Cuts still looming
The Easter holidays arrived with a high level of uncertainty for teachers, school administrators, parents and workers in state and federal bureaucracies.
The Abbott Government was elected with a last-minute promise to not cut any funding for the Gonski Report (which aimed at redirecting school funding to areas of greatest need). Compromises extracted by the private school interests then caused costs to blow out.
The Abbott-Hockey 2014 budget bit into the recommended levels for 2017 and beyond, rejected in the Senate, but still being factored in as if they will really happen. Now we have Prime Minister Turnbull and his Treasurer Morrison offering mixed message.
How do we deal with inequality in the school system?
A major report from the Grattan Institute on levels of inequality between school in resourcing and student achievement The title sums it up: The Gap is Widening’.
The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) under scrutiny
In more mooted changes, we have seen a national discussion about improving the measurement of student performance. Many Australian vice-chancellors have urged for the university admission system Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) to be scrapped, saying it’s “meaningless” and “too simplistic”. The Conversation spoke to experts from across the sector to debate how best to select students.
Meanwhile Queensland adopts the ATAR
In Queensland, changes to achievement measurement at the end of Year 12, and tertiary entrance, were first mooted by the LNP’s Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek,
They are now being implemented by the Palaszczuk Government. Year 11 class of 2018 will be among the first to phase through the new system, which will move Queensland away from its Overall Position (OP) score and Core Skills Test. Instead, students will face external exams and receive an Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) in line with students across the rest of the nation. While OPs scored students between 1 and 25, the ATAR scores between 99.95 and zero – the higher the number, the better the result.
An Easter message from David Leyonhjelm
The cost of the School Chaplaincy program has been drawn to public attention Senator Leyonhjelm, who suggested that while Christianity has made a significant contribution to liberal democratic values, taxpayers should not have to pick up the tab. “It is a private matter,” he said.
The Guardian Australia reportsc critics of the School Chaplaincy program hopes Malcolm Turnbull will scrap the program as part of his savings drive “…but that appears unlikely given his apparent reluctance to anger his party’s Christian conservatives.”
Are students being caned in Queensland schools?
Roger Sott muses on the decision to prohibit corporal punishment in Queensland schools (taken in 1992 when he was Director General of Queensland Education) and wonders when it will finally happen.