Thursday, March 31, 2022

The NSW areas with high rate of school suspensions

Problem children tend to disrupt the schooling of the whole class they are in. And suspending them is usually too little too late. Such problems could be largely avoided if "special schools" were revived but that falls foul of the Leftist compulsion to ignore differences and pretend that all children are equal even when they are not. So troubled students are thrown in with normal students to the detriment of both.

In special schools provision can be made to have professional help available for troubled students, which would give realistic alternatives to suspensions, which usually achieve nothing

In the north-west of NSW, home to some of the state’s most disadvantaged and remote schools, one in 13 students was suspended in the first half of last year. In the north of Sydney, the rate was fewer than one in 100.

New figures from the NSW Department of Education also show suspension rates for students who are Indigenous or have a disability continue to be disproportionately high, with one in 10 Aboriginal students sent home from school in term one in 2021.

Suspensions are at the centre of a fiery debate in NSW education. A plan to make it harder for principals to give them out was delayed this week amid intense opposition from teacher unions and principals’ groups, who argue it will lead to rowdier classrooms.

The new figures – which compares term one data over the past five years, due to the lockdown in the second half of 2021 – show suspensions among secondary students were the highest in five years, with 6.8 per cent of students sent home for continued disobedience or aggressive behaviour.

However, suspensions in primary schools were lower than usual, at 1.1 per cent.

More than 10,000 students received long suspensions for the most serious behavioural issues, and were away for an average 12.2 days. They included 184 students from kindergarten to year 2.

Most were for persistent misbehaviour or physical violence, while 640 were for serious, school-related criminal behaviour, 715 were for possession or use of a suspected illegal substance, and 527 related to weapons.

One in 10 Aboriginal students – who account for 8.6 per cent of enrolments in government schools – was suspended at least once during semester one, a lower rate than previous years. Some 8.4 per cent of students with a disability were suspended.

City schools had lower suspension rates than country ones, ranging from 0.8 per cent of students in Sydney’s north to 2 per cent in the inner city, 2.8 per cent in the west and 3.9 per cent in the south-west.

Country rates ranged from 4.8 per cent in the state’s south-east, Newcastle and the Central Coast, to 6.2 per cent in the north-east and 7.4 per cent in the north-west.

Just 128 students were expelled, a number that has trended down. About half were expelled for misbehaviour, and half for unsatisfactory participation.

Amid concern about the high rates of disadvantaged students suspended, Education Minister Sarah Mitchell has led the development of a new behaviour strategy that halves the length of school suspensions and prevents students being sent home more than three times a year.

The new policy, which had been due to begin next term, also requires principals to give a warning if a student’s behaviour was raising the prospect of suspension. They could only send students home immediately if there was a threat to the safety of others.

Principals and the teachers union said the policy would reduce consequences for poor behaviour in schools. The NSW Teachers Federation passed a resolution calling on schools not to implement it, and called for more resources for staff to deal with complex student needs.

About 500 principals have written to Ms Mitchell opposing the new strategy over the past month.

Ms Mitchell this week said she would delay the implementation of the behaviour strategy until term three, to allow schools – which have been hit hard by COVID-19 and floods this term – more time to prepare.

New rules around restrictive practices, such as seclusion and process to follow if a child becomes violent, will be delayed until the beginning of next year.

“We’re committed to the policy, and we’re not shifting,” Ms Mitchell said. “We want to make sure we implement it well. The other thing we’re wanting to look at [is principals’] concerns about better inter-agency collaboration.”

NSW Teachers Federation vice president Henry Rajendra said the delay was a response to teachers’ opposition.

“Our schools don’t have the necessary staffing to meet the needs of our students, particularly measures to intervene early, so we can provide the maximum support, so they can engage positively throughout the classroom,” he said.

But Louise Kuchel from Square Peg Round Whole – a community of parents advocating for children with disabilities – said the delay was “upsetting and frustrating and not fair”.

“We’re getting really tired of advocating for [students’] rights and being consistently blocked by the union, who we are trying to help by providing them with some strategies to help our kids.”

One mother, who wanted to remain anonymous to protect her children, said her children’s public school’s understanding of disability had improved with a new principal.

One son, now eight, who has autism, was suspended four times, triggering such deep anxiety about school that she decided to teach him at home.

Another son – who is on a six-month waiting list for a diagnosis and who struggles to leave his parents – has been given warnings rather than suspensions for his behaviour. “If a student with attachment issues gets to spend more time with his parents [through suspension], he will repeat the behaviour and make the situation worse,” the mother said.


Lachlan Murdoch claims Australia's way of life is 'under attack' and that a woke ABC is undermining the country

Lachlan Murdoch has slammed the ABC and claimed the Australian way of life is under siege in a pointed speech to the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA).

'Our core values, our successes and even our history are under constant attack,' Rupert Murdoch's eldest son said on Tuesday night as he launched the Centre for the Australian Way of Life - 'a centre of cultural and intellectual influence and authority' at the IPA.

'Nourishing and defending those core values is extremely important. Not to do so has real world, real bad outcomes,' he said.

Mr Murdoch, who is the CEO of Fox Corporation and thought most likely to succeed his father, did not name the ABC in his 3,400 speech, instead referring to it as 'the national broadcaster'.

'To listen to our national broadcaster or much of the media elite is to hear about a uniquely racist, selfish, slavish and monchromatic country,' the billionaire media baron said.

He said the reality was very different, that Australia is one of the most 'tolerant, generous, independent and multicultural countries in human history', but that 'our national identity and culture are are weathering constant attempts to recast Australia as something it isn't'.

Mr Murdoch, who arrived back in Sydney last Friday on his $90million private jet, said Australians had an 'innate concept of fairness' and believed in a 'fair go'.

'I am always saddened when elements of our citizenry, often the elites who have benefited most from our country, display not a love of our values but a disdain for them,' said the 50-year-old, who was born in London, raised in New York and moved from Los Angeles to Sydney last year.

'How can we expect people to defend the values, interests and sovereignty of this nation if we teach our children only our faults and none of our virtues,' he added.

Mr Murdoch railed against what he called 'the damage done to the American psyche' through attacks on its values and the 'destructive rewriting of its history' and said Australia must 'learn from this cautionary tale'.

He also offered some advice on Australia's response to the Covid-19 pandemic, saying the country was right to 'turn the tyranny of distance into a temporary pandemic advantage ... until vaccines were developed'.

But he claimed the country then became 'a victim of our own success, with state leaders thinking they could out-do each other with lockdowns and remain Covid-free forever'.

Mr Murdoch said the approval of these approaches by much of the public 'was fuelled by the alarmist language and fear mongering of politicians and much of the media'.


ABC cancels book on cartoonist

There was enormous interest in last week’s “The Silence of the Aunty” segment of Media Watch Dog which was titled “The ABC’s Cancellation of Books on the Pell Case”.

This documented the fact that the taxpayer funded public broadcaster had “cancelled” recent books about Cardinal George Pell’s convictions on historical child sexual abuse charges which were quashed in a 7 to Zip decision by the High Court of Australia on 7 April 2020.

ABC journalists led the media pile-on against Pell and the ABC website contains numerous pages on the Pell Case. But ABC producers and presenters have refused to discuss three books which came out after the High Court decision. Namely, Keith Windschuttle The Persecution of George Pell, Frank Brennan Observations on the Pell Proceedings and Gerard Henderson Cardinal Pell, The Media Pile-On & Collective Guilt. With only one exception. Windschuttle was interviewed on ABC Radio National’s The Religion and Ethics Report.

MWD understands from its sources inside the ABC Soviet that there was considerable opposition from within the ABC to Windschuttle’s appearance on the ABC – despite the fact that no one has been able to point to any significant error in his book. Neither Brennan nor Henderson has been invited on to any ABC program.

An avid reader reminded MWD that author Fred Pawle suffered a similar fate with respect to his 2021 book Die Laughing: The Biography of Bill Leak.

Without question, Bill Leak (1956-2017) was one of Australia’s finest cartoonists and painters. In his introduction to Die Laughing, the comedian and artiste Barry Humphries described Leak as a “truly great and fearless Australian” whose work is not only “a record of its time” but also “funny”, “brutal”, “incisive” and “relentless”.

When Bill Leak was on the left and a fierce critic of John Howard and other political conservatives – including, at times, Jackie’s (male) co-owner – his work was untouched. However, when Leak became a critic of the left and adopted some conservative positions – there were many attempts by left-wing activists to silence him.

Fred Pawle’s work is what a good biography should be – sympathetic but also critical. In short, it is not a hagiography as is the case with many biographies of the left, by the left and for the left which are discussed ad nauseam on the ABC. Rather it’s an insightful, considered assessment of a brilliant artist and a clever but flawed man.

Australians can be trusted to read Pawle’s biography and make their own conclusions about Bill Leak. But not according to the ABC, it seems. For years, ABC types paraded against political and social censorship. Now censorship is rife within the ABC.

And so it has come to pass that ABC presenters and producers have effectively “cancelled” Die Laughing. The author has received only one interview on the ABC since his book was published last year – on ABC Radio National’s Between the Lines hosted by Tom Switzer. That’s all.

Now Bill Leak had quite a few mates in the ABC. Including Phillip Adams, Richard Fidler and Leigh Sales – currently the presenters of Radio National’s Late Night Live , ABC Radio’s Conversations and ABC TV’s 7.30 respectively.

Adams, Fidler and Sales spoke about their late friend Bill Leak for Die Laughing. But not one has brought about a situation whereby Fred Pawle has been interviewed on their programs – despite the fact that Late Night Live, Conversations and 7.30 interview authors about books. This suggests a lack of intellectual courage. If this trio does not believe that Leak is worth discussing on the ABC – why did they think it was worth talking to Pawle about his subject?

This appears to be yet another action by the ABC to silence voices that it does not want to hear. Another example of “The Silence of the Aunty”.


SA election shows Morrison the path to victory

The defeat of Liberal Premier Stephen ‘Marshmallow’ Marshall in South Australia opens a path to victory for Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the federal election but only if Morrison has the courage to follow the example of new Labor Premier Peter Malinauskas.

A Liberal defeat that presages a victory is not as contradictory as it seems. Marshall was a creature of the so-called moderate wing of the Liberal party. Malinauskas is a socially conservative Catholic who openly opposed same-sex marriage and voted against the legalisation of euthanasia and late-term abortion.

Labor presented Malinauskas as a dad who plays footy, but he is closer to former prime minister Tony Abbott and NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet than to opposition leader Anthony Albanese, who religiously attends Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Malinauskas leads the Catholic right faction and the resignations of former treasurer Jack Snelling and former minister Don Kenyon to revive the Family First party forced his factional enemies to realise that if they wanted to win government, they would have to keep their bigotry to themselves. Labor’s cheer squad followed suit. No protesters screamed, ‘Get your rosaries off my ovaries’, those attacks are reserved for the Christian right.

Yet it was moderate Liberals who gave Malinauskas his biggest break. Attorney-General Vickie Chapman infuriated social conservatives by introducing a private member’s bill allowing abortion up to the time of birth, which was fast-tracked by Marshall. When Liberal minister David Speirs tried to limit the damage by introducing an amendment to restrict access to late-term abortion, Marshall voted against it; Malinauskas supported it. Marshall added fuel to the fire by also fast-tracking a bill on euthanasia. Not content with these legislative victories, won with the support of the Greens and Labor, moderates thwarted a move by hundreds of Christians to join the party. SA Liberal party president Legh Davis, backed by Marshall and federal government leader in the Senate Simon Birmingham, forced recent members or those seeking to join the party to declare their support for endorsed candidates.

The purge of Pentecostals infuriated Tony Pasin, the Liberal member for the federal seat of Barker, who said it bordered on religious vilification, and incensed outgoing federal Liberal MP Nicolle Flint who slammed the move as undemocratic. It also prompted the Australian Christian Lobby and Family First to target all MPs who voted in favour of late-term abortion, along with One Nation and former Family First senator Bob Day, who campaigned against the attack on Christian values.

The election results show the outcome. Three socially conservative Liberals who left the party comfortably won seats as independents. Moderate Liberals in safe seats suffered massive swings. Marshall’s claim to be a better economic manager bought him nothing. At best, the Liberals will have 15 out of 47 MPs, with Marshall in danger of losing his own seat.

The notion that Marshall should have won because he did a good job managing the pandemic is delusional. He earned the moniker Marshmallow because he hid behind his police chief who exercised draconian powers at the behest of the chief health officer, a nutty professor who famously claimed you could catch Covid from touching a football. To this day, if you test positive for Covid in South Australia you must quarantine for a week, while your close contacts must isolate for a fortnight. Who knows why? When there was no Covid in the state, Marshall tolerated business-strangling restrictions. When the state opened in late November, the combination of Omicron and crazy quarantine rules crippled the economy by forcing people into repeated isolation.

The lesson for Morrison is stark. The marginalisation of Christians in the Liberal party is a cardinal error, just as it has been for Labor, which is usually beholden to the godless Greens when in power. By bringing Christians into the Labor fold, Malinauskas has won a majority in the lower house after only one term in opposition.

Malinauskas has another lesson for Morrison. Unlike Marshall, he is pro-nuclear and has had the courage to defend the establishment of a nuclear waste repository or a nuclear power plant in South Australia, saying it could be a safe source of base-load power with zero emissions.

This is a golden, or a uranium-plated opportunity for Morrison. Albanese puts himself forward as a leader in the mould of Bob Hawke or John Howard. Not on nuclear energy, which both supported. As a student politician, Albanese was aligned with the hard Left and friendly with People for Nuclear Disarmament. In 2004, as shadow minister for environment he campaigned against nuclear power when it was raised by Howard. In 2019, he called any discussion of nuclear technology a ‘fantasy’ which his Green allies found ‘alarming’.

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has gifted Morrison the opportunity to cut energy prices in ways Albanese won’t be able to copy; extending the life of coal-fired power plants, accelerating gas plants, and fast-tracking an increase in energy exports to bolster our allies. It also allows Morrison to drive a wedge through Labor on nuclear technology by talking to Malinauskas about nuclear industry in South Australia.

Morrison also needs to address the heightened threat of conflict posed by Russia and China. With support from Malinauskas, he can put flesh on his new Aukus alliance with the US and the UK by announcing the purchase of nuclear submarines and establishing an industry to support their maintenance in South Australia. He could also start discussions with Malinauskas on safe, small-scale, fourth-generation nuclear power, based on the miniature reactors in nuclear submarines.

Albanese likes to pretend he is like Malinauskas. Hardly. While Albanese has been cosying up to communists since his days as a student politician, the Malinauskas family fled communism in eastern Europe to set up a fish and chip shop in Adelaide. Labor, under Albanese, is hostile to politicians like the late senator Kimberley Kitching and retiring MP Anthony Byrne who were among the diminishing few to criticise China because under Albanese, Australia will kowtow to China, not defend the national interest.

Morrison once said he didn’t want to fight ‘culture wars’ because they don’t deliver jobs, but if he wants to hold on to his own job, he has to make the moderates in the Liberal party recognise that unless they win the support of Christians and conservatives at the next election, the marshmallows in the party will be toast. ?




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