Wednesday, February 03, 2010

We don't deserve this, Julia Gillard

source of graphic

OK, I spent 6 years or so teaching at a School in one of the most disadvantaged socio-economic areas in metropolitan Australia. And so I can empathise strongly with how teachers at that school would feel about the new Australian government MySchool site when they see how their low NAPLAN results (Paralowie) are prominently in RED when compared with ALL schools , even though the similar so called like school results are displayed in far lighter shades.

Just let me say that Paralowie had the most enlightened administration and the most creative teachers I have ever had the privilege to work with. Teachers who understood that the main source of educational disadvantage was socio-economic and worked very hard to turn things around for as many students as they could.

And guess what. It will be the same long after Julia Gilliard has left politics and has retired on her parliamentary pension to some upper class suburb somewhere.

Further reading: League Tables Increase Social Segregation and Inequality by Trevor Cobbold, pdf

Previous blog: sbs-insight: should-schools-test-results-be-made-public

Previous article:

More temperate but well researched blogs, even though I have no idea where Darcy gets the thought that Gillard and Rudd are well intentioned:
MySchool: Part I
MySchool: Part II


Anonymous said...

*Laughing* Part of being 'temperate' is believing that others, while having different views, are likely to want good outcomes for their community.

Bill Kerr said...

Well, Darcy, you have presented some good arguments on your blog about how MySchool ratings will increase inequality and yet you take the politician who have introduced it at face value, that their words are sincere. So, wrt the alleged fine motivations of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard you don't actually have an argument or a good reason for your position.

Anonymous said...

No, I think I do. Ms Gillard most likely thinks she can bust through and entrenched 'clay layer' by providing 'the data' straight to the electorate. It is possible that the hidden agenda is to reduce the Howard Years legacy of payments to private schools when citizens see some of the data ie. the staff: student ratio etc.. This, i admit, may be fanciful and too optimistic. However, I can not believe her agenda, at its essence, regardless of opinion, is anything other than policy to improve education in Australia. I just happen to disagree and worry about the ramifications of such flawed policy.

Bill Kerr said...

hi Darcy,

I looked up your blog on the clay layer since I wasn't certain about what you meant.

I haven't done a full analysis of Labour policy but I agree with you that it does involve populist approaches that by pass the Unions.

Let's think of some policies that would make a real difference to inequality such as a massive increase in pre school education in Disadvantaged areas. Why don't they do that? Or why don't they make real efforts to improve teacher quality? Why are fairly obvious things that would make some real difference harder for them to do than what they have chosen to do?

Anonymous said...

....basically, the Federal Government does not control state education. The 'clay layer' is not neccesarily the unions but the bureaucracy that runs education. The 3 year electoral cycle, an impatient government and the Howard legacy of funding all make it challenging to achieve change. The DER provided the 'trojan horse' of laptops, to shake things up and now the webite continu7es in that vein. I suspect it will all go pear shaped though.

Bill Kerr said...

hi Darcy,

I agree with you about the clay layer including the bureaucracy as well as the Unions.

The way I think about Kevin's earlier laptop election announcement and subsequent implementation is that it was not very well thought through as a policy but was more a way of symbolic differention, the younger Rudd more in touch with youthful technology than the older, staid Howard. You know as well as I do that computers are used in schools to a fraction of their real potential and there is nothing in the top down managerial style of Rudd that is modelling a change in a better direction. I've discussed these issues earlier with Mark Pesce in response to his Hyperpolitics post, see the comments there.

In comparison, the policy behind the MySchool site is well thought through or rather copied from New York's Joel Klein but it does represent the real substance of Labour's "education revolution", or rather a counter revolution which, as you have eloquently argued, will increase rather than decrease inequality.

Rather than educational revolutionaries shaking things up it's more a case of two clay layers, one educational and one government, in a competition of which part of the light should be blocked out.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it would appear that an election ploy, to differentiate between clones, will not be as successful due as it might be due to another, reductive, educational policy.

I like Mark Pesce's stuff period. He was the first person I followed on Twitter after seeing him speak 2 years ago.