Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tony Abbott's working bee at Aurukun

When you think about it this is a remarkable event in Australian politics

Tony Abbott strongly supports Noel Pearson's leadership in indigenous education reform (even though Tony oversimplifies by calling it traditional old fashioned education) and a bunch of billionaires support him in a very practical, sleeves rolled up, get your hands dirty way

Noel Pearson calls it sweat equity. Unfortunately, Noel Pearson has lymphatic cancer, but from one report it is in remission.

The Labour Party being all tied up with the Unions, the Greens with their trendy suburb support base is left totally flat footed. They are far more into symbolism than actually doing something. It represents a reversal of what labour is meant to stand for.

Here are some of the articles with extracts and some comments from me in italics

Bosses roll up for Tony Abbott's working bee by CAROLINE OVERINGTON From: The Australian August 11, 2012

Fortescue chief executive Neville Power, Wesfarmers chief executive Richard Goyder, Westpac executive Elizabeth Henderson and ANZ's deputy chief, Graham Hodges, painted a library, planted trees and - most daunting of all - put flat-pack furniture together for 210 barefoot, indigenous children who attend the Cape York Aboriginal Academy in Aurukun ...

Pearson's Cape York Partnerships introduced the controversial Direct Instruction education program to the school two years ago - it's basically rote learning, with verve - in conjunction with a Welfare Reform Trial

Rote learning, with verve is not a correct description of Direct Instruction. Is it beyond the power of our daily media to describe the principals of logical empiricism?

Getting down to business BY: CAROLINE OVERINGTON From: The Australian August 13, 2012 12:00AM

Executive principal Cindy Hales worked in Aurukun 12 years ago, well before Pearson and his team moved in. She's now been back for a year.

"It used to be awful," she says. "When I was last here, there were no children reading at the level of a kindergartener. Today, there are 61 children reading at an age-appropriate level, and that's because of Direct Instruction."

The school's chief executive, Danielle Toon, also remembers the "bad old days" of kids getting regular "brain breaks".

"They'd read for 15 minutes and then they'd get a slice of bread with peanut butter," she says. "That was instead of a lesson."

Now, just two years in, and with only the barest of baby steps having been taken, there is tension over funding: the federal government recently agreed to extend funding to the tune of $11 million to get this school and three others in the Cape through to year's end, but there have been no promises after that; and Education Queensland hasn't yet signalled its intentions

I fervently hope that the new Campbell Newman government comes to support the DI initiative.

Remote school shifts gears for brighter future Date August 11, 2012 by Michael Gordon, from The Brisbane Times

School principal Patrick Mallett says school attendance is up from around 38 per cent in 2009 to be in the 70s and that a majority of students are either approaching or exceeding national benchmarks.

The key is not just an emphasis on scripted lessons and consistency, but being able to pinpoint where a child is in his or her literacy and numeracy development and make adjustments to maximise progress.

''To be at the coalface where daily we see children's lives transformed is an absolute privilege,'' says Mr Mallett, 48.

By quoting the Principal, The Brisbane Times, at least communicated one of the aspects of DI accurately.

Cape York’s real education revolution Miranda Devine Sunday, August 12, 2012

If atheists could pray:
"Pearson is in hospital having treatment for cancer. Let us pray for this great man’s speedy recovery, for he alone has brought indigenous Australia to a turning point, and his work is nowhere near complete."
After commenting on Abbott's "sweat equity". Miranda Devine includes some excellent old articles she has written.

Carving order out of the darkness By Miranda Devine, June 6, 2010

How intolerance can turn the tide, September 28, 2006

AND this is how it began, with Professor Kevin Wheldall and Robyn Beaman of Macquarie University:
Cape crusader shows how to empower
Noel Pearson’s push for better education is paying dividends for his people, writes Miranda Devine, November 17, 2005

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