|Posted on August 20, 2013 at 10:50 AM|
Kevin Donnelly has published a brilliant article in the Australian this weekend -
In the lead-up to the 2007 election Kevin Rudd promised us an education revolution.
Six years later the penny has finally dropped and the education establishment is admitting that our students, especially talented ones, underperform.
Our children are the victims of a cultural-left, lowest-common-denominator view of education.
Funding and resources are directed at the usual victim groups, in the mistaken belief such groups are always disadvantaged and that disadvantage is the main cause of students underperforming.
The needs of gifted children are ignored.
The reasons Australian students underperform and why standards have declined or flatlined are not hard to find.
Those responsible for the education system, including teacher educators, the Australian Education Union and subject associations such as the Australian Association for the Teaching of English, have long argued against competitive assessment, the rewarding of merit and a rigorous, academic curriculum.
The philosophy is an egalitarian one, where all achieve success and all are celebrated.
Cultural-left critics also argue that the traditional, academic curriculum, where not all can do as well, is elitist, socially unjust and guilty of reinforcing capitalist hierarchies.
Robina Cosser says : and they also argue that teachers who have better qualifications only have them because they are 'privileged' and that all teachers, two-year-trained, three-year-trained, degree-trained, post degree-trained, Master's degree trained, all should be paid the same.
Remember when the QTU gave away the extra pay for teachers with a Master's Degree in about 1990?
Remember the QTU president coming around Queensland schools and telling teachers that they only had a Master's degree in Education because they were privileged?
I certainly remember her telling me that at Cairns North State School.
No wonder most of our universities have bridging courses and remedial classes in basic algebra and essay writing.
In Singapore classes are streamed in terms of ability and students face high-risk tests and examinations.
Australian schools embrace mixed-ability classrooms.
It is impossible for teachers to cope with the range of students in the ability spectrum; more gifted students are ignored as teachers concentrate on those less able.
One needs only to see the consternation and public outpourings of recrimination when we lose to New Zealand in rugby or the English in cricket to appreciate the significance Australians place on success in sport.
The same intensity to win and to support and reward excellence needs to be given to our education system.
This is a really brilliant article. And at the same time it is simple common sense.
But unfortunately education in Queensland (and maybe in the rest of Australia) has long been based on 'beliefs' and 'philosophies' rather than common sense.
Read the article in full :
It's high time to foster meritocracy in education, Kevin Donnelly, The Australian, 17 August 2013 :