Wednesday, 22 November 2017
Thanks for the invite Luke.
This is just a copy of the report I’ll give on Monday’s forum to my school council.
At the end of the forum, Mary asked: ‘what is one thing you think the commonwealth government can do education if Labor is in government?’
One thing I’d like to see is for the Minister (Maybe at her first COAG meeting) to require the state and territory ministers to develop a strategic plan to deal with the widening gap between the opportunities and achievement of rural students compared to their metropolitan peers.
There is plenty of data , as you know, to prove the existence of the problem. (Minister Merlino only has to look at his own department’s data going back years or the 2014 Victorian Auditor General’s report)
They need to consult with rural stakeholders to identify the issues and source the solutions (the solutions are there but they are being implemented in a piecemeal, ad hoc fashion.) A systematic approach is needed. I think the states are looking for direction here (and some ‘carrots’ maybe from that $17 billion in additional funding) and would welcome national leadership on the issue. After hearing Bill and Tanya I’m sure they are the only ones who can deliver on this. Without their leadership, the gap/gulf I mentioned will continue to widen and the Melbourne Declaration will be noble but nonetheless empty promises.
Response from her office.
On behalf of Tanya, I wanted to thank you for your contribution to Monday’s Schools Forum.
Your passion for education and for your school community was very evident, and it was great to have such a strong advocate for rural education presenting to the larger audience.
Thanks also for sending through the summary report and your suggestion about a rural strategy. If you have any further thoughts or suggestions, please send them through at any time.
Once again, thanks so much for your participation.
Monday, 20 November 2017
Sunday, 19 November 2017
Evidence Equity and Excellence in Australian schools
national Schools Forum
Melbourne university 20/11/17
MC: Mary Delahunty ( ex Victorian Education Minister)
The forum was opened by James Merlino ( Victorian Education Minister) who talked about the achievements and long term ( 10 years) goals of the state government.
BIll Shorten ( Leader of the Opposition and leader of the ALP) spoke about his experience of education through his mother ( who was a teacher) and about making education the centrepiece of his future government's agenda. He recommitted to an extra $17 billion in education spending if Labor is elected. He also said that a Shorten Labor Government will be committed to ensuring that every school, every teacher and every principal has the resources they need to ensure that every child receives quality education. he spoke well and was very passionate in his support for teachers and the teaching profession.
The first panel ( which I was a member of ) spoke about updating the Melbourne Declaration. The consensus was that it contained worthy goals which we hadn't achieved. ( I made that point in my speech with an emphasis on the achievement gap between rural and metropolitan students and that there was a need for a strategic approach to closing that gap.) It was agreed that maybe the language of the declaration needs tweaking and that a concerted effort needs to be made to deliver on the goals.
The second panel looked at improving student outcomes. There was some consensus that standardised testing was not the answer ( Tanya Plibersek wouldn't commit to scrapping NAPLAN) the consensus was that a more holistic approach needs to be taken when determining student improvement and that personal growth should be central to that thinking.
The third panel discussed raising the status of teaching. The consensus was that teaching rather than teachers should improve, that attracting good teachers in remote areas was very difficult, that teacher training needs an overhaul and that possibly too many teachers are being churned out of universities.
The last panel discussed school leadership. Issues such as principals wanting to be instructional leaders if they had the chance, the burden of compliance and ‘administrivia’,the need to select the ‘right’ people to go into principal jobs ( not just the right applicant), the need for networking and flexibility at a school and system level in staffing and workforce planning. The comment was made that self governing practices in schools hadn't freed up school leaders to further develop innovative ideas around teaching and learning but had given them more mundane red tape roles to perform. The need for more administrative help for principals was acknowledged.Tanya seemed to agree with the panel that government needed to support ongoing training for principals due to the prohibitive cost of self-improvement. I also spoke at this session about pressures on teaching principals from the burden of the ‘one size fits all’ mentality and intransigence of education bureaucracy and gave a recent example.
Tanya Plibersek gave a summary, it was refreshing to see her and her colleagues stay for the entire forum and take notes. No commitments were given but she spoke sympathetically about many of the issues raised and spoke about how it was essential to see one year's growth every year from students.( There was an impressive cross section of education people at the forum including many from interstate)
From Tanya Plibersek
The Libs are in 5th yr of govt, but they have no national agreement on school funding or reform. A complete failure of leadership. Children, parents, + teachers deserve better. Where the Libs have failed, Labor will lead.
That’s why we held our National Schools Forum today.
I don't look convinced at what Merlino is saying.
Saturday, 18 November 2017
Link on TPT: