Monthly Archives: February 2007

Julie Bishop and Stephen Smith debate education

I saw the “head to head” on The 7.30 Report and can’t blame the public for being confused. I’ll need to review the transcript when it appears later to see if anything substantial was actually said, because my feeling at the moment is very little was.

Much of the debate concerned matters of university financing. I am not competent to talk about that. I defer to Jim Belshaw on that one. It did strike me though that the picture Stephen Smith painted of the expansion of quality university education in China and India presents a far greater challenge than either politician conceded.

It would appear that whoever wins we get a national curriculum. Curiously, the USA does not have one and is unlikely ever to have one. Australia is already and always has been far more centralised in education at school level than either the USA or the UK. (If the USA did have a national curriculum the Creationist/Intelligent Design issue could be even more fascinating.) In recent years the USA has evolved a series of National Standards, and there is much controversy over how effective that has been. In Language Arts (or English) the National Council of Teachers of English (a professional body, not a union) has been a staunch defender of essential values in that area.
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Posted by on February 28, 2007 in Aussie interest, Education, Jim Belshaw, Kevin Rudd, Politics


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More on performance pay for teachers

Arthur has drawn attention to on this issue: “Devising a fair and equitable method … to identify good teachers seems like something of a pipe dream.”

Is it tonight Julie Bishop goes “head to head” on education with her Labor “shadow” Stephen Smith on The 7.30 Report? Don’t really know much about Stephen Smith.
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Posted by on February 28, 2007 in Aussie interest, Education, Politics



Nice quote found…

I was just browsing what various bloggers have been saying about the implications of the Chinese stock crash/correction, a matter I don’t profess to understand. While reading Simply Left Behind (the non-rapturist’s guide to the galaxy) I spotted this under his masthead:

“Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. What did Conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things…every one! So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, ‘Liberal,’ as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won’t work, Senator, because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor.” — Matt Santos, “The West Wing”

Meanwhile, the ?Liberal? Party here in Australia is cracking down on dissent in its own ranks: PM berates Liberal critics.
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Posted by on February 28, 2007 in Aussie interest, Current affairs, News and Current Affairs, Politics, Pontification and raving


Say something a bit more constructive than “Awk!”

dmurraywd06.jpgI have just been browsing in an old collection of essays on the teaching of writing: Learning by Teaching: Selected Articles on Writing and Teaching (Boynton/Cook 1982) by Donald M Murray, and the title of this entry reflects one of those essays. I note that Don Murray (right) died last year after a distinguished career in teaching and journalism — he was a Boston Globe columnist. See Donald M. Murray Dies. See also this moving Guest book for Donald M Murray. I met his esteemed New Hampshire colleague Donald Graves on a number of occasions some years back. Visit the New England Writers’ Project. “Prof. Donald M. Murray (1924 – 2006) won a Pulitzer Prize, but will be best remembered for mentoring hundreds of writers. The only way to write well is write often, then revise, revise, revise.” Read the rest of that obituary by J. Dennis Robinson.
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Posted by on February 27, 2007 in blogging, Cultural and other, Education, Multiculturalism and diversity, writing


Lord Malcolm back home

He sounds tired, but he is back in Surry Hills.

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Posted by on February 27, 2007 in gay life/issues, Personal, Surry Hills



If there isn’t a crisis, invent one…

The Donnelly referred to it, visibly salivating, and the Sydney Morning Herald trumpets this morning: Call to remedy poor teacher literacy:

SCHOOLCHILDREN are not the only ones in the classroom who need to work on their three Rs.

A parliamentary committee is worried that teachers may be graduating from university without sufficiently high literacy and numeracy skills. It wants people starting university education courses to sit special tests to work out whether they need remedial language and numeracy teaching.

In a report published yesterday the House of Representatives Education Committee said only four of 31 universities required entrants to teacher courses to have year 12 mathematics, another eight required year 11 mathematics, and the remaining 19 did not specify any level of mathematics for entry…

I just downloaded that report and so can you at Inquiry into Teacher Education. Such a shame that the preface to it states:
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Posted by on February 27, 2007 in Aussie interest, Education, Politics


I’m watching “Difference of Opinion”…

…and I am learning very little, except that Kevin Donnelly is still cherry-pickings stats, and relying on anecdotal evidence if it suits him. Further, it appears he left public school teaching because he felt his particular brand of reactionary ideology was not sufficiently rewarded. He strikes me as a resentful man being avenged now “on the whole pack of you”. (I imagine he values Twelfth Night as much as I do and will get the allusion.) He is as lacking in real substance in 2007 as he was at the time I reviewed his great thoughts a few years back — see links on the right under “education”. He is on an ideological mission diligently finding “facts” to support his fetishes or to condemn his Aunt Sallies. He is very good at undermining public confidence in education and at preventing serious thought about where our culture, and education, may stand in this 21st century world, which he seems to reject, so far indeed as he actually comprehends it. As long as we can spell it doesn’t matter that we can’t think. (I believe in both by the way.)

Matthew Arnold he isn’t.
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Posted by on February 26, 2007 in Aussie interest, climate change, Current affairs, Education, Films, DVDs, TV, Pontification and raving