School Flagpole Farce

Remember Brendan Nelson’s edict that every school in Australia should have functioning flagpole and fly the Australian flag? It was part of the Government’s plan to promote Australian values and patriotism.

It also had a Government self-promotion component. As a condition of receiving Federal funding for flagpoles, schools were required to invite a coalition MP to a flag-unveiling ceremony, publish a picture of the MP in the school newsletter, and erect a plaque acknowledging that it was a gift from the Government.

Well, apparently Government MPs haven’t been turning up to the ceremonies and this has meant that many schools have been unable to meet the conditions for Federal funding. It seems that some Government members are not as committed to public patriotism as their leaders would wish. Continue reading “School Flagpole Farce”

You Have A Choice…Do As I Say

Julie Bishop’s ultimatum that the ACT introduce external Year 12 exams exposes the hypocrisy of the Howard Government’s education policy.

Despite its rhetoric of choice in education as being fundamental to respecting different needs, it readily over-rules the choices of parents, teachers and students where it suits Government prejudices and interests. Continue reading “You Have A Choice…Do As I Say”

Cheating to Improve School Results is Rampant

Publishing school results does not necessarily lead to real improvements in school performance, whatever the Howard Government and the Labor Opposition may argue. The desire to achieve a high ranking and enhance a school’s reputation often leads to cheating and other ways of manipulating school results. Continue reading “Cheating to Improve School Results is Rampant”

Labor Backs School League Tables

Whatever Government is in power next year, we can expect to be treated to an annual public hunt for the worst schools in Australia.

The Federal ALP has joined forces with the Howard Government’s plan for a ‘crime and punishment’ approach to school improvement. The Shadow Minister for Education, Stephen Smith, says that a Federal Labor Government will ensure that state governments publish school literacy and numeracy results. Continue reading “Labor Backs School League Tables”

Consultations on Future Uses of Closed School Sites

The Minister for Territories and Municipal Services, John Hargreaves, has announced a two-stage community consultation process on the future use of schools and pre-schools closed at the end of last year.

Primary schools in Flynn, Hall, Chifley (Melrose), Mt. Neighbour, Rivett, Tharwa and Weston closed at the end of 2006. Also included in the consultation process are two former primary school sites in Downer and North Curtin. Continue reading “Consultations on Future Uses of Closed School Sites”

School Closures Undermine Public Education

The decision of the Stanhope Government to close 12 primary schools and partially close four others has major implications for the future of public education in the ACT.

While the reprieve for 4 schools is welcome, the announcement is the most devastating attack on a public education system since the Kennett Government in Victoria in the 1990s. Continue reading “School Closures Undermine Public Education”

Govt. Has Failed to Substantiate the Case for School Closures

The Save Our Schools submission on Towards 2020 rejects the Government’s plan to close schools. It shows that the Government has failed to substantiate its case on educational, financial or demographic grounds.

Towards 2020 constitutes a major threat to the future of public education in the ACT. It will remove easy geographical access to public education for a large number of families. Low income and Indigenous families will bear much of the burden of school closures. It threatens greater inequity in education rather than improved equity as the Government claims.

The submission says there is an alternative to school closures. Excess space in schools should be seen as an opportunity to develop a community school model that will improve education and other services for those most in need. Continue reading “Govt. Has Failed to Substantiate the Case for School Closures”