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The Forum > Article Comments > Championing education > Comments

Championing education : Comments

By Dale Spender, published 25/5/2007

Countering the critics: let's face it, even Shakespeare could have usefully used a spell checker!

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Ah Dale - once again the provider of an alternative viewpoint. I was so pleased to read this article.

It has always mystified me why the most vocal outcries in the education debate come, in the main, from those who don't have kids in school. Phrases like "I'm concerned for my grandchildren's future", "To-day's students SEEM to...." "We've all heard that..." "It's common knowledge that...." seem to preface many of the remarks that constitute the "public outcry".

What mystifies me even further is that many of these irate, blustering and vehement comments are couched in terms which would have any teacher - from "the good 'ole days" to the present - wincing and reaching metaphorically for their red pencils. Outrageous syntax, complete disregard for the basics of punctuation, total ignorance of grammatical construction, spelling which renders the comments sometimes unconsciously hilarious and which sometimes horrifies - and limited vocabularies in which to couch the whole thing.

Yet these are the voices of those who protest the loudest at to-days teacher's, students and educational standards. Makes yer fink, dunnit?
Posted by Romany, Friday, 25 May 2007 11:19:44 AM
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The rort that the Howard Government is perpetrating on the 63% of Australians who by necessity or choice send their kids to public schools must be exposed.

Between 2004 and 2008 the Feds will spend 7.6 billion on the 13% of kids who attend the non-systemic independent schools. Thatís fewer than 500000 kids; over this same period Howard will spend 7.2 billion on the 2.25 million kids that attend public schools. Of that 500,000 students 27% attend schools where the tuition fees alone exceed the average resources provided by governments to public school kids.

The $370 million p.a Federal funding to these schools raised their total resources to 62% above the average public schoolís resources. 55% of students in these independent schools attend a school where the average resource level per student is higher than that of the average government school.

In general today all students in non government schools get 51% of their funding from government grants both state and federal without the accountability that is required of government schools.

Because the federal government raises the lions share of all Australian government revenue it can easily keep increasing its funding to non government schools. Because the states bear the brunt of expenditures health, education transport etc, it is difficult to expand the education budget at the expense of others.
The rort and Howardís lie is that the Fedís say they will increase funding to government schools in line with the states increases. The blame for under-funding public schools is sweetly passed on to the states; Howard is using Federalism in a manner that was never intended in order to shift public money to a private system in yet another portfolio. Meanwhile the majority of Australian kids suffer
Posted by thinks4self, Friday, 25 May 2007 12:06:33 PM
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thinksthinks4self: i bet you voted for a politician. this is what happens. are you going to vote for another politician? probably. will it help? not much.
Posted by DEMOS, Friday, 25 May 2007 12:46:44 PM
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Demos I'd hoped we might move the debate on a little
so that even those who most benefit from Howard's largess
may see what this is doing to the fabric of our society
Posted by thinks4self, Friday, 25 May 2007 1:44:38 PM
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Too true Dale Spender. Except for one little point.

The newspapers do support your arguments, just not in the opinion pages. Take a look at the job vacancies instead.

Must have experience in Word, Excel, MYOB. Good research skills. Ability to think outside the square. Team player.

Can't say I recall seeing an ad for good knowledge of Shakespeare, but I might not have been looking.
Posted by chainsmoker, Friday, 25 May 2007 2:56:35 PM
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- 15.3% of Australian boys lack the literacy skills to benefit sufficiently from their education opportunities, compared with just 8.7% of girls.

- 69% of 15-year-old girls scored at or above the OECD mean in reading literacy tests, compared with 55.4% of males.

- Between 1975 and 1995 the proportion of 14-year-old male students who demonstrated mastery on reading tests declined from 70% to 66%, while the corresponding proportion of female students changed little, from 73% to 74%.

http://www.dest.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/E635D70E-EB9D-4168-A382-3A2D093CEB34/4589/educating_boys.pdf

But none of this is a reason for panic. We should be waiting until it gets to 30% of boys and 15% of girls.

In the meantime, students should be improving their literacy skills by watching more commercial TV.
Posted by HRS, Friday, 25 May 2007 5:36:17 PM
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