Thursday, July 11, 2019

Australia-first study highlights benefits of early education for school children now and later in life

It does no such thing.  It is just the latest propaganda effort by a lobby group to get governments to pay for the child-minding of little kids.  The "study" is not a survey or experiment of any kind.  It is an economic analysis of previously agreed facts about early childcare.  The economists who did the report headed it up with fierce warnings that it was done for the lobbyists only and should not be used by anyone else.  They knew its severe limitations

The overwhelming evidence on the subject is that early education confers no lasting benefit at all.  Let me quote just a small excerpt from someone who has surveyed the evidence on the question:

    "University studies are often quoted to support the perceived academic benefits of preschool. What is not often mentioned is that whilst these studies demonstrate preschool in a favourable light when compared with an impoverished home environment; preschool environments and results do not compare favourably with the average home environment.

    Even Professor Edward Zigler, credited as “the father of Head Start” a well-respected American preschool program admits “there is a large body of evidence that there is little to be gained by exposing middle class children to early education…(and) evidence that indicates early schooling is inappropriate for many four-year-olds, and that it may be harmful to their development.”

    So what about the long-term academic effects of preschool? The longitudinal studies, often quoted to argue an academic advantage provided by preschool for lower socio-economic groups, actually also show that this “advantage” disappears by grade three.

    If preschool were truly beneficial in terms of giving children a head start, those places with some form of compulsory preschool should do demonstrably better academically. The evidence does not bear this out. The two states of America which have compulsory preschool, Georgia and Oklahoma, have the lowest results for fourth grade reading tests in the country."

Children who attend one year of early childhood education are more likely to achieve higher NAPLAN scores, which influences higher education outcomes and employment opportunities.

That’s the verdict from a new study into the economic impact of early childhood education, which highlights the academic and developmental benefits it gives to school children now and later in life.

The study, commissioned by The Front Project, and conducted by PwC, finds improved cognitive abilities that result from participating in early learning can be measured in later school achievement, educational attainment and employment.

The Front Project CEO, Jane Hunt said the findings highlighted the vitally important role early learning plays in the development of children in the short-term and in the longer-term.

“We all want our children to be more and have more than we had, and this report demonstrates that early learning is a vital part of making this possible,” Ms Hunt said.

“One year of quality early learning before school can hold the key to unlocking a wealth of opportunity for our young people as they develop and eventually enter the workforce.

“Finally, we have the research that shows that quality early learning is a key economic enabler that will allow our children to seize opportunities as the world of work becomes more complex.

“We know that 65 per cent of children today will do jobs that have not been invented yet, so the reality is that our children will need to learn how to learn – early education does this, and this research proves it.”

The landmark report finds that improved skills and abilities in children who attend early education was associated with improved NAPLAN results in Year 3.

Children with higher scores at Year 3 NAPLAN continue to do better all the way through to Year 9 NAPLAN, and then to high school graduation.

Ms Hunt said the data highlights the importance of quality early learning and the need for greater funding certainty from governments.

“This report emphasises the importance of governments committing to ongoing funding for the National Partnership Agreement,” Ms Hunt said.

“The report also highlights the need to address the variability of quality in early childhood education, particularly the quarter of services not yet meeting the National Quality Standard.

“As well as that, the report bolsters the argument quality early education should be expanded to children two years out from school.”

PwC Chief Economist Jeremy Thorpe said the research demonstrates the substantial impact early learning has on children’s development.

“Using the best available Australian and international research we were able to estimate the impact of early childhood education on early school achievement, and then the likely uplift in achievement at Year 3 and throughout the rest of their education,” Mr Thorpe said.

“The evidence suggests that if early childhood education puts students ahead at the start of primary school, the benefits will increase as they progress through the education system.”

Lisa Chung, Chair of The Front Project’s Board said the report reveals the enormous opportunities created later in life when we invest in the early years.

“Succeeding in future workplaces will require agile, lifelong learners, who are comfortable with continuous adaptation and a willingness to change industries or sectors,” Ms Chung said.

“It’s possible to train people in new information and contexts, but without teams who can learn and re-learn, innovation and efficiency suffer.”

Zac Hatzantonis, PwC's early childhood practice leader, added: “The report demonstrates that better investment in early childhood education will also help reduce escalating social welfare, health and justice costs.”

Via email. Media contact: Kate Hickey 0423 700 290

The full report: here

Whitewashing the truth of why men kill themselves

Relationship troubles, not mental health, lie behind the plague of male suicides, writes Bettina Arndt

Imagine the outcry if a man was appointed head of a leading domestic violence prevention organisation? So how come the federal government has just proudly announced a woman, Christine Morgan, as National Suicide Prevention Officer? This is just the latest move by a government determined to deny the fact that suicide is overwhelmingly a male problem, with six out of eight of our daily suicides taking the lives of men.

Amazingly the recently released National Suicide Prevention Implementation Plan is proudly “gender neutral”, failing to acknowledge that men not only dominate suicide statistics but offering no special programmes to address the unique causes of male suicide, which differ dramatically from those of women who end their own lives.

The alleged link to mental health problems is the most glaring mistake. “Around 80 per cent of people who die by suicide have a mental health issue,” declared ScoMo yesterday when announcing Morgan’s appointment. No, Prime Minister. That’s simply not true of men, the major group at risk. Australian research shows over half of all male suicides, 78 per cent of male farmer suicides and 83 per cent of suicides in older men were not predominantly associated with a mental health diagnosis – according to the Australian Institute of Suicide Research and Prevention and other related studies.

The government proudly declares they are working towards a zero suicide goal yet the PM lists as those most at risk, “veterans, Indigenous Australians and young people”. Not one word about the most vulnerable group – the ordinary men, particularly family men in their 30s and 40s losing their families.

That’s the elephant in the room that our governments are determined to ignore. There’s solid evidence that the major cause of suicide in this country is not mental health problems but rather the toll taken by family break-up, where fathers often face mighty battles trying to stay part of their children’s lives, up against a biased family law system which fails to enforce contact orders, and often facing false violence allegations which are now routinely used to gain advantage in family court battles. Research by the Australian Institute of Suicide Research and Prevention found that almost half of male suicides are linked with relationship issues, one in 20 are linked to child custody issues, one in 10 to pending legal matters. That’s the glaring gender difference – with male suicide three to four times more likely than female suicide to be linked to relationship break-up and child custody.

This evidence has been accumulating for years and no one wants to talk about it. Remember that lavish ABC series, Man Up, made by radio star Gus Worland? Hours of television focusing on the high male suicide rate, endlessly discussing why men won’t talk about their feelings – and barely a word about why men are killing themselves. Last year Worland’s new charity, Gotcha4Life, raised nearly half a million dollars to “save the lives of men suffering mental illness”, money to be spent mainly on programmes in schools teaching boys to express their feelings.

Whenever there’s a known link to female suicide, like post-partum depression, the money pours in to properly address the problem. Yet men struggling to deal with the devastating consequences of dealing with family break-up are given no support. Key organisations providing support for men in these circumstance – like Dads in Distress – face constant battles for funding.

Maybe it is time for the quiet Australians to speak out about this shocking whitewashing of the proper facts about suicide in this country. Contact your MP, ring radio stations, use social media posts to protest the government’s wrong-fisted handling of this important social issue. The six men dying each day in Australia deserve the truth to be told.


#MeToo — it was always going to end in tears

Never have so-called progressives been more manifestly regressive than in the way the #MeToo movement undermines fundamental legal rights. To prove the point, the case of John Jarratt deserves a special mention as the contrast between the cool reason found in a courtroom and the conflation and outrage that drives #MeToo.

Last Friday, after two hours of deliberations, a jury found the Australian actor not guilty of raping a woman almost 40 years ago. The woman cannot be named for legal reasons, while Jarratt’s name has been plastered across the media. All along, Jarratt said it was consensual sex. It has been reported that the woman was contacted by journalist Tracey Spicer, who has led the #MeToo movement in Australia.

It was inevitable that this social media movement would spiral out of control. It is premised on one fatal flaw. We were told that women must be believed, a claim that heaves with bogus morality and defies reality. This is not even a debate about who lies more either, men or women. The fact some women lie too dismantles the claim that all women must be believed.

In January, Canberra woman Sarah Jane Parkinson was jailed for three years after staging a fake rape that sent her boyfriend to prison for four months until ­charges against him were dropped.

Last week, Cherie Renee Bolton from Arkansas pleaded guilty to trying to frame her husband as a pedophile by downloading child porn in his phone. Women lie.

This central flaw at the heart of #MeToo presumes to wave away legal rights and a legal system premised on the presumption of innocence. If #MeToo’s vocal advocates had warned of this inherent danger, counselled caution and called for due process, the movement may not have become a train wreck.

In a stark contrast to the wild courts of social media that tainted men across the world with unproven allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault, defined so loosely as to include bad jokes or even bad sex, the NSW District Court delivered a cool-headed, legally grounded response last Friday. The evidence was presented to court, tested by lawyers, and 12 objective people from the community decided the claim of rape was not proved beyond reasonable doubt.

Our legal system is not perfect. Innocent people have gone to prison; guilty people can escape punishment. But courts of law are a damn sight fairer than the social media hunting seasons kicked off by #MeToo.

While the Jarratt case is a win for reason, the #MeToo movement has settled in for more emotive trench warfare. Earlier this year, a Harvard law professor was hounded from his campus role after he joined Harvey Weinstein’s legal team. Some students protested, claiming “discomfort” that Ronald Sullivan was part of the legal team representing Weinstein, who faces charges of rape and other sexual misconduct.

Sullivan, along with his wife, Stephanie Robinson, were faculty deans at Harvard’s Winthrop House. Some demanded his resignation. The Association of Black Harvard Women put out a statement that said: “You failed us.” Sullivan and his wife are the first African-Americans to lead one of Harvard’s 12 residential colleges. They have done so for 10 years.

Sullivan, who has acted for victims of sexual assault and for those accused of murder, wrote to students, explaining that lawyers are not an extension of their clients. It is the duty of defence lawyers to represent those accused of crimes, no matter how reviled the defendant, he wrote. If society denies unpopular defendants basic rights of legal representation, it won’t be long before basic rights for all of us are lost.

In a portent of what was to come, Harvard administrators ordered a “climate review” into Winthrop. Then, in early May, university bosses told Sullivan and his wife their appointments would not be renewed. Writing about this debacle, Sullivan said “feelings alone should not drive university policy”. He noted that “administrators must help students dis­tinguish between feelings that have a rational basis and those that do not. In my case, Harvard missed an opportunity to help students do that.”

One female student, Danu AK Mudannayake, who led protests against Sullivan, described his removal as a “win” that would resonate beyond Harvard. Sadly, it is a win for emotion. As Evan Gerstmann wrote in Forbes, the basic tenets of justice mean “John Adams was no less patriotic because he defended the British soldiers accused of the Boston Mas­sacre. James Donovan, famously portrayed in the film Bridge of Spies, was not a communist sympathiser just because he represented an accused Soviet spy.”

Another young woman, Phoebe H. Suh, wrote in The Crimson, Harvard’s newspaper, that “the violent impact” of Sullivan acting for Weinstein is silence for her, as a survivor of sexual assault. Conjuring up violent impacts is not just irrational, it is dangerous to victims. A court of law is the place where victims are given a voice.

In a damning assessment of our age, it is bad enough that discomfort is used to stifle ideas that challenge young minds, to no-platform speakers who veer from the orthodoxy, to inhibit students from learning and thriving from free and robust discussions, to infantilise them, too, with safe spaces and trigger warnings. As Alan Dershowitz wrote recently, “feeling unsafe is the new mantra for McCarthyism”.

In a case of how culture seeps from one arena to another, discomfort is being used to dislodge fundamental legal principles. Harvard’s actions are not just a betrayal of liberal education, allowing feelings to trump inquiry and learning. Harvard, of all places, has also allowed feelings unshackled from reason to trump fundamental legal principles.

Where has reason gone? All men, sexual predators and murderers alike, are entitled to legal representation. We defend the guilty so that the innocent are defended too, because we cannot always know who is guilty and who is innocent. A court will test allegations, using evidence and cross-examination, and law that has developed over centuries, including a jury of our peers that decides guilt beyond reasonable doubt. All this because, as English jurist William Blackstone, said: “It is better that 10 guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.”

The #MeToo movement inverts these fundamental legal principles. If all women must be believed, and some lie, it follows that innocent men will suffer.

Jarratt was more than entitled to say on Friday that no man should ever go through what he has endured. But at this point in the #MeToo cycle, it is worth praising a court system that settled this matter. What #MeToo promotes — public damnation minus basic legal principles and process — is far worse. To its eternal shame, Harvard has endorsed this travesty of justice.


Big businesses play `moral arbiter of acceptable thinking' in Israel Folau case: senior researcher

Now his wife is under attack

Australian corporates had "really crossed the line" in the Israel Folau furore, shunning people for their religious beliefs while playing the "moral arbiter of socially acceptable thinking", according to Jeremy Sammut, a senior research fellow with the Centre for Independent Studies.

Dr Sammut's comments follow the censure of Folau's netball star wife Maria, by two key women's netball sponsors, ANZ and health insurance company HCF.

Both sponsors have reportedly told Netball Australia they were unhappy with Maria Folau's decision to repost a link to her husband's now defunct GoFundMe page.

HCF told Netball Australia there was an urgent need for "a strong, clear and well enforced social media policy and education amongst its players and staff".

HCF told Nine Media on Wednesday: "We appreciate the complexities of the Folau matter and acknowledge that views do differ in the community, however, we do not support Maria Folau's stance on this matter."

"There is no place in our society for discrimination of any kind, including on the basis of gender, religious belief, age, race or sexual orientation."

Dr Sammut said the extraordinary community backlash caused by GoFundMe's decision take down Folau's funding appeal page  demonstrated what a "tin ear" the big business had when it came to the feelings of ordinary Australians.

"It looks like the community thinks the big end of town has decided to mob up, endlessly posturing about their "right on" politics," he said.

"Corporates live in a corporate bubble and they have clearly crossed the line in relation to Folau. They are clearly getting into the business of social engineering, making decisions on behalf of the community about what views are socially unacceptable."

He said the Folau saga had been sparked by Rugby Australia and its major sponsor Qantas seeking to punish the former Wallaby for his fundamentalist Christian views while holding themselves out as a beacon of "progressive ideology and identity politics"

ANZ and HCF, he said, were now climbing on board to chastise Folau's wife, a star shooter with the Adelaide Thunderbirds, for supporting her husband.

"'I am amazed that HCF and ANZ have doubled down on the same approach given the negative backlash against GoFundMe's actions," he said.

`This is much more dangerous than just corporate virtue signalling. It amounts to an attack on fundamental freedoms in a democratic society, including religious freedom."


 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

No comments: