merit but they do not exhaust the possibilities.  Another idea is to make teaching into more attractive work than it is today.  It seems fairly likely that a fair percentage of mathematically talented people are fairly nerdy types and they would be very much pushed away by the boisterous and occasionally violent classrooms that greet government school teachers today.  Almost all teachers report problems with indiscipline and it is a major reason reported for teacher turnover.

So it is a problem generally, not only for maths teachers and solving it in general would help bring back mathematical enthusiasts who have been deterred from teaching in the first place.

And both the source and the solution for indiscipline are historically as clear as day.  Leftist ideas that forbid physical punishment are the
fons et origo of contemporary problems. The few disciplinary options that are now available to head teachers are plainly insufficient.  The orderly classrooms of yesteryear are now rare.  As a result, education for all is now regularly disrupted.  As usual, Leftist ideas have proved destructive.

So physical punishment needs to be an option again.  It was until recently.  I remember it myself. So it can clearly be an option again. It would require a revised legal framework but it would substantially fix education, including STEM education

Faced with the shortage of qualified teachers for science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) subjects, the federal government recently announced its intention of solving this problem - but it is a state and territory issue.

Alan Finkel, Australia's Chief Scientist, delivered an excellent speech last week extolling the importance of teaching rigorous content knowledge in STEM subjects. He identified the problem of many student arriving at university to study STEM-related degrees without the necessary foundations. Clearly, we need to improve the quality of maths and science teaching across the school system.

But it is difficult to attract science and maths graduates to the teaching profession. Approximately 20% of Years 7-10 science and maths teachers in Australia do not have any university qualification in their subjects.

One straightforward idea to encourage STEM graduates to become teachers - which CIS has been advocating for many years - is to allow differential, market-driven pay rates for teachers depending on the demand for qualified teachers in their subjects.

This isn't like the simplistic `pay all teachers more' or `introduce performance-based pay' solutions.

Rather, teacher salaries should be higher or lower depending on whether there is an oversupply or undersupply of teachers in the subject. For example, if there is an oversupply of history teachers and an undersupply of science teachers, then schools should be able to pay science teachers relatively more.

While this might seem an absolute no-brainer, it is surprisingly controversial. Education unions tend to oppose differential pay rates, which helps explain why we continue to have set teacher salaries that only vary with experience and expertise, and not with subject area. As long as this is the case, it is very hard to see an end to Australia's STEM woes.

The truth is maths, engineering, and science graduates tend to be in demand by many employers, and so they have to forgo relatively high-paying jobs to go into teaching.

Another impediment for STEM graduates becoming teachers is that they must take two years off paid work to do a Master of Teaching. Until recently, it was possible to do a one-year Graduate Diploma of Education instead.

The benefits of a Masters compared to a Diploma are arguable - and university teacher education degrees often don't equip teaching graduates with evidence-based practices. So it is hard to argue that STEM graduates should have to do a further two years of full-time study to become qualified teachers.

Introducing differential teacher pay rates for STEM teachers won't solve the problem overnight, but there seem to be few other viable options.


Queensland Government employs 4300 in a public service jobs spree

And what could they do that they couldn't do before?


THE Palaszczuk Government has undertaken one of its biggest public service hiring sprees since coming to office. New figures show  about 4300 full-time-equivalent staff were hired in the three months to March, the biggest increase since the March quarter in 2015.

It comes as the state's public service wages bill continues to climb by about $1 billion a year, according to the latest Budget figures. Debt is also on track to reach $83 billion by 2021-22. The majority of new staff were hired by the health and education departments.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Treasurer Jackie Trad yesterday released the March quarter public service figures in a pre-Estimates dump alongside the long-awaited KPMG report into the effectiveness of Labor's hiring spree. The public service has grown by 26,401 since the last quarter under the former Newman government in December 2014. The KPMG report, which was handed to the. Government in July last year, found there was evidence to suggest the services provided had "generally kept up with demand", but took issue with the way the Government measured service delivery. It said that, while some areas had improved, others had not including child safety, where it found the data indicated NO vidence to suggest the number of FTE (full time employees) had resulted in an improvernent  in response times. 

Premier Annastasia Palaszczuk defended the decision to release the KMPG report yesterday rather than before the last election and the most recent Budget. She said the. Government had been working to implement its recommendations. She and Ms Trad insisted work was under way to ansure  the public service growth was kept in line with  population growth as promised.

Former QUT vice-chancellor Peter Coaldrake has been commissioned to review the way the public service is counted and managed. Contractors and labour hire workers not now included in quarterly data will be counted, with Ms Pal-aszczuk promising to drive down their cost.

Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mander slammed the spending of "$165,000 of taxpayers' money trying to prove that hiring more public servants has improved services".

Together secretary Alex Scott questioned the KPMG measurement methods.

Not online.  From "Courier Mail" 21 July, 2018. p.2.

Visa queues swell as Peter Dutton's migration cuts bite

Families are set to wait longer to bring in husbands and wives from overseas as the Turnbull government presides over a growing queue for permanent migration, in another sign of its tougher line on population growth.

Employers are also feeling the impact of a cut to the migration program amid business warnings that both major parties are "playing with fire" by shutting out workers who contribute to the economy.

Applications for family visas, including spouses who have married Australians, fell to 125,000 in the year to June but only 47,000 were granted, leaving tens of thousands waiting for a decision.

Applications for skilled worker visas fell to 145,000 during the year but only 111,000 were granted, highlighting the number of employers who could be missing out on workers they want from overseas.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has overseen a cut to the permanent intake from 183,608 last year to 162,417 in the year to June 30, trimming both skilled and family visas.

"I want to make sure we scrutinise each application so we're getting the best possible migrants," Mr Dutton said last week.

Fairfax Media sought figures on the number of applications lodged during the past year and was told the number of family stream applications fell 12.6 per cent while the skilled applications fell 17.7 per cent.

Total refusals increased 46 per cent and total withdrawals increased 17 per cent as a result of the "increased focus on integrity" but the total number of finalisations was similar, the government said.

The numbers reveal the hidden side of the government's tougher line on permanent residency, with many applicants waiting within Australia on other visas while they seek a decision on permanency.

Both major parties are now hardening their language about foreign workers, with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten accusing the government of doing nothing about 1.6 million people from overseas who have work rights in Australia.

"This government does not want to talk about the growing problem of people coming to Australia with temporary work right visas and they're doing nothing about that," he said.

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive James Pearson said businesses and jobs were at risk from the "starving of skills" from visa changes.

"They are stoking the unfounded fears of some in the community who are being told that skilled migrants take jobs off Australians," Mr Pearson said.

Australians have a right to gain a visa for a spouse but are often expected to wait more than a year, with Home Affairs saying 75 per cent of applications are processed within 23 months and 90 per cent are processed within 32 months.



‘White feminists’ blame colonisation for indigenous domestic violence

Why not blame it on the Dinosaurs? Might as well.  The causal chain is just as absent

A new taxpayer-funded report that claims domestic violence against indigenous women and children is caused by colonisation has been criticised as a kind of “white feminism” that excuses male violence in some cultures and ignores victims of domestic crises.

The national organisation Our Watch, funded by the commonwealth, state and territory governments, released a report yesterday examining ways to prevent family violence affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children that appears to blame settlement for contemporary violence.

The organisation is chaired by Natasha Stott Despoja and has just two indigenous members on its board — Vicky Welgraven and Jeremy Donovan — alongside Lieutenant General David Morrison and former NSW Liberal MP Kerry Chikarovski.

“While there is no one ‘cause’ of violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, its three key underlying drivers can be understood as: the ongoing impacts of colonisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the ongoing impacts of colonisation for non-indigenous people and in Australian society and gendered factors,” the report says.

“(This includes) both gender and inequality in a general sense, and specific gendered drivers of ­violence that are a consequence of colonisation.”

Indigenous academic Marcia Langton said some of the conclusions in the report were an “outcome of white feminists ignoring the voices of Aboriginal women”.

“White feminists largely have a poor understanding of the challenges faced by frontline Aboriginal female workforce with little support from police and courts,” she told The Australian.

“The male perpetrators are represented in court; victims and families are not. Still, across most of the country, this is the case. Aboriginal women victims of domestic violence are ending up in jail at ­astonishing rates.” The latest statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, released in February, show that indigenous women are 32 times more likely than non-indigenous women to be hospitalised because of family ­violence. Similarly, indigenous men are 23 times more likely to be hospitalised.

Two in five indigenous homicide victims — 41 per cent — were killed by a current or former partner, compared with one in five non-indigenous homicide victims, the data shows.

National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples co-chairwoman Jackie Huggins said while the drivers of violence were “inextricably linked with the legacy of colonisation”, it was time to change focus.

“Now peoples and communities need to come together to find solutions. Colonisation should never be used as an excuse for ­violence,” Dr Huggins told The Australian.

“In the past, the conversation about family violence has talked about women in a way which has erased the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women facing family violence. I’m very pleased to see the voices and experiences of our women being elevated in these conversations.”

Our Watch acknowledges that many indigenous women have white partners or partners from other backgrounds, and that men should never be taught that violence can be excused.

One of the key recommendations of the Our Watch report is for “specific healing strategies for women, men, children and young people as well as holistic strategies to enable community healing”.

In an essay in Griffith Review published in April, Professor Langton dismissed the concept of healing for violent men.

“Another excuse for the violence — the dominant one, I think — is that Aboriginal men are the victims of ‘colonisation’ and ‘need to heal’ before we can deal with the violence,” she wrote.

“Again, the argument, the logic and the consequences are repugnant and should be dismissed. The logical answer is that men who do not approve of such violence should stand beside Aboriginal women advocates to end the violence and defend their cause.

“They should report perpetrators of assault and rape to the police. They should demand that the criminal justice system deal with these matters effectively. But the justification for violence is that Aboriginal men have been colonised and are victims who need to be addressed as a priority over their victims. Why? Well apparently because men come first, if we follow this specious reasoning.”

Dr Huggins agreed that the effects of colonisation played a huge role in under-reporting of violence, because “many peoples mistrust the police, and for good reason”.

Our Watch chief executive Patty Kinnersly told The Australian the report was clear that there was no excuse for violence against women. “It unequivocally points to the need to ‘challenge the condoning or excusing of violence’ in all contexts — by men, women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and non-indigenous Australians,” she said.

“It examines the impacts of colonisation and intergenerational trauma as ways to develop a deeper understanding of the issue, because they are some of the many factors driving it. It also prominently features input from Aboriginal people — both men and women — who stress that while these issues need to be understood and addressed, they are not excuses for violence.

“Changing the Picture states explicitly and frequently that nothing excuses violence, and instead seeks to offer insights that will prove constructive in building a future free from violence.”

The resource also debunks some of the myths about indigenous violence and says explicitly, despite the claims of some men, that “violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women is not a part of traditional culture”.

Social Services Minister Dan Tehan said Our Watch was an independent body and the content of the report was a matter for its members. “The government’s Stop it at the Start domestic violence campaign emphasises as its priority personal responsibility and respectful relationships.”


‘The police might as well put on masks and join in’

Far-right provocateur Lauren Southern has accused Australian police of inciting violence and 'participating' in protests during a controversial speaking event she held in Melbourne.

Ms Southern appeared on Sky News with conservative journalist Andrew Bolt, who asked the Canadian if she had even been 'presented with a police bill for protecting you from thugs?'  

'Never in my life,' the 23-year-old responded. 'This really does seem like an incentive for violence. Not only do you get to beat people that you don't like and attack them but they're going to be oppressed economically as well.' 

'The police are quite frankly participating ... They might as well be members of Antifa at this point, just put on the masks and join!'

Political commentator Andrew Bolt said he was 'calling out Victoria Police and their masters in the Labor government' for 'cooperating with violent fascists of the left to stop conservatives or people of the right from holding meetings

'Police and the fascist left make it too frightening or too expensive for conservatives or the right to hold meetings in Melbourne,' Bolt said.

'Conservatives must pay a fortune or risk violence. What on earth happened to our democracy and our free speech?'

Police anticipated violent protests and earlier this week let event organisers know that it would cost them $68,000 for the police presence.


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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