Pyne-ing for a good education

Opposition Education spokesman Christopher Pyne has recently Taken Aim.

Pyne’s argument is that “too much money has been wasted on reducing class sizes and that instead there should be more focus on the quality of teaching”.

We therefore have his argument that teacher training and quality are more important than salaries or reducing class sizes.

But wait a moment, how does one encourage the best people to enter into the teaching profession without paying them an amount at least equivalent to their “market value”? How does one increase the value and thus the quality of teaching without paying wages commesurate with expectations?

Pyne told Lateline that teaching has become a “cheap” and “easy” job to get, and that it is not attracting high achievers.

This is somewhat twisted logic. If a job is “cheap” and therefore as a result is not attracting high achievers, then surely the solution would be to pay teachers more, thereby raising their status. But not so according to Christopher Pyne, who also argues that there are things more important than salaries.

Pyne also intimated that the socio-economic status of school attendees is not relevant as a factor in the success of a student’s education, however then proceeds to argue that private schools are more effective at teaching because of..Why? Because of available resources, which of course relates almost entirely to socio-economic status.

And what do most private schools boast about? None other than smaller class sizes, of course.

I could go on about teacher effectiveness, about why one teacher or one school is more effective than others. We start with children who are motivated learners, due to expectations and socio-economic background plus the availability of resources. However, the most important thing of all is motivation and this relates almost entirely to expectations. Take these same motivated learners, give them a book, give them a set of paints, a block of wood, a set of empty egg cartons and some coloured string and they will learn, they will be effective learners.

Teacher training? Well perhaps, but from my experience the ability to teach children is more about instinct, about providing opportunities to think for oneself without being overly directed. The most effective learner is one who is self-motivated.

Christopher Pyne has also stated that a Coalition government “plans to move underperforming teachers out of the profession”.

But how to identify the underperforming teacher? Results-based. Therefore a teacher who decides to take on the difficult tasks is indeed under the threat of being identified as underperforming due to the difficult backgrounds of some of his or her charges.

In conclusion: according to Christopher Pyne he is not going to pay teachers any more money, is not going to reduce class sizes; and yet via some minor miracle is going to going to focus on “quality”.

Presumably, by the time that Pyne weeds out the underperforming teachers then those left standing will all be pure “quality”..underpaid quality, severely under-resourced quality..but quality nonetheless.

And oh, by the way No help for TAFE

With dozens of Ballarat TAFE courses set to be axed due to state government funding cuts, unions can expect no assistance from the federal government according to a Coalition frontbencher.

101 comments on “Pyne-ing for a good education

  1. Cu and Do you believe that the system has not improved over recent times, or is the problem is that others in our region have improved more than us.. I believe that it’s the latter.

  2. Everything for the Libs is market driven, until the shoe is on the other foot. Where consumers pay, let them, where the consumer does not directly, but rather indirectly through taxes, well, cost suddenly does not equal quality.

  3. Inga, I just wonder what Pyne means by his statement “quality of teaching”. It’s nothing which money can buy. I have known very poorly paid teachers in schools where nobody else wanted to teach..these people were pure quality.

  4. I do believe we do need to look closely at what Pyne is saying. Once again the Opposition is saying the experts have it wrong. Only they know what is good for us.

    His bottom line seems to be, to protect funding to private school system.

    Once again, the Coalition appears to believe they have the right to interfere and enforce what they believe should be taught.

    Do political have the right to set curriculum for all. Who gives them this right. That is where do they get the tight to decide what children are taught.

    Mr. Pyne denies there is any inequity in the present system.

    If this is the base he starts from, we are in strife down the road,

    Once again, it is about getting rid of Public Servants and people that that do not agree with them.

    it is said that money has been wasted , aiming for small class sizes.

    If so, why do all private schools have small classes. If he can explain this one, I might believe he has something to say.

  5. “Pyne told Lateline that teaching has become a “cheap” and “easy” job to get, and that it is not attracting high achievers.

    Gee…. and there I was thinking he was talking about LNP Politicians ..

  6. Teacher struggle

    But the Government believes it is possible to improve teacher quality at the same time as reducing class sizes, and it says the Opposition’s plan would result in fewer teachers and “massive” classes.

    “I’m not sure that Christopher Pyne’s plan to sack teachers and increase class sizes is the answer to the challenge we face in education,” acting School Education Minister Chris Evans told ABC News Online.

    Class sizes may not matter to think tanks and Christopher Pyne, but I can say to you that class sizes do matter for every parent across Australia.

    Angelo Gavrielatos, Australian Education Union
    “As a parent, I certainly know that seeing a teacher struggle with more than 40 students in a class doesn’t give you good educational outcomes.

    “Yes, there are other things we need to do and that’s why the Government’s focused on rewarding good teachers, providing professional support, and giving principals more autonomy to make sure their schools are employing the right mix of teachers.”

    Teacher unions have also attacked the Coalition’s plan, describing Mr Pyne’s comments as “bizarre”.

  7. This is what Pyne is rejecting.

    Gonski pressure

    There is growing pressure for the Federal Government to commit to the recommendations of the Gonski review of school funding, which called for the injection of $5 billion into the education system and a dramatic change in the way money is split between government and non-government schools.

    We have wasted a lot of money in Australian education by reducing class size.

    Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority board chairman Professor Barry McGaw
    On the weekend, the New South Wales Labor Party passed a motion calling on the Government to act on the findings of the report.

    Mr Gavrielatos says this is where the Opposition should be focusing its efforts.

    “The Gonski review found the current funding arrangements are failing our students and the nation as a whole,” he said.

    “They found that the current funding arrangements are contributing to a deepening inequality in educational attainment and a widening of achievement gaps.

    “We’ve got achievement gaps of up to two years between advantaged and disadvantaged students, and up to five-and-a-half years between the top 20 per cent of the year 9 cohort and the bottom 20 per cent of the year 9 cohort.”

    The Government says it is still working on its response to the Gonski report and is expected before the end of the year.

    Of course what would experts know.

  8. Sadly, we do need to listen to him.

    Some of the comments. Very few support Pyne. I wonder why, if he as he believes, has the answers.

    Maybe a few more flag poles is the answer.


    Score: 6
    8:01 AM on 17/07/2012
    My kids’ teachers, at a public school in brisbane, have all been very hard working. even when i didn’t like the way they did things, i would never begrudge them that.
    Christopher Pyne appears naive and arrogant launching such an attack on Australia’s teachers.
    Report Abuse

    Score: -2
    8:06 AM on 17/07/2012
    Nothing wrong with smaller classes, something wrong when teachers’ entry grades prove they couldn’t succeed at much all at school themselves. The low fliers drag everyone down and make teaching an unattractive career for those with talent. Recent initiatives in Qld to reward senior teachers were a joke, 80% were expected to pass. The test? Regurg some openly colluded half baked ed theories. Only teachers could make the “test” so easy, but 20% were still expected to fail!
    Report Abuse

    Score: 9
    pete 3
    8:15 AM on 17/07/2012
    I’d like to apologise to any dedicated teachers who feel insulted or demoralised by these comments from someone who purports to represent us as a society. His comments strike me as mean-spirited and nasty.
    Report Abuse

    Score: 6
    8:22 AM on 17/07/2012
    It’s the students who need a kick up the backside not the teachers. Their hands are tied, there is no discipline, the kids can do as they please, but the teachers get the blame.
    Report Abuse

    Score: 5
    8:31 AM on 17/07/2012
    Sigh. Mr Pyne, you cannot complain that teaching is not attracting high achievers, then refute the need to increase salaries in the profession. why do you think the high achievers are going elsewhere?
    We’re talking about a profession where the wage (vs cost of living) hasn’t risen in 20 years, and for much of that period fell well behind growth in cost of living.
    Report Abuse

    Score: 3
    8:32 AM on 17/07/2012
    Teachers should be paid more for the huge responsibility they have in the community and society.
    As a tax paying parent, I’d rather put my children and more of my money in the hands of a good teacher. Who wants to pay ANY money and/or have their children taught by an under performing teacher???
    Report Abuse

    Score: 9
    8:35 AM on 17/07/2012
    I think Mr Pyne’s ill-considered and authoritarian remarks could be equally applied to politicians, the majority of whom, understandably, would be deeply offended.
    Report Abuse

    Score: 7
    rod h
    8:36 AM on 17/07/2012
    Denigrating teachers is hardly likely to encourage the brightest and best into the profession!

    Pyne’s comments, and the raucous anti-intellectualism of shock jocks and many conservative politicians in recent times, are hardly likely to encourage the culture of educational achievement found in those Asian nations that have made great leaps forward in such areas in recent times. Perhaps the simple reality is that the Coalition see their own electoral interests best served by “dumbing down” of the Australian electorate?………………..

  9. I have a feeling that bad teachers do not hang around long.

    Anyone that has worked in the PS knows that it is a myth that bad workers cannot be got rid of.

    Peer pressure is a wonderful thing. It can keep a team together. It can quickly get rid of the dead wood,

    Pyne needs to get back to the real world. This man is proud that he has no friends on the left of politics.

    I suspect his social group is very narrow indeed.

    I suspect he has no contact with those on the wrong side of the track, or the schools their children attend.

  10. So let’s start at the beginning of why people go into teaching?

    Unfortunately because of a low UAI rank, many people go into teaching because they have failed to get into the career of their choice. Why is the UAI so low..because nobody wants the job of course.

    Pyne himself points out that it’s all about status, plus pay. You pay teachers commesurate with their qualifications and status follows. With pay plus status, then teaching will become a 1st choice of school leavers instead of how it is now.. Ah well, if I don’t get in..I can always become a teacher…

  11. Pyne is just as much out of touch as the rest of his party. Most Australians would like to be able to earn teachers’ salaries, and to be a teached you must be a uni graduate, so how is it a “cheap and easy” profession? Very few earn Pyne’s salary, and most of those who do, must work hard and use their brains. Pyne apparently doesn’t, can’t or won’t.

  12. I had teacher when I was in High School… he had an utterly brilliant mind… and would have been a better Uni-Lecturer than having to deal with smart-arsed country teens…
    Could he teach…??? BLOODY OATH.. but unfortunately NOT the curriculum but through him just talking .. and his passion for his subject was obvious.. but we were not eager to be taught … NOT HIS FAULT REALLY

    BUT.. as to bad teachers ( which I am hesitant to class him as…. ) not staying long…
    well the Little Horrors we all were ( and as nice as we were at the same time ) assisted him in the decision of Leaving Teaching .. and ENTERING THE CHURCH ( non R-C) …..

  13. Ohh you silly billy’s! It’s just Whiney Pyne trying to say that teachers are a lazy bunch who are paid too much and teach too few students, and we need to dumb them down anyhow, because they’ll vote in a few years and we can’t have intelligent voters, can we, because they might vote us out of office. Etc, etc.
    Just wait till Phoney Tony and the NO Coalition are in power and people will really know was PAIN is!

  14. Knarf… and sadly and maybe.. That is a lesson that SOME PEOPLE do need to learn… Pity about the rest of us

  15. Min, it is a long time since people went into teaching, because it was the only way to get a tertiary education. Mr. Whitlam ended that shocking situation.

    Teaching is too hard, for those not suitable to hang around. What is more likely, because of poor pay and conditions more good teachers move on.

    Along with female PM’s, I do not believe there are many professional workers that are treated with less respect.

    I need to say, I have never taught, and except for a cousin id not have close contact with, have any in the family.

    My experience with teachers, are the ones that educated me, and those who have educated my children, grand and great children.

    My experience does not fit in with the picture that Mr. Pyne is attempting to put forwarded.

  16. Cu, on occasions bad teachers hang around for far too long. It’s not as cut and dried as Pyne would have us believe. There are excellent teachers working with the disabled and with kids in disadvantaged backgrounds..these teachers will never show “results” and according to Pyne’s criteria would be some of the first ones culled.

  17. ” Pyne apparently doesn’t, can’t or won’t.”

    or has not had to.

    Maybe it has been handed to him.

    He does see himself as some type of Shakespearean actor, if one watches his performances within the house.

    I, for one wishes that he would move onto that career.

    At least one does have to have some qualifications to be a teacher. None that I know of to be a politician, especially in a safe seat.

  18. Not like Pyne to speak about issues in his own shadow portfolio. Usually too busy colluding with the Speaker’s staff or doing standup comedy. Did we have to come to this? Cheap and easy sounds like a description of this mouth-for-hire.

  19. Cu, there are still many people and I know from my own children’s friends..they have gone into teaching, the sole reason being is that they did not receive high enough marks to get into the course of 1st or even 2nd choice..therefore their only choice was teaching due to the low entry mark required.

    This is not to say that these people do not make excellent teachers, it’s to point out that Pyne’s statement that lower pay cf other tertiary educated professions does not make a difference.

    Pyne is saying that “quality” matters more than salaries. I say that you do not get the top people unless you are prepared to pay for them.

  20. CU, I think Min was referring to students who don’t get a high enough tertiary entrance score to get into the degree they wanted, so “settle” for a B Ed.

    Min is probably correct here to some extent, but there are certainly exceptions. Niece got an OP 2 here in Qld (1 is the highest possible) and chose to study primary school teaching – her passion. Also interestingly, she had the opportunity to move almost directly into the private school system, but chose to teach in the public system where she “could make a difference.” (This was some years ago now – she turns 29 this year and is still teaching in the public system.)

    The cutoff for admission to B Ed. this year was OP 14…

  21. Another proviso..some people do have “a calling” whether it be teaching, nursing, aged care or volunteer work and it matters not a scrap the pay because the person is doing a job which they believe in.

    It’s when people such as Pyne speak about “culling” and saying that teaching is cheap and easy that I realise that our shadow minister for education has not-a-clue….

  22. Bacchus, yet again on the same wave length. My majors were educational psychology and art and I chose to use these to work with disadvantaged children and those who had been traumatised due to the effects of displacement/war…the issue of sexual abuse was still at this stage something which remained hinted at, but not discussed even within the professional field.

    This was a very new field, it was being recognised that children who had been traumatised could not speak what they meant but that they expressed their feelings in their artwork. I think that now we are all conversant with the artwork of children in highly traumatised situations such as war zones and those who have been abused.

    My first job was at Burnley Primary School working with non-English speaking children of mostly Greek background. Best job, nicest kids.

  23. Kevin, Pyne and J. Bishop both..a highly unusual occurrence, for them to give an utterance on their own portfolios. One forgets at times which shadow minister has which job…

  24. Yep Min, but according to Pyne, you (and my niece) could be classified as bad teachers because the academic results of the children were’nt the equal of the top private school. (Niece teaches in the south western sububs of Brisbane – think the general direction of Inala / Richlands / Darra / Durack.)

  25. Sorry, I did not want to give that impression. There are other courses that also have low cut off marks.

    Back in the days of Teachers Colleges and paying to go to uni, this was a way to get a free tertiary education.

    Pyne is yapping about more practical training. What would he know.

    How does one class a good teacher. How does one class that teacher, that every body hates but gets the tuns on the board.

    How does one class a teacher that manages to control difficult kids, but the results are not record breaking but manages to get some knowledge across.

    What is a good teacher. Why is one better than another.

    I think with teachers, there might be horses for courses.

  26. Teachers can take that degree elsewhere, if they find teaching not to their liking. I suspect to jobs with more pay and respect.

  27. Cu, I agree. There is many a country lad who became a teacher just for a chance to get out of Myrtleford, or Wang’ or Corryong to gain a tertiary education..I know, I went to College with them. 😉

  28. Pyne will do the time, but the teachers will take the lashes.

    He made several valid points, but even the Gonski report is not enough, although a start.

    It is a systemic issue. Deeply rooted in culture.

  29. What a complete moron this Pyne is. I would like to see Politicians paid for the quality of their outcomes, he would then be heavily in debt.

  30. Soilisms, I think that this really does get back to the Gonski report. If even a fraction of the recommendations were acted upon then we will be gradually ploughing our way back towards an egalitarian society.

    Just on instinct, but the one which is getting the Libs going is,

    Most of the increase should flow to government schools because they have more disadvantaged students

    So, we therefore have Pyne saying it’s not about the students, underperformance is all about teachers. Hey, look over there —>>

  31. Next we will be hearing of Labor’s waste on infrastructure and upgrading of electronic aids that brings us into the 21 century.

    We will be hearing of the money wasted in the computerization of the school system.

    According to Pyne, there is no inequity in our system.

  32. Blind freddy but innocent until proven guilty.

    If we can get such bipartisanship over Asylum seekers, at least a conversation with suitable urgency regarding education should be possible.

    Ask the educators IN the universities fighting against constant budget cuts and an apathetic youth, an apathetic management.

    From my perspective, most of the intellectual legwork has already been done. There is very little cost involved in making systemic changes, it just requires the correct conversation.

  33. I would like to say, the Drum is much better tonight. Wonder why it fluctuates so much.

  34. Gonski alone is not nearly enough, Govt’s have a right to demand universities contribute to the state.

    There may have been more but I think there may be value in these and I dont wan’t to watch it again. I am trying not to get partisan, as the realities are the theories of reform is out there waiting to be read, and trials, implemented. All parties are failing. I would argue now is a time to be critical of your own party in order to get the ball rolling. A few phone calls to dept. heads would gather some awesome minds and you would have a framework which is probably already written by 8 of them 3 times over ready to go within a week of gathering them around the same table.

  35. Soilisms, it’s not my field of expertise but I do know how lousy PhD scholarships are and that’s $300pw. I also know that Universities are now required to go cap in hand to industry to fund research and every 6 months it’s the same thing, not know whether or not you’re going to receive adequate funding.

  36. Kevin @ 5:32 pm

    Not like Pyne to speak about issues in his own shadow portfolio. Usually too busy colluding with the Speaker’s staff or doing standup comedy. Did we have to come to this? Cheap and easy sounds like a description of this mouth-for-hire.

    I think this is the first time he has actually spoken on his own portfolio in two years!

    As you suggest, “too busy colluding…”

  37. Soilism, love it 🙂 Don’t get me started on ADHD and why it doesn’t exist…giving drugs in order to get males to conform..and how divergent thinking (seeing lots of possibly answers) for the majority of people decreases as a capacity with age. Mind you as an Asperger’s none of the above apply. 😉

  38. I don’t agree with everything that he outlines. I’m a mature age education undergraduate who switched to history/literacy and then took a break, so I reckon I have some pretty strong ideas.

    The clip is just a great example of how simple the whole notion is. I am currently reading through Chomsky’s linguistics. On the intellectual cutting edge, I predict a theory of similar importance will arise in relation not only to linguistics and social theory but across all intellectual disciplines, Chomsky’s theories have antiquated Piaget.

    I suggest a paper called “States of reason and reasons of state;
    Noam Chomsky’s metaphors as a dialogue across disciplines”
    Rukmini Bhaya Nair (2011) who also writes a mean poem.

  39. Every single time I thought that I knew about human behaviour and had everything neatly slotted, then a special person would come into my life proving to me that psychology was mostly blather. I gave up on theory.

    My favorite poet is Oodgeroo aka Kath Walker..

    My son, your troubled eyes search mine,
    Puzzled and hurt by colour line.
    Your black skin as soft as velvet shine;
    What can I tell you, son of mine?

    I could tell you of heartbreak, hatred blind,
    I could tell you of crimes that shame mankind,
    Of brutal wrong and deeds malign,
    Of rape and murder, son of mine;

    But I’ll tell you instead of brave and fine
    When lives of black and white entwine,
    And men in brotherhood combine–
    This would I tell you, son of mine.

  40. Of course ADHD exists, denial coming from an Aspergers, is strange. Giving Amphetamines to normal children would cause them to go hyper, it does not for ADHD kids and Narcoleptics. If you do not believe then take some speed and see if it calms you and helps you focus, and as you put it, conform!
    I have Narcolepsy and have some understanding in this matter!

  41. ADAmor, it’s a matter of how many are indeed diagnosed this way. I do understand that amphs given to ADHD kids has the reverse effect as per individuals without this disorder.

    The same thing with people with Asperger’s, that many drugs can have a reverse effect, therefore one has to be careful. Why? Don’t know, and neither to the professionals.

    My problem with ADHD is the number of boys especially where are prescribed drugs as a 1st order rather than when all other options have been thoroughly evaluated.

    Oh dear, I may as well go for it. I am also hearing impaired a good mate and a specialist in the field of hearing impairments said that 6:10 boys who made it to his rooms had previously been diagnosed as ADHD when the problem was hearing.

    In my former job as a disability advocate I ALWAYS told parents, have your child thoroughly assessed for physical problems before taking your GPs advice and putting him on Ritalin.

  42. Catching up, responding to your question on the other thread at 4.01 pm re Pyne’s comments, I think he is using the huge thrust on education in those newly emerging countries as an opportunity to have a go at teachers here. As you suggested, it is that there is an ambitious attitude in those students striving for something their parents didn’t have. Teaching them would be a cinch even in a class of fifty!

    Attacking our own teachers and downgrading their working conditions is not going to improve standards here. Something else has to change. Not sure how an awareness of the importance of education can be better promoted, but it certainly won’t be achieved by larger class sizes and economies of scale with disincentives to take up teaching as a profession.

    One positive thing could have come out of Pyne’s decision to shoot his mouth off – maybe teachers and their unions will get behind the ALP and work to make sure his ideas never get implemented. That sort of talk should get unions generally sorting out their priorities.
    Education is Julia Gillard’s strength too. She’ll be on to him soon enough.

  43. I’d love to know how you can “rate” teachers in the first place. While people of a country may be able to be distributed on a bell curve of intelligence, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the 24 or 30 kids that are chosen to be placed in front of a certain teacher at a certain school also follow the same bell curve of intelligence.

    So, if the teacher is really trying and the class is over represented on the intelligence bell curve, the teacher gets all the boxes ticked, a pat on the head by Pyne and goes on to bigger and better things (or at least keeps their job), if the students are under-represented, the teacher gets sacked.

    I’m sure there is “clock watching” teachers – just as there are clock watching members of any other profession. THere would have to be other ways to manage them out that adherence to some obscure set of statistics made up by those that are in all probability so far removed from the day to day, they are irrelevant.

    Disclaimer – my wife has a teaching qualification but not a teaching job (not through want of trying). If teaching jobs are easy to get – I wish Pyne would tell me where there was one.

  44. “Don’t get me started on ADHD and why it doesn’t exist…”

    It does exist and when one comes across it, there is no mistaking the diagnosis.

    Saying that Min, I go along with you. I have been out of the field for a long time. I worked for years in residential care in NSW, such places as Minali. Well I said it was long time ago.

    Many of the kids carrying the diagnosis respondent quickly to boundaries being set, good meals and regular bed times,. These I believe were misdiagnosed. Poor parenting was at the root of their problems.

    Funny, cutting back on sugar and red sauce did bring behaviour changes. This I found more so, when working in the Richmond homes that house the intellectually disabled. I still do not really believe it. I think is is the stability that brings changes.

    Teachers do not teach in an environment were all children are on the same level. Many of these children have issues to deal with, that would destroy most adults.

    Remember most, or nearly all dysfunctional children love their parents. The parents themselves love their children dearly.

    Comparing us to Norway, which is a homogeneous country, with little poverty, is comparing apples and oranges.

  45. Pyne said the rating would be left to the school as they were the closest to the frontline. This is the whole Liberal hand everything to the micro level, health as well, so they can abrogate all responsibility for the massive funding cuts that ensue under them.

    Letting the principal and/or vice make the decision on rating sure isn’t going to allow personality clashes or power plays now is it?

  46. Did Mr. Pyne say anything about Mr. Abbott’s promise that control of schools be given over to a community base committee, along with health.

    I heard Mr. Abbott renew the promise the other day.

  47. But not so according to Christopher Pyne, who also argues that there are things more important than salaries.

    Yep, that’s right. Working for a salary is just a bonus on top of the joy of working. 🙄

  48. Miglo, we know that all those teachers in the private sector work for love.

    That is why they have all those large classes and inferior infrastructure. The state schools are luxurious in comparison.

    If they did not spend so much on those playing fields, they would do better. If they lowered their standards to that of the state schools, the parents would save the money that must be wasted now.

    What Mr. Pyne did not tell us, that in the Asian countries that are doing so well, the parents spend a fortune on tutoring out of school hours.

    I believe that it is true, that the teachers spend a much time in training, as they do with face to face teaching.

    In Norway, I believe teachers are given respect as professionals and are highly paid.

    I suspect that they would soon tell the politicians were to get off, if they interfered in the way and what they teach. I suspect this is left to the professionals.

  49. Do politicians tell doctors how to take out tonsils. I suspect not, it is left to the professionals, that is doctors.

    I suggest the same applies to teachers.

    It is up to governments to supply the necessary resources and infrastructure.

    I do not see the role of politicians to tell the educators how to do their job.

  50. Pingback: Too few men choose careers in teaching | Website for Men

  51. JooR @4.24pm, roflmao! 😆 😆 😆

    Class sizes may not matter to think tanks and Christopher Pyne, but I can say to you that class sizes do matter for every parent across Australia.

    CU you have to consider that these pupils won’t need much more education than how to pull their forelocks and put their mark on a SerfChoices contract. Education is for the elites.

    Seriously though, education is the bedrock of a modern society and we should be ensuring that all pupils get the best education possible if we’re to compete with developing countries as they rapidly catch us up..

    The findings of the Gonski Report are pretty depressing for a country like Australia. We must provide the funding and talent to improve the outcome for those falling behind. AFAIC, we will have wasted the minerals boom if we don’t address education.

    Hopefully, the government won’t squib.

    Radek Milik @ 5.06pm, you’re right about Prissy. As you say how is getting a degree a cheap and easy option?

    knarf @5.17pm, exactly. Can’t have these serfs getting ideas above their station. Prissy and his superior friends probably need a few domestics.

    Kevin @5.32pm, absolutely right.

    Julian @6.00pm, yes indeedy. I think the entire Shadow Ministry would be renting a potting shed from Slagabella and the only reason she’d still have a few bob in her purse would be if she manages to keep her graspers on Colin Howard’s estate.

  52. that in the Asian countries that are doing so well, the parents spend a fortune on tutoring out of school hours.

    The same actually applies here CU. Especially amongst the various Asian communities. Look at the list of high achievers in just about any of our “prestigious” schools – the Ng’s and Nguyen’s and other similar names tend to dominate. It’s not because those kids are smarter the “Aussie” kids – it’s just that they work harder and their parents are more invested (both financially and personally) in their children’s education.

    Disclaimer: Son attended a school where there was a high proportion of Asian students. It was very good for him – they pushed him and helped him to achieve to a high level. Many of those students who were helping my son, were themselves attending out of hours tutoring to achieve the requisite levels to enter the prestigious medicine and law faculties at university.

    High academic achievement is very much part of the Aussie “Asian” culture in many cases…

  53. Bacchus. Spot on. Also when many of the private school achievers hit uni, they do no better than the kids from the state school down the road.

    There is a difference between education and passing exams. A big difference.

  54. And I would second that, love it too. For those not on FB it reads: Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself. Chinese proverb.

  55. Mobius and teachers being rated on the front line. We have all been in employment situations where the head of the department has made huge mistakes in assessing not only abilities, but potential. School Principles are just as vulnerable, sometimes being less impressed with the teacher who is prepared to innovate, who is prepared to take risks rather than the head-nodder. The head-nodder is seen as co-operative while the risk-taker, a bit of a nuisance.

  56. The truth is, good education begins with the exceptional School Principles. The person in this tole, is the best indicator of how well your school will perform.

    A bad one, and all is in trouble.

    it is also true, that good teachers do not always become good Principle. One does not have to be a good teacher to be a wonderful Principle.

    There is much more to education, than Mr. Pyne’s narrow view of blaming the teacher.

    Not all teachers are good at teaching in all situations and all children.

    Mr. Pyne falls at the first hurdle. The hurdle that does not acknowledge that there is inequity in our system.

    If one cannot see the problems, how can they supply the solutions.

  57. soilisms. love your video.

    Yes, that is where we should start.

    Mr Pyne seems to believe all one needs is a good teacher that stands in front of a class, no matter the number, the kids will soak up the words of wisdom that they have to say.

    According to Mr.. Pyne, small classes,, appropriate infrastructure and resouces count for nothing.

    If this does not work then it is the parents fault for not having the wherewithal to support their children

  58. Cu, on School Principals many arrived at that point of their careers by seniority rather than ability. We had one chap at Mullumbimby High (which receives awards for it’s arts and drama)..he had come from an all boys school and promptly tried to enforce a strict dress code. His staff advised him that this attempt would be a dismal failure..and it was. Staff and parents were equally as frustrated by this chap and his inability to compromise.

  59. Pyne is of concern because he states that improvements in the attainments of pupils relate soley to the quality of teaching. It’s not. One can have a teacher who is less skilled but with a class of highly motivated children, children will learn irregardless of the teacher. On the other hand, we can have lousy teachers who can completely wreck the year for the children in their classes.

    This can quite often not be to do with “quality” of teaching, but other issues such as failure to address classroom bullying. I have seen teachers in my time who play children against each other and in fact encouraging bullying of children who they do not like.

  60. A good Principle brings out the best in all teachers. It is their role to enhance the school and it’s teachers.

    It is not the role of the Principle to run a business, to find the money for the school to operate. That is the role of government.

  61. Cu, in Victoria we had something called local selection or central selection. Via central selection the Dept of Education would allocate a Principal to a particular school, via local selection the P&C would put forward a recommendation of who they would like to see become their Principal.

    Via local selection we were able to have a long term staff member take up the position. He had been Acting Principal and had done an outstanding job. However, you can also have a situation where the P&C has vested interests in promoting “their man” to the job.

    As far as running a business, that is what a Principal spends a good portion of his/her time doing..raising funds, responding to requests for equipment and liasing with the school community.

  62. Min, it will be more so if the Liberals get their own way with their so called community control. The are off loading the responsibilities onto the Principle and to a lesser extent, the parents.,

    Each will be given a bucket of money, and directions to make the best of it. There is no mechanism that I can see, that the bucket of money will relate to the needs of the school. I suspect it will be based on numbers of students.

  63. Cu, as a former Shire Councillor and also former teacher, the “ideal” of community control is to me fraught with danger. One can end up with a situation of Little Hitlers who think that they own the place and want to control things according their own ideas instead of consultation.

  64. Bacchus @11.04pm,

    Very true. I believe that we’ve touched on this one when we’ve been discussing asylum seekers and the value which they add to Australian society. It’s a different culture, where excellence is seen as an asset…again about expectations.

    I know from my crew that they often “dumbed down” as they didn’t want to seem different from their peers. We’re in a culture where it’s fine to get to school early for soccer practice, but you’re thought a bit weird if you arrive early to do an extra Unit in Mathematics.

  65. Min, any mother who had experience with Mothers Clubs would be shaking in their boots. P and C not much better.

  66. Silly me! I’ve spent many years tutoring mainly private school school students one-on-one in senior school Chemistry. If as Mr Pyne suggests class size doesn’t matter, then I could have been tutoring 50 at a time, raking in lots of extra money and still getting the same high quality outcomes!

  67. Trev, I actually think that you might tutor 50 kids and get the same high quality outcome.

    When I think about it, it’s not even about time although we of course always wish that we had more of that.

    As I’ve mentioned previously I spent about 5 years as a disability advocate for children with ADHD and Asperger’s, which included top profile cases with Anti-Discrimination NSW and HREOC. I think to myself, how could I have done it better. Ans: I don’t know. My case which I presented to Anti-Discrimination NSW was until that time the leading case.

    There was no precedence because until I launched this case with Anti-Discrimination NSW..NO ONE, and I do mean NO ONE, had challenged the NSW Dept of Education of what it meant to be Asperger’s.

    Until this time Asperger’s had been classified as either a mental illness or a learning difficulty.

    Like it or lump it, you lot with your secret emails calling me names such as nasty and manipulative, down grading me on this blog from Admin to author, banning me, bashing me, barring me, FB and Twitter, and bashing me yet again…TUFF, I’ll stand up to fight another day.. And now tell me that you haven’t….

    I did it and NO ONE can ever, ever take this away from me. I managed, all by little own self to have something called Aspgerger’s syndrome classified as a disability by the Dept of Education NSW. For those who do not know what it means, imagine a child being given assistance, imagine a child instead of being called a behaviour problem being recognised as having a disability.

    Imagine it..a child instead of having a behaviour problem is now said to have a disability. The very best moment of my life and thanks to bestest person Dr. Tony Attwood who stood by me all of the way.

  68. I know it is not for everyone, but the cloud of right wing stink that covers the public school system, is a big part of the reason why we home skool our children. School chaplains being particularly repulsive to us. My son is only nine years old, and he finds the year 7 level textbooks we got for him too easy and therefore boring. My daughter is now 12, and she has gone from being considered a weak reader in her school to reading the entire Harry Potter series, as well as many other books.
    Rather than holding our kids back, like schools do, we struggle to keep up with their sponge like brains.
    War is Over!

  69. metaboleus, great if you have the time and capacity for it. But remember there are other advantages to school, whether private or otherwise. My own family experience tells me that ultimately kids seem to need the give and take of rubbing shoulders with their peers. You coud have done for your daughter’s reading out of hours what you’ve achieved having her full time at home with you.

    As for the school chaplains their influence is minimal if your own strong values are inculcated at home. Even the odd 40 minutes boring RI lessons can be an opportunity for children to listen to someone they disagree with and begin to understand why, provided parents are getting feedback from kids about what they’re being exposed to.

    In other words time spent informing oneself about day to day happenings at school and being aware of shortcomings or deficiencies which need your time and energy to remedy
    should be enough to protect your children, while letting them have a fuller life experience than home schooling sometimes offers.

  70. Patricia, would not the money spent on school chaplains be better spent.

    On welfare workers that could work between the school and parents, to assist them in to support their children in their education. To strengthen the bond between parents and the school.

    As for IR classes, I have problems. Many are run with volunteers. Parents and I suspect the school have no idea of the context these people teach.

    In NSW, according to at least protocol, children do not attend IR classes are not allow to have any other classes while the IR classes are being taught.

    There is a trial programme of Ethics classes being an alternative. These are in danger of not being continued, owing to the pressure of the churches and right wing politicians.

    This is not right, especially when one looks at the present census results. Those not nominating any religion has grown.

    I cannot see why the churches cannot provide this education outside school hours and in their own premises.

  71. The school chaplaincy program is fraught with danger, that those with nothing other than a religious background are given the task of mentoring and counselling children. Some chaplains may have counselling or psychology qualifications, most do not.

    I disagree Patricia, home schooling has been shown to be highly successful. That is the usual argument against home schooling, the lack of opportunities to interact with peers. However, clearly anyone who has the gumption to tackle home schooling for their child/ren is also aware of this need. This need is easily met by involvement in sports, or Brownies and Scouts.

  72. Robbie, agree whole heartedly about school chaplains, but they exist and as parents we have to help our children be alert to what these people are saying. Not in the sense of debating, but simply having strong values of our own which they hold too and so become less vulnerable to religious propoganda.

    If you look at my comment again – I am not so much opposed to home schooling in itself, as concerned that some of the real advantages of social interaction with peers might be lost. Besides which so few of us have the time, resources or capacity to teach our children well at home.

    I really do think that greater involvement by families in their children’s school and schooling is probably going to produce the best results. It’s many decades since I taught and ran a school myself. So this is a general observation, but overall I think that children whose parents are actively involved in their education do much better whether in private or public schools. I know very little about home schooling so I wasn’t intending to attack those who have chosen it for their families. (As an aside, I’m not sure that the Scouts is a good supplement to home schooling by the way……….but there are hazards everywhere! The answer is not to avoid them, but to learn how to deal with them.)

  73. Patricia, strange days isn’t where we parents/teachers have to alert children as to School Chaplains. It doesn’t instil one with a great deal of confidence in these people.

    I agree that a school situation is the ideal one. I know from when I was last at Uni, the best learning occurred during lunch break..testing of ideas..asking others “What do you think about…”.

    But having said that, I home schooled son for one and a half years so that he could have his Year 10 Certificate. Son, also an Asperger’s could not cope with the thing which is High Drama for Aspies, that is social interaction, especially of the teenager variety. Son, straight as a dye simply did not get it when people were being sarcastic, this confused him a lot.

  74. Min, but you found the local schools giving your daughter a good education. It was the fact that the school give not have the necessary resources for your son, that forced you to take the action you did.

    Your experience proves that Mr. Pyne is not correct.

    That there are inequities within the system.

  75. Cu, it was more that the local school thought that my son was weird.. This is why male Aspies have such a hard time of things compared with female Aspies. It’s ok to be a little eccentric with unusual all pervasive interests when you’re a girl, and have a kooky sense of humour. Try the same thing on young male, and unless you’re very good at sport, you’re dead meat. Most male Aspies do the cover up thing via a sense of humour..and hopefully somewhere down the track meets someone who appreciates and can participate in their all pervasive interests.

    No actually my girls failed dismally at High School. Erin who is almost Doctor A* (doctor of science) only just scraped into Uni, but she quit Uni after 6 took her another couple of years work which included living on the dole and working in numerous waitressing jobs before she re-discovered her true passion, which is science.

  76. Frankly, I couldn’t think of anything worse than having to home school anyone. Booting the kids out of the house between 8.30 and 3.30, Monday-Friday was heaven.

    I guess that’s because almost from the time I entered the school gates, I knew with absolute certainty, that I had neither the patience nor the inclination to teach anyone anything.

    And I still don’t. If and when my kids cough up any children of their own, there will also be no cooking (another much loathed, boring, time consuming bit of drudgery) sessions with grandma.

    However, there will be lots of walks, reading, patting dogs and cats, roaring around in the fresh air, watching a bit of tele, cuddles and Sunday lie-ins in my bed.

  77. This means a higher paid workforce. It also means that we have to lift the education of all.

    Federal Skills Minister Chris Evans says low-skilled jobs are disappearing from the economy and the workforce will need to adapt quickly.

    A new government agency, launched on Thursday by the minister, will work with industry to lift the level of skills among Australia’s workforce.

    ‘We have enormous opportunities in Australia as a result of the growth in the economy,’ Senator Evans told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

    That economic growth would create enormous opportunities for people to move into high-skilled and well-paid jobs.

  78. Once had an english teacher who caught us smoking and decieded that we should pick the amount of caning we would receive.. first kid said “1”, Franksy said “right thats 6 for you… next kid said 6 hoping he would get 1, Franksy said “ok” 6 it is… then he got to me and I said 3….. Franksy said ” for being a smart arse your going to get 6″……. and I got six…. and I’ve still got a scar on my middle finger …. those were the days 😉 …..nothing like a good caning… I never got caught smoking again…… 😀

    Hi Min, *waves*

  79. Pyne Picks The Easy Target On Schools
    Jane Caro

    According to Christopher Pyne, the nation’s worst performing teachers all loiter around our most disadvantaged schools. What a coincidence! Jane Caro on why equity in education matters

    According to the shadow minister for education, Christopher Pyne, something remarkable is going on in Australia’s schools. Apparently, through some astonishing quirk, all the worst teachers have ended up in the schools with the kids from the most disadvantaged backgrounds!

    You won’t believe it, but the worst performing 10 per cent of students are not randomly drawn from across Australia’s schools but tend to be concentrated in mostly public schools in our most disadvantaged areas. Pyne blames their teachers, but is he right?

    Pyne argues that we don’t have an equity problem in our education system and that the socio-economic background of the family a child is born into doesn’t have a significant effect on their results at school. But the world over, the one thing education experts agree on is that socio-economic background is the best and most consistent predictor of success or otherwise at school


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s