Friday, September 20, 2019

Diversity the key to improved performance in schools

Is it now? Below is a press release from the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership which says it is.  They have just done a glossy "Report" on the matter that they want you to know about.  In my experience, a "report" is what you put out when you can't get your claims into an academic journal.  Nonetheless I had a good look through the report and its associated documents in the hope of finding some claim backed up by a controlled study, hopefully one that was not so brain-dead as to treat many different sorts of people as all simply "diverse".

A serious approach to the question would have looked at different types of diversity.  Did Chinese teachers, for instance, get better results than Aboriginal teachers? I found no evidence of that kind. I found no evidence of any research at all that could be classed as scientific -- no controlled experiments at all.  It was all just pious hopes and vague generalizations.  The "report" is in short totally worthless.  It is a piece of boring old Leftist propaganda only

If I had to make generalizations of their sort I  would have said that teachers get best results when their background is similar to that of their students.  Chinese teachers are best for Chinese students, Aboriginal  teachers are best for aboriginal students etc.  that might not be so but it is at least scientifically examinable

A new evidence summary released today by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) highlights the benefits of championing a diverse school leadership workforce in Australia.

The report Spotlight: Diversity in School Leadership, points out that improved diversity in schools leads to a range of benefits, including helping teams work smarter, increasing innovation, and improving performance.

The report supports calls for school systems and sectors to take active steps towards increased quality and diversity within their leadership pools.

AITSL CEO Mark Grant said: “We know that an effective school leadership strategy that is focused on increasing the diversity of future leaders has considerable benefits. This is true for all leadership roles, in all geographical locations from rural and remote to metro areas.”

Workplace research shows that diversity in the teaching workforce can lead to improved outcomes for students academically and in their personal well-being.

The report shows that while diversity among school students is broadly representative of the Australian population, the profile of teachers and school leaders does not currently match Australia’s gender and cultural diversity.

The report found that more than 70 per cent of school teachers in primary and secondary schools are female, with male teachers making up just 18 per cent of primary school teachers, and 40 per cent of secondary teachers.

In terms of cultural diversity, while almost 25 per cent of Australian students come from homes where a language other than English is spoken, only 9 per cent of primary and 11 per cent of secondary teachers speak a language other than English at home.

Also, while almost 6 per cent of Australia’s students identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, only 2 per cent of Australian teachers identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, and an even smaller proportion of those are in leadership positions.

“We know that diverse leadership teams improve performance, increase innovation, and generate creative approaches to problem solving,” Mr Grant said.

“It would be a tremendous boon for the education sector if teachers and leaders truly represented all of our community demographics, like different cultural and societal backgrounds, or individuals who identify as having a disability.

Improving diversity in schools begins with increasing diversity in Initial Teacher Education (ITE). As ITE students are the teachers and school leaders of the future, there needs to be just as much focus on diversity in this group as on the current teaching and school leadership workforce.”

“Today’s report highlights the importance of increasing the diversity in our schools. Leadership teams need to put a stronger focus on ensuring they reflect the broader community in their schools. One way this can be done is with recruitment processes that are better targeted to under-represented groups to achieve the broadest possible pool of high quality suitable candidates.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg delivers a balanced budget for financial year 2019

A great conservative aspiration

Josh Frydenberg has unveiled a slim budget deficit of $690 million in the year to June 2019, declaring the economy performed “better than expected” than when he handed down his first budget in April.

On delivering the final numbers on the national accounts for the last financial year, the Treasurer said an extra 300,000 jobs were created in the year, which was “well above” forecast.

“The budget outcome for 2018/19 further demonstrates the government economic plan is working, creating more jobs and to ensure Australians get the essential services they rely on,” Mr Frydenberg said. “In the year ahead, the economy will continue to be supported by the government’s economic plan as outlined in this budget, including the largest tax cuts in more than two decades and our $100 billion 10 year pipeline of infrastructure spending.”

In May at the release of the 2019-20 budget, Treasury predicted a $4.2bn deficit.

Mr Frydenberg and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the final budget outcome represented a return to balance for the first time in 11 years. “The underlying cash balance in the Final Budget Outcome for the 2018-19 financial year is $13.8 billion better than estimated at the time of the 2018-19 Budget,” Mr Frydenberg said. He said the deficit of $690 million represents 0.0 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

“A growing economy with more jobs and stronger terms of trade than anticipated at the time of the 2018-19 Budget have driven total receipts $11.5 billion higher, with payments $6.6 billion lower than expected at the time of the 2018-19 Budget,” Mr Frydenberg said. He said the employment growth at 2.6 per cent “far exceeded” the predicted growth of 1½ per cent.

The better job figures drove increases in revenue as well as lower payments, with individual tax receipts up by $5.7 billion compared to the 2018-19 Budget forecast.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann denied the budgetary position was due to a $4.6 billion underspend on the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Senator Cormann said the government was rolling out the scheme as fast as it could and blamed state governments for the delayed implementation.

He said it made “absolutely no sense” to put extra money aside for disability services when the government had already budgeted for funding the scheme. “The government will cover the cost of the demand that is there to its fullest extent. It makes absolutely no sense to put money aside when the money will be there,” Senator Cormann said.

Labor hits back

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said the government could stimulate the economy without damaging any forecasted surplus.

“The government now have no excuse not to come up with a plan to turn around an economy that is floundering on their watch,” Mr Chalmers said.

“Improvement in the budget will be built on underspends in the NDIS which short- change Australians with a disability by not providing the funding they need and deserve and were promised.”

Mr Frydenberg told parliament the NDIS was a demand-driven system and had been fully funded for the first time by the coalition government.

Mr Chalmers said the high price Australian ore was fetching, as well as a weak Australian dollar, would also see the nation’s books back in the black. “(That’s) nothing the government can take credit for.”

Australia has not had a surplus since the 2007/08 budget, which came back $19.7 billion in the black.


‘Blood on his hands’: PM urged to intervene after Queensland Government loses bid to continue shark culling

Greenies much prefer sharks to people

Queensland’s tourism minister says Prime Minister Scott Morrison could have “blood on his hands” if he doesn’t intervene on a ban preventing shark culling on the Great Barrier Reef.

The Queensland Government yesterday lost an appeal in the Federal Court for the right to use drum lines to catch and kill sharks on the reef in a bid to protect swimmers.

The appeal came after the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in April upheld a Humane Society challenge to the State Government program in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park area.

Queensland Agriculture Minister Mark Furner wants the Federal Government to change federal legislation to allow the program to continue in the park.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, which manages the area, was created by federal legislation in 1975.

Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the court decision left her deeply concerned for the safety of visitors swimming in the World Heritage area.

“I’m calling on the Prime Minister to intervene,” she told reporters. “I’m sure the Prime Minister does not want to have blood on his hands through this decision in relation to the federal act.”

However, Humane Society campaigner Lawrence Chlebeck says the court decision is a victory for sharks.  “No longer will sharks senselessly die for a misguided sense of security,” he said.

In its decision, the tribunal said the scientific evidence about “the lethal component” of the shark control program “overwhelmingly” showed it does not reduce the risk of an unprovoked shark attack.

The program now has to be carried out in a way that avoids killing sharks to the “greatest extent possible”. The park will only be permitted to authorise the euthanasia of sharks caught on drum lines on animal welfare grounds.

All tiger, bull and white sharks caught on drum lines are now to be tagged before being released. Additionally, sharks caught on drum lines are to be attended to as soon as possible — preferably within 24 hours of capture — and tagged sharks are to be relocated offshore.

Mr Chlebeck wants the Government to stop shark culls along the entire Queensland coastline.

There have been no changes to the shark control program in other Queensland locations, including the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.


Jacinta Price not the first indigenous person to fall foul of Coffs Harbour City Council

When the Coffs Harbour City Council last week attempted to ban Warlpiri/Celtic woman, Alice Springs councillor and former Coalition federal candidate Jacinta Nampijinpa Price from speaking on her Mind the Gap tour, it was merely continuing a long tradition of being seen to act in the best interests of indigenous people.

For example, nearly 70 years ago, one Councillor (President) Harry Bailey told the Dorrigo Shore Council, as it was then, that it was wrong for the NSW Government to accommodate Aboriginals within the town, or nearby for that matter.

“The aborigines are a vanishing race and we owe a great deal to them,” said Bailey, as quoted in the Coffs Harbour Advocate on November 19, 1948. “They should be treated with all the consideration and kindness we can bestow on them.” According to him, this involved allocating them “a natural setting — an area of land close to a beach, served with a stream or two and with some natural brush in which they could erect some dwellings and fish and work and live in keeping with their way of life”.

Bailey was wrong in believing the demise of indigenous people was nigh. Nonetheless, his romanticised and simplistic depiction, together with his belief that isolation and patronising were the answer, mirrors the views of many other officials, activists, and commentators today who purport to speak on behalf of indigenous people. Less enlightened folk refer to this phenomenon as the racism of low expectations.

Bailey, sometimes referred to as “the father of modern Coffs Harbour” died in office in 1965 but the WH Bailey Memorial City Library still bears his name, or at least it will until some professional offence-taker discovers his “vanishing race” utterance. Now a female mayor, Denise Knight, heads the council. No doubt she too would say it was acting as with consideration and kindness this month in writing to Price, who had booked the Jetty Memorial Theatre for her tour, saying it would “appreciate” her “requesting permission from Gumbaynggirr Aboriginal people to enter the land”.

A question for the non-indigenous folk who have stayed in Coffs Harbour — was your visit preceded by a similar instruction from council or were you allowed to go about your business as if you were an adult with the ability to make decisions for yourself? Memo to Mayor Knight and her mostly fair-skinned fellow councillors: the days of indigenous people not being allowed to travel unless they have a permit from a white government inspector are long gone.

Price has ample grounds to make a complaint of racial discrimination to the Australian Human Rights Commission, although for some unknown reason the normally noisy so-called anti-racists have not urged her to do so.

This is the same mayor who said only last month: “It’s vital in an inclusive community that we learn as much as we can about each other’s cultures so that we can better understand the different ways we view the world.”

The occasion was the launching of ‘Yandaarra — Shifting Camp Together’, an “Aboriginal cultural awareness and engagement guide”. Get ready for a good laugh: the guide specifies: “It is important that the Aboriginal community is provided with opportunities to openly share information and discuss issues that may impact on their community, culture, heritage and traditional lore.”

That is exactly what Price’s tour is about, thus proving that Coffs’ council chambers are full of mealy-mouthed hypocrites. Admittedly Price has some controversial views, for example, she says indigenous empowerment is realised through people taking responsibility for themselves rather than rely on government welfare. She also maintains colonisation is used to excuse epidemic levels of violence by indigenous men against women and children, and that the vulnerable in these communities are silenced through intimidation. Those views are uncomfortable facts, otherwise known in progressive parlance as “hate speech”.

Price is also dismissive of that ancient indigenous ritual, the so-called “Welcome to Country” ceremony. So ancient in fact that the two indigenous men who invented it, Ernie Dingo and Richard Walley, are still alive. The custom has become so widespread that no official function can claim moral legitimacy if it dispenses with it. And as the council’s guide specifies: “In providing cultural services such as Welcome to Country, artistic performances … it is important to acknowledge the intellectual property of the Aboriginal people through appropriate payment for their services.”

The ceremony serves two purposes. First, it reinforces the guilt industry by continually reminding whitey he is stained by the sins of his forefathers; and second, it makes for much moolah in return for doing very little. For example, in 2013, Matilda House of the Ngambri clan was paid $10,500 for officiating at the opening of the 44th Parliament. No wonder so many indigenous activists loathe Price. As Herald-Sun columnist Andrew Bolt pointed out last year, some of the foulest misogyny directed at her — including exhortations she “die a painful death” — was from indigenous men paid by government departments to conduct these ceremonies.

Price herself knows only too well the threat of impending death. In 2008 her then-partner struck her in the head with a lamp. Bleeding profusely, she escaped from the house, fearing she would be murdered if she did not. Her message is that men in her community must take action to end domestic violence. If she were a white woman, she would be feted by the leftist commentariat.

Instead Fiona Poole, an ABC Coffs Coast presenter who attended Price’s function, described her as “very divisive”. Her ABC colleague Claire Lindsay spoke with members of the Gumbaynggirr community groups who had objected to Price’s visit. As national affairs associate editor Chris Kenny noted this week, neither journalist sought Price’s input. In addition, Lindsay blithely repeated on air a defamatory excerpt from an indigenous community media release that Price “spreads racist vitriol, vilifies and ridicules Aboriginal people and cultures”. The ABC later released a statement, saying the organisation was “remiss in not offering Ms Price the opportunity to respond to criticism”.

As for the ABC dissing an indigenous woman on the grounds she is “very divisive”, this must be a new thing. There was no such criticism from the national broadcaster when indigenous activist Tarneen Onus-Williams declared at an “Invasion Day” rally in Melbourne last year “F**k Australia, hope it burns to the ground”. In a column titled “Australia Is Tearing Down Another Woman of Colour for Daring to Have an Opinion,” then Junkee news and political editor Osman Faruqi defended her from conservative critics, stating: “The goal is not just to silence Onus-Williams, but to discourage anyone like her from speaking up.” Faruqi is now deputy editor of ABC Life. Surely any day now it will be running his article: “Progressive Australia is Tearing Down a Woman of Colour for Daring to Have a Contrary Opinion”. Right?

Then there is the case of indigenous woman, actor and playwright Nakkiah Lui. In 2016, the star of ABC’s “Black Comedy” tweeted: “My main concern in Indigenous Affairs atm is our use of the saying ‘White Dogs’. Dogs are innocent, sweet and loyal. Let’s not insult dogs.” All in the name of reconciliation, I am sure. Interviewed on ABC Radio National regarding a negative review of her play How to Rule the World by Daily Review critic and ABC senior producer Jason Whittaker this year, Lui attributed this to “white supremacy”, and suggested he no longer be allowed to review any works by “people of colour”.

Joining her in the studio and metaphorically holding her hand as Lui told of how Whittaker had “hurt” her “feelings” was Gamilaroi/Eualeyai woman, academic, and host of ABC’s Speaking Out, Larissa Behrendt. You might remember in 2011 she tweeted “I watched a show where a guy had sex with a horse and I’m sure it was less offensive than Bess Price,” referring to Jacinta’s mother, who like her daughter is outspoken about reducing Aboriginal violence and who supported the Northern Territory intervention. But of all these indigenous women it is only the Prices who are divisive, at least in the eyes of Aunty.

As to why this is the case, it is best explained by the reality that many indigenous activists see perpetual bemoaning of the status quo as a livelihood, and a lucrative one at that. Working in tandem with them is a sympathetic progressive media eager to portray itself as the stalwart defender of the wretched. Any indigenous person who publicly challenges that narrative can expect to be labelled a pariah by the former and treated with cold indifference by the latter. The fact that even local government now takes part in this bullying, ostracising and groupthink shows how pervasive the censorious ideology of identity politics has become.


 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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