Topic: aust govt
In our view school league tables are Deputy PM Gillard's way of pushing her big business "choice" credentials in her overall campaign to be first female prime minister. Whether they have educational merit or not we leave to others, and there seems to be some compelling criticism of one size fits all type politicking.
The first hint of Gillard's pandering ambition was revealed when she adopted the McDonalds food chain 'M for maths' computer programme about a year ago.
Here's McDonalds leveraging a NSW public school reported previously on SAM here:
Criticisms of league tables are apparent from the US and UK experience, as per the clip from the respected The Wire HBO series season 3 above off youtube. Ken Boston similarly former NSW education chief on NSW stateline in 2009.
Gillard's pandering ambition is also revealed by the fact there are no web league tables for other professions proposed like doctors (GPs or specialists like surgeons) all highly subsidised by the taxpayer, or lawyers on legal aid subsidy.
The obvious answer is that a league table is nonsense in these cases because it doesn't relate to the clients of said doctor, surgeon or lawyer : Are they the tougher cases, the smokers, the quixotic legal crusades? The proverbial Charlie Teo brain surgeon who only takes the "hopeless" cases?
Same with children and schools each in their own unique socio economic circumstance? Which school is in a pollution plume? Which school has NESB?
Which school just had local steel factory close? Uranium mine just open up (proposed for Alice Springs)? One really does wonder.
Nor do we trust Gillard's ambition to address the inherent crudity in a league table.
What about league table on the web of politicians? Metrics like:
- how many constituents did you and your office meet (both)?
- how many concerns resolved?
- how many days did you attend sitting in parliament?
- how much payment of extras compared to other MPs?
and so on.
Don't hold your breath with this last example. It sure looks like appeasing big business wanting children churned out as the proverbial widgets with the 3 R's (reading writing arithmatic) and nothing else? Better to be kept in their socio economic place as factory fodder? A classic boomer control agenda of the younger generations?
Does the current diagnostic test of children test their ability to google? Probably a better measure of future learning capacity in the 21C?
Here is the Green Party media release here in NSW, we have just noticed after writing the above:
Gillard's website will damage all NSW schools
Media release: 26 January 2010
NSW Education Minister Verity Firth should revisit her decision to
hand over school test results after her federal colleague Julia
Gillard said that they could be used by parents to attack teachers.
Commenting on a story on page 1 of today's Sydney Morning Herald
('Tell off deficient teachers: Gillard',
http://tinyurl.com/smh100126), Dr Kaye said: "The years 3, 5, 7 and 9
literacy and numeracy tests were not designed to rank students, let
alone teachers or schools.
"The tests are crude measures of accomplishment in spelling, reading,
grammar and maths.
"The results say nothing of the quality of teaching in these areas or
achievements in the rest of education.
"The federal government's website will undermine confidence in schools
that have low scores, even though many of them are doing an excellent
"It will force teachers to sacrifice time spent on other important
curriculum areas to boost scores.
"Julia Gillard is apparently unaware of the realities of schools. She
is telling parents to attack teachers for low school scores, even
though the test is conducted in the first half of the year before many
teachers have had their full impact on a class.
"She apparently does not know that in many schools there are several
teachers in one grade year and that the test is a statistically
unsound measure of educational progress.
"State and territory ministers allowed their federal colleague to
indulge her obsession with name-and-shame websites and reducing
schools to a set of numbers.
"Handing over the state's school test results to the federal
government has pushed education to the brink of a crisis.
"NSW Education Minister Verity Firth should take a look carefully at
what she and her colleagues are about to do to schools, students and
communities," Dr Kaye said.