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Random Note #198,583 — Education funding
Interesting to see all the papers talking up the education reforms as a big win. Politically perhaps but as we’ve seen over the last fifteen or twenty years, unless the basics are addressed, i.e. teacher quality and the curriculum, nothing will change and we’ll still get our arse handed to us on a plate by Kazakhstan.
Basically what’s happened is that education, like so many other of the “our children and our children’s children” type issues have become an emotional political wedge.
Many particularly, but not exclusively, on the Green/Teachers Union/Left, see everything through the prism of the old social class struggle. Bosses vs workers. Capitalism vs socialism. It’s all about money. To these simple, feeble, minds money will solve all the problems.
In education “the science is settled” to borrow a phrase and  we know, after decades of bitter experience, for that not to be the case but they continue on undaunted. Just put more money on the table and that will fix the problem/s.
As Oscar Wilde mused in another context, “they know the price of everything but the value of nothing”.
As important as money is there are some things that money just can’t buy. The logic seems to be that of seeing the successful businessman driving a flash car. That’s all they see. They don’t metaphorically look under the bonnet to see how he came to be driving the flash car. Chances are that it was through work and application.
With education it’s not just teacher quality, class sizes and the facilities but also the home life and the parental examples. That’s not the problem of other taxpayers.
It used to be, so the activist experts told us that smaller class sizes and one on one teaching would be the answer. Class sizes of the 1950’s and 60’s were up in the mid 40’s but somehow the results were up with worlds best practice, to coin a cliche.
Then the activist experts told us that it was the curriculum that needed fixing and set about tinkering and replacing the likes of phonics with whole word. Now we have kids coming through after twelve years of taxpayer funded education requiring remedial lessons at university because they’re functionally illiterate, innumerate or both.
Here’s a hint as to what’s going on.
Before Joan Kirner was Premier of Victoria she was Education Minister. In a talk to the Fabian Society, Kirner argued that,
“..the education system had to be radically reshaped so that it was “part of the socialist struggle for equality, participation and social change rather than an instrument of the capitalist system..”
Then there was this giveaway nugget from the ABC web site in 2008 —
“A major task for Leftist activist academics is to connect education with community struggles for social justice,” says Dr Gregory Martin.
Martin was a lecturer in the School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus. Martin was also a member of the militant National Teachers Education Union and the Gold Coast branch of the radical Marxist group, Socialist Alliance sees education as a channel for conducting a Marxist revolution.
It’s not likely to happen but there’s a lot to be said for education vouchers whereby the government gives the money for their child or children directly to the parents by way of an education voucher allowing the parents to shop around for the public school of their choice and if they want to go private they then tip in the extra.