Sunday, October 21, 2018

What makes a "good" school?

Before answering the question above, one has to define what a good school is.  And that's surprisingly easy.  The basic definition is that the pupils do well in the annual state-wide exams.  Many people, however, will poo-pooh that definition, and say that things like cultural awareness, personal development and social responsibility are the defining qualities.  But, as it happens, all those things tend to covary. 

A school with good exam results will tend also to facilitate more exposure to the arts and offer many options for activities that are not strictly academic, such as good sporting facilities being available, with  sport being seen as character building.  Charitable work will also usually be encouraged.  So it is clear why people speak as if there were schools which are simply "good" across the board.  There really are such schools.

But how do you arrive at that?  Having good teachers and fine buildings can help to a degree, as can extensive parental involvement.  But how do you arrange that? Do good teachers and fine buildings just drop out of the sky?  What is the starting point that brings all those things together?  It is something that really runs across the grain for Leftists, with their comical belief that all men are equal:  It is good students that make a good school. 

If the students are orderly and attentive they will get good exam results and most teachers would like to teach there -- so the school will have its pick of the best available teachers.  And the best teachers will be best at treating the students as individuals and encouraging them in their own particular interests and abilities. So the school will be a safe and rewarding place for all.

So the next question is:  How do you get good students for a school?  How do you find orderly and attentive students who reward the efforts made by teachers to develop them in various ways?

In the end there is only one way to arrange that.  You have to have selective admissions.  But selective admissions are seen as obnoxious by many.  All men are equal, don't you know?  So we need a system that delivers selective admissions without appearing to do so.

There is such a system:  You find a locality where the good students tend to congregate naturally and locate your school there. So where do you find such a locality?  Easy.  You find the localities where the rich live. 

There will of course be exceptions but much research has shown that the rich tend to be brighter.  Life has selected them for above average intelligence, and intelligence is mainly genetically transmitted, so their kids will be brighter too. And, again as all the research shows, an amazing range of advantageous characteristics tend to be associated with high IQ.  Your "good" students will almost all be students of above average IQ.  So a good "non-selective" school will in most cases be a school located in a high income suburb.

And that brings us to the article below in which the writer has got the cart totally before the horse. It says that having a good school in an area will make the suburb an expensive one.  It says, for instance, that the Sydney suburb of Woollahra has a good school and that has pushed up the price of real estate there. But Woollahra has been an expensive suburb for many years.  I once lived there so I have a good awareness of that. The big terrace house I once lived in is now worth millions. 

And most of the people who live there are beyond the childbearing and childrearing years.  Why?  Because it is mostly only they who can afford to live there.  But if they are living post-children lives, schools are not the reason they live there are they?  In fact there are many reasons people live in leafy Woollahra in Sydney's Eastern suburbs.  I could list them but just ask a real estate agent in the area.

There is of course such a thing as a virtuous circle.  Once a suburb has got a good school, that school will add to the attractiveness of the area and those who have more money will try to move there -- pushing up the price even further than it otherwise would be.  So the story below is not totally wrong.  It is just superficial. 

And it has to be.  When Leftists are asked what makes a good school, they are pretty stumped and tend to mutter vaguely about "privilege".  That is dangerous ground however as many of them send their own kids to such schools. So are they "privileged" too?  They usually don't want to think that so silence is the best option for them

For those who know a bit about the British scene, the video below shows the very upper class Jacob Rees-Mogg embarrassing a privileged Leftist over the highly selective school to which he sent his son, something that was not generally known

So if you are a Leftist, you have to pretend that good schools somehow magically drop out of thin air without any reference to what made them good.  And when you note that such schools tend to be located in expensive areas you have to pretend that it is only the "goodness" of the school that has bid up the price of living in that area.

The article below was published in a very Left-leaning paper

Photographer Jason Busch rarely has to worry about his five-year-old son being late for school. Living right opposite Woollahra Public School, in the eastern suburbs, he has only to glance at the clock and then it’s a 30-second walk.

“We’d heard how good the school was, so that’s a real advantage of living here,” says Busch, who has a daughter, three, who will also attend the school. “As well as being so convenient, getting involved with the school is a great way of becoming part of the community.”

The chance to live in the catchment area of a well-regarded school is a major driver of price in the property market and likely to become more so as private school fees rise, says Domain Group analyst Nicola Powell.

“We know that well-performing public schools certainly have an effect on an area’s price growth,” Dr Powell says. “Private school fees have increased quite significantly, so, if people are priced out of those, they’ll look for good public schools.

“We also tend to find that residents of those areas will stay in those homes for longer, which limits supply and puts even more upward pressure on prices.”

It’s difficult to pinpoint by how much prices may be inflated by the presence of a good school, but anecdotally experts say it can be as much as 5 or 10 per cent.

Real Estate Institute of NSW president Leanne Pilkington believes a school’s strong reputation can precede it. “It can create extra competition in the market, especially if there’s not a lot of property coming up in the area. It can add to the value quite considerably.”

Competition is now so fierce to enrol in some popular public schools that principals ask parents to sign statutory declarations about their living arrangements to make sure their children are eligible to attend. Even leases on investment properties have to be long-term, and false declarations can be punishable by fines of up to $22,000.

Ray White Double Bay agent Di Wilson, who’s selling Busch’s two-bedroom apartment on Edgecliff Road as he and his family look to upsize, believes the prospect of a home so close to an excellent eastern suburbs school will be attractive for a young family.

The garden residence is on the north corner of a 1890 Victorian manor converted into apartments. It has retained its original charm after a contemporary renovation.

“It has all the convenience of an apartment, but it feels much more like a house,” says Wilson, who leads it to a November 8 auction with a price guide of $1.45 million. She says the manor’s apartments were once inhabited by artists and writers.

“For me, arriving in Sydney, it felt like a real community here,” says Busch. “And it still does.”

It’s a similar story for catchments in the inner west, advises Chris Parsons, of McGrath Leichhardt. He says that most buyers ask about zonings for schools such as Leichhardt Public and Orange Grove in Lilyfield. “As well as adding to the price, those schools make all the difference between homes selling or not selling.”

In Baulkham Hills, the high-achieving Matthew Pearce Public is another lure for home-buyers.

“It’s a crucial consideration for a lot of parents,” says Declan Morris, of Manor Real Estate. “We receive a lot of inquiries … and, if they’re not in the right catchment, people often decide to look elsewhere.”


Real Christians: Sydney Anglicans set to ban gay weddings and pro-LGBTI advocacy on church property

The Sydney Anglican diocese is set to ban same-sex weddings from any Anglican church or building, and prohibit its properties from being used to promote homosexuality or "transgender ideology".

Critics within the church say the far-reaching policy could stop pastors and teachers from speaking in favour of marriage equality, and stifle student-led LGBTI support groups at Anglican schools.

Documents obtained by Fairfax Media also reveal the church sees the current debate about its right to fire gay teachers as a "key threat" to its ability to foster a Christian ethos at its schools.

The 51st Synod of the Sydney diocese will next week debate the introduction of a property policy to ensure church-owned buildings are used only for "acts or practices which conform to the doctrines, tenets and beliefs of the diocese".

The policy specifies it would be inappropriate to use church-owned property for "advocacy for transgender ideology (e.g gender-fluidity)" and "advocacy for expressions of human sexuality contrary to our doctrine of marriage".

It also bans local Anglican boards from allowing property - such as school halls - to host same-sex marriages or receptions associated with same-sex weddings.

Joel Hollier, a gay Anglican and former pastor who co-chairs the LGBTI group Equal Voices, said the proposed crackdown was a "silencing act" designed to quell dissenting voices.

"The message is potently clear - no priest or pastor has the right to speak in favour of marriage equality," he said.

"Nor are they able to speak freely to the reality of parishioners experiencing gender dysphoria. Churches that suggest otherwise will face the consequences."

Under Archbishop Glenn Davies, the conservative Sydney diocese of the Anglican church was one of the key forces opposed to same-sex marriage, donating $1 million to the "No" campaign last year.

Bishop of South Sydney Michael Stead, the senior clergyman who authored the proposal, told Fairfax Media that the use of church property had "always been governed by various regulations" and the new policy merely sought to consolidate those into a single document.

"The new policy doesn’t represent a change in our position and I wouldn’t expect it to have an effect on any activities currently occurring on church trust property," he said.

"Because the federal government has changed its definition of marriage, the policy makes clear the church’s doctrine of marriage has not changed and that property use scenarios relate only to man/woman marriage."

By contrast, the Uniting Church in Australia recently started conducting same-sex marriages.

Bishop Stead's report noted "man-woman marriage" was not explicitly defined as a tenet of the Sydney Anglican church, and it would be "prudent" to do so in order to harness the power granted to the church through exemptions to NSW anti-discrimination laws.

"A key threat to maintaining the Christian ethos of our Anglican institutions is in relation to the
employment of Christian staff," he noted.

Philip Ruddock's review of religious freedom, which is currently being considered by cabinet, urges new laws to "make it clear" religious schools are not required to provide their facilities for any marriage providing the refusal conforms to the tenets of their religion.

Mr Ruddock also recommends schools retain their right to hire and fire teachers on the basis of their sexuality, provided they have a written policy on the matter. However, the leaked Ruddock review has prompted Labor - and some Liberals - to propose removing that right altogether.

The government intends to remove religious schools' right to discriminate against gay students next week, and has shared the legislation with the Labor Opposition.

Steff Fenton, another co-chair of Equal Voices, described the Anglican proposal as a "grab for privilege" by the church's leaders, who were out of step with the majority of Anglicans.

"Worldwide we can see the movement of the Anglican communion is toward the full inclusion of LGBTI people," she said.

The senior bishops "have so much power and seem to speak for a lot of people, without the data to back up how many people are behind that ‘majority’," Ms Fenton said.


There’s a reason Melbourne feels so crowded — it’s the most densely populated area in Australia

DID you brave the Showbag Pavilion at the Royal Melbourne Show this year?

If you did, chances are you felt a bit like I did: claustrophobic, annoyed, searching for the exit, uncomfortable with being that close to strangers, disappointed the Arnott’s showbag had sold out.

There were far too many people in an area that was far too small to handle them all.

The more I think about that feeling, the more I realise I’ve felt it often recently: at the MCG on Anzac Day, on the train into work most mornings, walking through Federation Square or Melbourne Central or along Southbank.

My personal space is constantly invaded and I don’t like it. But I’m resigned to the fact that it’s part of the deal in Melbourne, a CBD that just today became the nation’s most densely populated area. At least, officially.

Demographers from CoreLogic revealed on Friday that Melbourne is more densely populated than anywhere else in the country, supported by a boom in the construction of high-rise apartments.

There are now more than 19,000 people per square kilometre, up from 16,900 two years ago. And it’s going to keep climbing.

“The trend that Melbourne will further densify is definitely true as there will be more skyscrapers coming online and that means there will be more population,” The Demographics Group’s Simon Kuestenmacher told The Australian.

Outside the Melbourne CBD, Carlton, South Yarra, Fitzroy and Collingwood make up Victoria’s top five.

The rest of country’s top 20 most densely populated areas are all in Sydney. Potts Point ranks number two nationally, with more than 16,000 residents per square kilometre.

Last month, we reported that Melbourne’s population was growing faster than any other major Australian city.

Melbourne grew by 2.7 per cent last year, compared to Sydney (1.8 per cent), Perth (1 per cent) and Adelaide (0.7 per cent).

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed Victoria’s actual population grew by 137,000 people between 2017 and 2018, more than one-third of Australia’s entire growth.
If you like your personal space, peak hour trains might not be your go. Picture: Mike Keating

If you like your personal space, peak hour trains might not be your go. Picture: Mike KeatingSource:News Corp Australia

NSW added more than 113,000 people and Queensland added 83,000 people but, interestingly, the sunshine state also welcomed the most interstate migrants.

According to the ABS, Australia’s population grew by 380,700 people last year. Australia topped 25 million people at 11pm on August 7, and is adding a new resident every minute and 23 seconds.

Our annual population growth sits at 1.6 per cent, slightly higher than a global growth of 1.2 per cent and the highest of the G12 nations.

This means we’ll probably stand at 26 million in another three years from now, and if growth remains at this rate, there should be 40 million of us by mid-century.

Greater Melbourne is expected to be home to 8 million people by 2050. I’ll probably give the Melbourne Show a miss that year.


Arrest as disabled duped of $400,000

A 34-year-old Victorian man has been charged with stealing more than $400,000 from about 200 disabled people in the first arrest of its kind under the landmark National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The alleged fraud spree, which was revealed by The Australian in August, took place in just two months from July and authorities allege the man used the money to buy a BMW 7-Series limousine, a Toyota Hi-Lux and designer clothing and jewellery.

This week a joint team from the newly established NDIS fraud taskforce — which includes members of the Australian Federal Police, the National Disability Insurance Agency and the Department of Human Services — executed a search warrant in the Melbourne suburb of Parkville.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the introduction of the taskforce “was a strong and unequivocal warning to those who may try to commit serious fraud against the NDIS”.

Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher said the commonwealth “will come down hard on anyone who thinks they can defraud the NDIS or other welfare agencies”.

“The NDIA is ensuring that participants affected by this alleged fraud will have their funds reinstated in their plans,” Mr Fletcher said.

But the investigation took time and many participants were unable to spend the taxpayer money they had been allocated on crucial support services once their accounts had been raided.

Authorities did not release the man’s name but The Australian understands he is linked to cases previously reported by this newspaper.

Amounts as large as $12,000 were siphoned from individual participants by a company with which they had never signed an agreement.

A major security flaw in the online portal that allowed NDIS participants and providers to pay and be paid from their support packages was also exposed by The Australian and it is believed this allowed criminals to effectively guess a participant plan number to gain access to the system.

No other identifying details were required for access. The loophole was closed the same evening The Australian submitted questions to the NDIA about the issue.

The portal now requires three pieces of sensitive information to conduct a search and bring up a plan: the NDIS number, the participant’s last name and date of birth.

Minister for Human Services Michael Keenan said stealing from taxpayers was “not a victimless crime”.

“Fraud robs the Australian community of much-needed funds that should be spent on essential services we all rely on,” he said.

“The staff from my department involved in the taskforce are experts in fraud detection and prevention and I commend them for the work they’ve done to bring about this arrest.”

There are now about 200,000 participants in the NDIS and last year almost $7 billion in funding was committed as part of the scheme. That figure will rise to 475,000 participants by 2020 with an annual cost of at least $22bn.


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...

Defrauding the NDIS? Gee. IMAGINE MY SURPRISE!!