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The Forum > Article Comments > A few good ideas > Comments

A few good ideas : Comments

By Peter West, published 11/3/2008

Kevin Rudd's 2020 summit: some modest proposals for making improvements to Australian life.

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Can't oppose any of those good ideas.

However, the education debate is always couched in terms of failures of the teaching profession and education institutions. The reality is that huge efforts are made by educators to improve education curricula and teachers are amongst the most dedicated of workers in our nation.

The real problem for education is that our schools expected to remediate social breakdown and dysfunction that is principally caused by modern lifestyles and technology.

There was a time when all teachers had to think about was the 3 Rs. In this modern age they have to contend with bullying, obesity / health programs, children whose parents are grossly dysfunctional (owing to drug addiction etc), children who are themselves dysfunctional (because they spend so much time immersed in entertainment technology), and growing numbers of ADHD children. This in addition to many other essential new curriculum needs such as environmental sustainability.

When both parents, whether through need or greed, work full time, too often they outsource the child's social development onto schools, many children even turning up to school having eaten no breakfast - let alone not being read to or experiencing any other quality time with their parents.

We can throw as much money as we like at schooling, but we simply can not expect schools to overcome chronic social breakdown in wider society. That has to be recognised as a separate issue and dealt with via a range of policy measures.

Basically our culture has become so obsessed with consumption of goodies that the most important things in life - our children at the top of that list - are being relinquished or degraded. This problem goes to the core of our culture. We shouldn't blame the education system for this failure, or even try to buy our way out of it by merely throwing more money at schools.

(I hasten to add that increased funding of schools is highly desirable - but, for our children's sake, do it for the right purposes.)

I expect the author would agree with these sentiments.
Posted by gecko, Tuesday, 11 March 2008 11:27:36 AM
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Generally great ideas for Rudd's 2020 summit except for the bit about water tanks. We don't need any more water tanks we need less, so that the rain that falls actually goes into the water supplies and is not held in storage in people's backyards. There has been some rain in the Central West but dam levels are not increasing possibly because the water is stored by people installing ever increasing sized water tanks. Ban water tanks and let the water flow into creeks and rivers where it should have been going all along.
Posted by Babel, Wednesday, 12 March 2008 2:03:32 PM
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Don't mean to oppose you but! under Howard millions were wasted on “the fight against terror”.
I doubt that you can defeat such a radical group of people.
What the millions have done is educate the population and increase our awareness of terrorism. Has worked for me!
10 years ago if you were on a city bus and a person with a towel on their head and a backpack hoped on you would think nothing, today you would most likely get off at the next stop and catch the next bus.
Just ‘Google it’
A recent study has shown that kids today don’t need the wealth of knowledge of yesteryear because if they wish to know something they just ‘Google it’.

It’s all about the shareholders and that’s it. Ratings is what drives the industry, which make the profits, which feeds the shareholders. Without the popular shows you have no rating, no interest and the shareholders dump the stock. Sad but true.

One useful idea would be to increase the compulsory super levy, perhaps means-tested.
As an employer I get frustrated paying 9% super knowing that in most cases the employee contributes nil.

I think the levy should be raised to 12%, on a dollar for dollar contribution basis whereby the employer matches every dollar the employee puts away for super up to and including 12%.

This way the employees who care for their future can have up to 24% of their earnings in super while the ones who don’t give a toss get zero.

Australians waste too much on drink and gambling.

Couldn’t agree more. Everyone knew pokies were a bad thing. Pubs and clubs now rely on them for their very survival. Even the sate governments. I think the solution is to increase the government levy on gambling and alcohol at clubs to ridiculous levels. I also think anyone seeking medical help for any illness related to these areas should pay ‘full freight’. Why should I continue to subsidise these fools.

I would suggest less than .001% of rainfall is caught in domestic tanks
Posted by rehctub, Thursday, 13 March 2008 1:31:56 PM
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