Tuesday, 31 January 2017

First day back for kids

Today was the kid's first day back. They all made it back, some later than others but all seemingly happy and excited to be there. They sorted out the pupil requisites provided for them and had a relatively easy day back ( except for a few tests) 

Meanwhile out Prime Minister showed his ignorance about state school funding by claiming that his lying government has presided over record growth in funding to schools. Truth is: increases pre-gonski are tiny and not based on need. Refer to the graphic below.

The ideal school lunch?

Having been a teacher for 3 thousand years I've seen my fair share of weird and wonderful school lunches.... jelly crystals sandwiches, large bags of 'burger rings' washed down with big bottles of coke....etc! Kids are funny creatures and most seem to be 'allergic' to healthy lunch food. The ongoing fad of hydration at all costs is a good one providing it's just water. Keeping quality lunches fresh is always an issue. 
At Glen Park we have the advantage of children having access to our kitchen so they can use the microwave and keep food fresh and tasty in the fridge. The children can also keep their water bottles on their desk and keep healthy ( fruit, nuts) food on their desks to munch on.

A child nutrition expert has revealed the formula for the ‘perfect’ back-to-school sandwich.
Paediatric nutritionist Mandy Sacher said parents can make a variety of healthy sandwiches for their children’s school lunches by sticking to the formula that aims to ensure kids receive the ideal ratio of nutrients from their sandwich.
She said the meal should include two slices of wholegrain or sourdough bread, one type of protein, one healthy fat and two to three vegetables.
According to Ms Sacher, most sandwiches for children lack the right amount of protein – which can have a detrimental effect on their concentration and energy levels.

Lunchboxes can also be high in sugary food, which has a negative impact on weight and health.
She said her ratio contains the right combination of slow-release wholegrain to stabilise blood sugar levels as well as healthy fats to increase satiety and boost concentration levels.
Including several vegetables, which are high in fibre, as well as vitamins and minerals, will help kids to maintain a healthy immune system.

And the beauty of the formula is that it can be used to create a number of combinations to satisfy the tastebuds of even the pickiest of eaters – and can easily be adapted to take dietary requirements and allergies into consideration.
Ms Sacher worked with ALDI Australia to come up with the formula – and applied it to create several versions of the ‘perfect’ sandwich – in a bid to help parents come up with school lunch options that are healthy and affordable.

Paediatric nutritionist Mandy Sacher said parents can make a variety of healthy sandwiches for their children’s school lunches by sticking to the formula
They include a new take on the traditional chicken sandwich, which contains two slices of wholegrain or sourdough bread, chicken cooked to preference, unsalted butter or avocado and lettuce, tomato and cucumber.

‘Children at school ages are in a key developing stage of their life, so it’s vital that we provide them with all the nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy,’ the mother-of-two said.
‘This includes proteins, healthy fats, vegetables and grains, which should be part of children’s daily diet.
‘Our sandwich formula reveals the food groups and quantities that should be included in a sandwich for children, rather than specific ingredients, allowing parents to tailor it according to every child’s tastes, dietary needs, and make healthy sandwiches.’
She added that the misconception that food that is healthy must also be expensive is what led her to partner with the supermarket.  

@MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Bullying data

As thousands of young people head back to school for 2017, parents, teachers and students are being urged to call out bullying and "act early" when they see it.

The message from mental health service ReachOut came after it released a survey of 14 to 25-year-olds showing one in four had been a victim of bullying in the past 12 months. 

It also found the highest incidence of bullying occurred at school — 52 per cent — followed by the online space with 25 per cent, and the workplace at 25 per cent.

ReachOut chief executive Jono Nicholas said more needed to be done to break down the stigma of being a bullying victim, given the survey found only half of those affected spoke out and sought help.

"We know this is a really big concern for young people and their parents," he said.


Mr Nicholas said the best way to deal with bullying was to tackle it quickly and head-on.

He acknowledged it was usually difficult for victims to overcome their fears and take that first step, but urged them to do so anyway.

"Often people hope that it will go away, hope that if they're quiet it will magically change," he said.

"The most important thing to do is to act early."

Mr Nicholas said people should first try to remove themselves from the situation, but if that did not work, then speak to somebody.

"One of the things we're saying to parents is, they should go into those conversations saying, 'We want this resolved'."

Private school costs and Birmingham's phonics test.

Story from today's Guardian

Two former school principals Chris Bonnor and Bernie Shepherd have said private schools are rapidly becoming public schools, based on the amount of public funding they receive.

Bonnor and Shepherd, authors of a school funding analysis Uneven Playing Field – the state of Australia’s schools, said the argument that subsidising private schools to save public funds was questionable.

Writing in Guardian Australia, Bonnor and Shepherd have said that for all but the wealthiest schools, fees are now the “icing on the cake”. 

“The public funding of private schools has risen to the level where the running costs of most private schools are now substantially met by combined state and federal funding,” Bonnor and Shepherd write.

“If a private school is defined by who pays, then they are rapidly becoming public. They still collect fees, a hangover from when they needed the money to match the investment in public schools.

“But for all but the wealthiest schools the fee income seems to be icing on the cake. When we realise that schools enrolling similar students churn out similar results, it becomes harder to justify the icing – especially when governments are such big partners.”

The federal government has yet to reveal a school funding plan for what was to have been years five and six of Gonski funding plan, after Tony Abbott broke a promise to fund schools at the same level as Labor.

The education minister, Simon Birmingham, has committed to have a school funding plan ready for the April Council of Australian Governments (Coag) meeting.

While Birmingham has committed the government to the concept of needs-based funding at the heart of the Gonski reforms, he has also said that more funding would not solve the decline in educational standards in Australian schools.

On Sunday the minister announced a panel of principals, teachers, speech specialists, academics and researchers to implement the year 1 national phonics and numeracy checks – announced before the last election.

The panel will advise the Coalition on a pilot assessment and determine the frequency, timing and core skills to be tested. 

“This panel will also consider existing examples from Australia and overseas, such as the year 1 phonics check used in England that involves children verbally identifying letters and sounds in both real words and made up words to show a child’s understanding of how language works,” Birmingham said.

Labor’s deputy leader, Tanya Plibersek, said the new phonics testing would not make up for the cuts to the Gonski progam.

“The simple fact is that the Liberals are saying they want a new test to identify kids who are falling behind, but they don’t want to properly fund the one-on-one teaching that would help those kids catch up,” Plibersek said.

The president of the Australian Education Union, Correna Haythorpe, said the minister’s announcement was a distraction from the real issue of the funding agreement, which needed to be completed in the first half of the year.

Australian schools require the funding to be finalised for the 2018 school year.

Haythorpe said the Coalition’s announcement suggested schools were not already identifying phonics gaps, nor teaching phonics.

“Phonics are already amongst a range of programs used by teachers,” Haythorpe said. “We must remember children have individual learning needs and for the minister to re-announce plans to test six-year-olds in absence of committing to fund schools is walking away from the fundamental issue.”


Julia Gillard: Gonski reforms shifted debate towards needs-based funding

Former prime minister made a companion of the Order of Australia for service to Australian parliament

Read more

The Queensland education minister, Kate Jones, said the lack of details about the year 1 test was troubling.

“All Simon Birmingham had to do is do his homework and he would know that phonics is part of the Australian curriculum,” Jones said.

“[Phonics] is being taught in our schools and I’m confident that our teachers are doing it well.”

One of the biggest critics of the federal Coalition’s reversal on Gonski schools funding, Adrian Piccoli, was dumped as education minister in the NSW premier Glady Berejiklian’s cabinet reshuffle on Sunday.

Piccoli drew widespread praise for his six years as minister after the reshuffle.



I wish these were Tintin books!

First day back for teachers

First day back for Victorian teachers today. Kids come tomorrow. I got some more tidying up done and I even cleaned the windows in and out. 
Fresh fruit for tomorrow 
Window cleaning gear!

Saturday, 28 January 2017

NSW lurches to the right on education

The LNP Government in NSW has decimated the TAFE sector and therefore deserves the ire of those who believe in free, secular and accessible education but I will give credit where it is due. They have fought hard....very hard on Gonski and the removal of their outspoken education minister by their new premier heralds a hard lurch to the right on education in that state more in line with the Federal government Luddite approach to state education. Bad news for NSW and for Gonski reform.... for the next few years anyway.
The story below is an extract from today's Guardian

The New South Wales education minister, Adrian Piccoli, is set to be axed by New South Wales premier, Gladys Berejiklian, in a cabinet reshuffle this morning.

The long-serving roads minister, Duncan Gay, is also set to lose his job in the new-look cabinet.
NSW health minister Jillian Skinner announces retirement from politics

The loss of Piccoli is likely to anger the education sector. Piccoli was widely respected as a talented and knowledgable education minister, one who strongly supported needs-based funding and engaged closely with stakeholders.

He became known as a stronger backer of Gonski, a policy also championed by his new boss, Berejiklian.

Piccoli’s axing prompted an outpouring of support from the sector on Sunday.

The challenges of Ed Tech

From The Tech Edvocate Blog

Walk into a classroom today, and you are going to see more gadgets than ever before. Gone are the days when a fancy calculator impressed you and having a computer in the room was a big deal. These days most students have an iPad, a Chromebook, or some other piece of technology at their fingertips. There are thousands and thousands of educational apps that attempt to make learning more engaging. Virtual classrooms are no longer something talked about in theory; they are now used all across the globe.

But how much is too much? Do we have an EdTech problem, or is it a part of the solution to education?

Let’s examine the pros and cons and see if we can come out with a clear answer. First, the pros. The list of pros is lengthy. Educational technology provides students and teachers with resources that were once scarce. In years past, in order for a student to get a quality education, they would have to be lucky enough to have an incredible teacher. In order for a teacher to do the best job they could, they would have had to work in a district that allowed them access to professional development and quality resources. EdTech has taken the scarcity aspect of education and made it more than abundant. Information and technology is everywhere if a student or teacher tries to find it.

Along with creating better access, EdTech has made many parts of education more effective and efficient. Efficiency is the entire purpose of technology in the first place. It takes a task that once was difficult, and provides an easier way to do it. For a simple example, we can look to the calculator. A piece of EdTech that most probably take for granted at this point, but it’s technology all the same. Before the calculator came around, students would have to spend quality time working through arithmetic calculations. As students moved into a course like Algebra or Calculus, the mathematics was piled on top of the conceptual math being done as well.

When the calculator came into play, the arithmetic could be done in the pressing of a few buttons. Today’s calculators can compute numbers, graph functions, and create regressions from statistical data. With each new wave of calculator technology, its features have made the world of math more and more efficient for students.

The same can be said for every other piece of EdTech. Every time something new makes its way into the classroom, it should make processes faster and easier to understand.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are certainly some adverse consequences to too much EdTech. The more technology that makes its way into the classroom, the less the teacher can put their authentic touch on their work. Teachers have a craft for bringing subjects to life in ways that some technology can’t. If a classroom is too reliant on the latest app or gadget to lead the instruction, the experience will become far less personal. A teacher’s personality is an important part of any classroom, so if the technology is used, it’s important that it meshes with the authentic delivery of the teacher.

Another downfall of EdTech is that it can overwhelm both students and educators due to the quick change of pace from one thing to the next. Once a teacher integrates something into the classroom, it’s going to take a while for everyone to get used to how it works and what its purpose is. Over the course of a year or two, the teacher can work the kinks out and begin to master the EdTech product, but by then it’s probably obsolete. Along with a teacher’s struggle in keeping up with the new wave, students will have a hard time learning with abrupt change happening every few years. It’s hard enough to learn the content in the classroom, but with EdTech products that are always changing, a student can fall behind in a big way.

EdTech is probably more gift than a curse, but it certainly isn’t just one or the other. It has brought plenty of positive change classrooms across the globe and will continue to do so moving forward. What needs to be considered, though, is how to integrate technology while keeping an authentic classroom experience. If classrooms lose their warmth and environment of learning, the continuing surge of EdTech will all be for nothing.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Critical thinking

All the more important in a post Trump world.....and with Turnbull and May!

History of Education

An interesting piece ( a bit long for a blog?) by Audrey Matters from Hackededucation .com ( 2015) about the history of education in response to a lecture by Khan Academy’s Sal Khan. 

“What do I mean when I talk about transformational productivity reforms that can also boost student outcomes? Our K–12 system largely still adheres to the century-old, industrial-age factory model of education. A century ago, maybe it made sense to adopt seat-time requirements for graduation and pay teachers based on their educational credentials and seniority. Educators were right to fear the large class sizes that prevailed in many schools. But the factory model of education is the wrong model for the 21st century.” – US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (2010)
One of the most common ways to criticize our current system of education is to suggest that it’s based on a “factory model.” An alternative condemnation: “industrial era.” The implication is the same: schools are woefully outmoded.

Hats hanging up outside a small rural school in Queensland early 1900s.

As edX CEO Anant Agarwal puts it, “It is pathetic that the education system has not changed in hundreds of years.” The Clayton Christensen Institute’s Michael Horn and Meg Evan argue something similar: “a factory model for schools no longer works.” “How to Break Free of Our 19th-Century Factory-Model Education System,” advises Joel Rose, the co-founder of the New Classrooms Innovation Partners. Education Next’s Joanne Jacobs points us “Beyond the Factory Model.” “The single best idea for reforming K–12 education,” writes Forbes contributor Steve Denning, ending the “factory model of management.” “There’s Nothing Especially Educational About Factory-Style Management,” according to the American Enterprise Institute’s Rick Hess.
I’d like to add: there’s nothing especially historical about these diagnoses either.

Blame the Prussians

The “factory model of education” is invoked as shorthand for the flaws in today’s schools – flaws that can be addressed by new technologies or by new policies, depending on who’s telling the story. The “factory model” is also shorthand for the history of public education itself – the development of and change in the school system (or – purportedly – the lack thereof).
Here’s one version of events offered by Khan Academy’s Sal Khan along with Forbes’ writer Michael Noer – “the history of education”:

Khan’s story bears many of the markers of the invented history of the “factory model of education” – buckets, assembly lines, age-based cohorts, whole class instruction, standardization, Prussia, Horace Mann, and a system that has not changed in 120 years.
There are several errors and omissions in Khan’s history. (In his defense, it’s only eleven and a half minutes long.) There were laws on the books in Colonial America, for example, demanding children be educated (although not that schools be established). There was free public education in the US too prior to Horace Mann’s introduction of the “Prussian model” – the so-called “charity schools.” There were other, competing models for arranging classrooms and instruction as well, notably the “monitorial system” (more on that below). Textbook companies were already thriving before Horace Mann or the Committee of Ten came along to decide what should be part of the curriculum. One of the side-effects of the efforts of Mann and others to create a public education system, unmentioned by Khan, was the establishment of “normal schools” where teachers were trained. Another was the requirement that, in order to demonstrate accountability, schools maintain records on attendance, salaries, and other expenditures. Despite Khan’s assertions about the triumph of standardization, control of public schools in the US have, unlike in Prussia, remained largely decentralized – in the hands of states and local districts rather than the federal government.
The standardization of public education into a “factory model” – hell, the whole history of education itself – was nowhere as smooth or coherent as Khan’s simple timeline would suggest. There were vast differences between public education in Mann’s home state of Massachusetts and in the rest of the country – in the South before and after the Civil War no doubt, as in the expanding West. And there have always been objections from multiple quarters, particularly from religious groups, to the shape that schooling has taken.

Arguments over what public education should look like and what purpose public education should serve – God, country, community, the economy, the self – are not new. These battles have persisted – frequently with handwringing about education’s ongoing failures – and as such, they have shaped and yes changed, what happens in schools.

The Industrial Era School

Sal Khan is hardly the only one who tells a story of “the factory of model of education” that posits the United States adopted Prussia’s school system in order to create a compliant populace. It’s a story cited by homeschoolers and by libertarians. It's a story featured in one of Sir Ken Robinson's TED Talks. It’s a story told by John Taylor Gatto in his 2009 book Weapons of Mass Instruction. It’s a story echoed by The New York Times’ David Brooks. Here he is in 2012: “The American education model…was actually copied from the 18th-century Prussian model designed to create docile subjects and factory workers.”
For what it’s worth, Prussia was not highly industrialized when Frederick the Great formalized its education system in the late 1700s. (Very few places in the world were back then.) Training future factory workers, docile or not, was not really the point.
Nevertheless industrialization is often touted as both the model and the rationale for the public education system past and present. And by extension, it’s part of a narrative that now contends that schools are no longer equipped to address the needs of a post-industrial world.

Perhaps the best known and most influential example of this argument comes from Alvin Toffler who decried the “Industrial Era School” in his 1970 book Future Shock:
Mass education was the ingenious machine constructed by industrialism to produce the kind of adults it needed. The problem was inordinately complex. How to pre-adapt children for a new world – a world of repetitive indoor toil, smoke, noise, machines, crowded living conditions, collective discipline, a world in which time was to be regulated not by the cycle of sun and moon, but by the factory whistle and the clock.

The solution was an educational system that, in its very structure, simulated this new world. This system did not emerge instantly. Even today it retains throw-back elements from pre-industrial society. Yet the whole idea of assembling masses of students (raw material) to be processed by teachers (workers) in a centrally located school (factory) was a stroke of industrial genius. The whole administrative hierarchy of education, as it grew up, followed the model of industrial bureaucracy. The very organization of knowledge into permanent disciplines was grounded on industrial assumptions. Children marched from place to place and sat in assigned stations. Bells rang to announce changes of time.

The inner life of the school thus became an anticipatory mirror, a perfect introduction to industrial society. The most criticized features of education today – the regimentation, lack of individualization, the rigid systems of seating, grouping, grading and marking, the authoritarian role of the teacher – are precisely those that made mass public education so effective an instrument of adaptation for its place and time.
Despite these accounts offered by Toffler, Brooks, Khan, Gatto, and others, the history of schools doesn’t map so neatly onto the history of factories (and visa versa). As education historian Sherman Dorn has argued, “it makes no sense to talk about either ‘the industrial era’ or the development of public school systems as a single, coherent phase of national history.”
If you think industrialization is the shift of large portions of working people to wage-labor, or the division of labor (away from master-craft production), then the early nineteenth century is your era of early industrialization, associated closely with extensive urbanization (in both towns and large cities) and such high-expectations transportation projects as the Erie Canal or the Cumberland Road project (as well as other more mundane and local transportation improvements). That is the era of tremendous experimentation in the forms of schools, from legacy one-room village schools in the hinterlands to giant monitorial schools in cities to academies and normal schools and colleges and the earliest high schools in various places. It is the era of charity schools in cities and the earliest (and incomplete) state subsidies to education, a period when many states had subsidies to what we would call private or parochial schools. It is also the start of the common-school reform era, the era when both workers and common-school reformers began to talk about schooling as a right attached to citizenship, and the era when primary schooling in the North became coeducational almost everywhere. It was an era of mass-produced textbooks. It was an era when rote learning was highly valued in school, despite arguments against the same. And, yes, the first compulsory-school law was passed before the Civil War… but it was not enforced.

Maybe you think industrialization is the development of railroads, monopolies, national general strikes, metastasizing metropolises, and mechanized production. Then you mean the second half of the nineteenth century, and that is the era where the structural dreams of common-school reformers largely came to pass with tuition-free schooling spreading in the North, the slow victory of high schools over academies, more (unenforced) compulsory school laws, a pan-Protestant flavor to schooling without official religious education, the initial development of a parallel Catholic parochial school system when Catholic leaders became convinced the public schools were hostile to their interests, the first research-oriented universities, a broad diversity of languages of instruction through the Midwest and south to Texas, the development of extensive age-graded self-contained elementary classrooms in urban school systems, the bureaucratization of many such systems, the (contentious) development of public schooling in the South, and the era when segregation laws were written at the tail end of the 19th century. It was also an era of mass-produced textbooks, and an era when rote learning was highly valued in school, despite arguments against the same.

Or maybe you think industrialization was assembly-line factories, private-worker unionization supported by federal law, the maturation of marketing techniques and the growth of a consumer economy, major economic crises, the introduction of cars and trucks, the mechanization of agriculture, and brutal, mechanized wars. Then you’re talking about the first half of the twentieth century. That was an era of rural-school consolidation forced by states, continued racial segregation, efforts to Americanize immigrant children and force them to speak English only in schools, the first legal successes in undermining segregation, the growth of (mostly small) high schools across the U.S. and tracking within those schools, the growth of standardized testing for local administrative purposes (including tracking), the evolution of normal schools into teachers colleges, and the slow separation of higher education into secondary and tertiary levels. It was the era when several regions of the country first experienced a majority of teenagers graduating from high school. It was also an era of mass-produced textbooks, and an era when rote learning was highly valued in school, despite arguments against the same. It was an era when compulsory school laws were finally enforced at selective ages, when child-labor opponents first failed and then succeeded at efforts to limit child labor by legislation… aided significantly by the Great Depression and the mechanization of agriculture, as teenagers found fewer opportunities for full-time work.

As Dorn notes, phrases like “the industrial model of education,” “the factory model of education,” and “the Prussian model of education” are used as a “rhetorical foil” in order make a particular political point – not so much to explain the history of education, as to try to shape its future.
What Do Factories Look Like?

It’s tempting to say that those who argue that today’s schools are fashioned on nineteenth century factories have never read much about the Industrial Revolution. (Frederick Engels’ The Condition of the Working-Class in England in 1844 is in the public domain and available via Project Gutenberg, for what it’s worth.) Schools might feel highly de-personalized institutions; they might routinely demand compliance and frequently squelch creativity. But they don’t really look like and they really don’t work like factories.

In fact, the “Prussian model” superseded an education system that actually did look like a factory. The monitorial system and its variants the Lancaster, the Bell, and the Madras systems, involved schools that were housed in large warehouses – larger often than many of the nascent factories at the time – with hundreds of students in one massive classroom with one teacher. Students were grouped (30 or so together) not by age but by reading proficiency, with more advanced students – “monitors” – assigned to tutor and train the others.
Khan argues in his “History of Education” video that the Prussian model was the only way to provide a free public education, but as the widespread popularity of the monitorial system in the same period demonstrates, it was really just one way. Due to labor costs alone, the monitorial system was actually far cheaper. (After all, the major innovation of the Prussian model was in levying a tax to fund compulsory schooling, not in establishing a method for instruction.)
In his book A Voyage to India (1820), James Cordiner explains the functioning of the Madras system following his visit to the Military Male Orphan Asylum in India where this model originated:
From the perpetual agency of this system, idleness cannot exist. On entering the school, you can discover no individual unemployed, no boy looking vacantly round him: the whole is a beautiful picture of the most animated industry, and resembles the various machinery of a cloth or thread manufactory, completely executing their different offices, and all set in motion by one active engine.
In other words, the monitorial system expressly operated like a factory. “Industry” here isn’t simply a reference to manufacturing or production; “industry” is the opposite of “idleness.” To counter idleness, students must be taught to work – and the functioning of the classroom should be like a machine.

As Mike Caulfield points out, the monitorial system quite arguably provided a certain amount of “personalization” – at least as that word is often used today – insofar as students could move at their own pace, one of the shortcomings so often indentified in the “factory model of education.” Caulfield cites Andrew Bell’s guide to the monitorial system Mutual Tuition and Moral Discipline (1823):
The Madras System consists in conducting a school, by a single Master, THROUGH THE MEDIUM OF THE SCHOLARS THEMSELVES, by an uniform and almost insensibly progressive course of study, whereby the mind of the child is often exercised in anticipating and dictating for himself his successive lessons, by which the memory is improved, the understanding cultivated, and knowledge uniformly increased – a course in which reading and writing are carried on in the same act, with a law of classification by which every scholar finds his level, is happily, busily, and profitably employed every moment, is necessarily made perfectly acquainted with every lesson as he goes along, and without the use or the need of corporeal infliction, acquires habits of method, order, and good conduct, and is advanced in his learning, according to the full measure of his capacity.

But as Frederick John Gladman’s manual on education School Work (1886) suggests, despite its widespread adoption throughout the UK and US, the Lancaster system fell out of favor, in part because this “personalized” model of education did not stimulate sufficient intellectual curiosity in its students:
Failure occurred, as it always will, when masters were slaves to “the system,” when they were satisfied with mechanical arrangements and routine work or when they did not study their pupils, and get down to the Principles of Education.
According to Gladman, the Lancaster system was replaced by the Glasgow system, developed by David Stow, which emphasized the training of teachers so as to “cultivate the whole nature of the child, instead of the mere head – the affections and habits, as well as the intellect.” Training of teachers was necessary, Gladman contended, as “it is useless to have the machinery without the skilled workman, or the well-trained workman without the suitable premises.”
Similarly, the Prussian model was based on the training of teachers. As Victor Cousin wrote in his Report on the State of Education in Prussia (1837) – a report commissioned by the French government but, once translated into English, with great influence in the US:
Our principal aim, in each kind of instruction, is to induce the young men to think and judge for themselves. We are opposed to all mechanical study and servile transcripts. The masters of our primary schools must possess intelligence themselves, in order to be able to awaken it in their pupils; otherwise, the state would doubtless prefer the less expensive schools of Bell and Lancaster.

Caulfield concludes, “That is those nasty sounding Prussians agreeing with the somewhat less nasty sounding Glasweegians that education must be reformed because it works too much like a factory. And the way to make it less like a factory is to bring in the expertise of a craftsman, in this case, the trained teachers that were the heart of the Mannian, Glasgow, and Prussian systems.”
The Coming [Industrial] Revolution in Education

Many education reformers today denounce the “factory model of education” with an appeal to new machinery and new practices that will supposedly modernize the system. That argument is now and has been for a century the rationale for education technology. As Sidney Pressey, one of the inventors of the earliest “teaching machines” wrote in 1932 predicting "The Coming Industrial Revolution in Education,"
Education is the one major activity in this country which is still in a crude handicraft stage. But the economic depression may here work beneficially, in that it may force the consideration of efficiency and the need for laborsaving devices in education. Education is a large-scale industry; it should use quantity production methods. This does not mean, in any unfortunate sense, the mechanization of education. It does mean freeing the teacher from the drudgeries of her work so that she may do more real teaching, giving the pupil more adequate guidance in his learning. There may well be an “industrial revolution” in education. The ultimate results should be highly beneficial. Perhaps only by such means can universal education be made effective.
Pressey, much like Sal Khan and other education technologists today, believed that teaching machines could personalize and “revolutionize” education by allowing students to move at their own pace through the curriculum. The automation of the menial tasks of instruction would enable education to scale, Pressey – presaging MOOC proponents – asserted.

We tend to not see automation today as mechanization as much as algorithmization – the promise and potential in artificial intelligence and virtualization, as if this magically makes these new systems of standardization and control lighter and liberatory.
And so too we’ve invented a history of “the factory model of education” in order to justify an “upgrade” – to new software and hardware that will do much of the same thing schools have done for generations now, just (supposedly) more efficiently, with control moved out of the hands of labor (teachers) and into the hands of a new class of engineers, out of the realm of the government and into the realm of the market.

Operation Dunham

They thought they were the smartest guys in the room!
The official announcement about Operation Dunham, released today:

IBAC has found evidence of process corruption, improper diversion of funds, conflict of interest and mismanagement at senior levels, in its Operation Dunham investigation into the failed Ultranet online platform, at the Department of Education and Training. 

The report, tabled in Parliament today, details a number of improper actions and behaviours by senior departmental staff that effectively corrupted the Ultranet’s tender process, and ultimately led to the waste of millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money.

IBAC Commissioner Stephen O’Bryan QC said: “The Victorian community invests considerable trust in public sector employees ensuring limited resources are used in a proper manner for the benefit of all Victorians.  Taken singly, many of the actions and behaviours by these public servants would be of concern. Taken together, they show a disturbing pattern of improper behaviour.” 

Behaviours identified by IBAC include the inappropriate receipt of hospitality and travel; improper communications intended to influence the tender process; and a likely attempt to influence the tender outcome by ‘stacking’ an evaluation panel.  IBAC found decisions contrary to proper procurement process, in particular singular preference for a particular bidder, despite serious concerns about its credentials. 

The IBAC investigation also revealed almost one million dollars was improperly paid to an external company in an attempt to prop up the Ultranet project. There was also evidence some senior departmental officers used confidential information about the project to purchase shares, and misled the Department about those purchases. 

The Ultranet was designed to be an online teaching and learning platform for all Victorian government schools.  It was cancelled in 2014 following an audit by the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office. The eventual cost of the Ultranet is unknown, with estimates ranging from $127 million to $240 million.

IBAC has recommended DET review current arrangements governing how schools and other work areas pursue and respond to commercial opportunities; and strengthen internal procurement and governance arrangements for major projects. The Department has advised it supports these recommendations. 

IBAC has recommended the Victorian Public Sector Commission consider banning public sector employees receiving any gift, benefit or hospitality from a current or prospective supplier.  IBAC has also recommended the Department of Treasury and Finance consider improvements to reviews of high value and/or high risk projects. 

IBAC is compiling a brief of evidence for advice by the Office of Public Prosecutions. - See more at: http://www.ibac.vic.gov.au/media-releases/article/ultranet-project-corrupted-ibac-finds#sthash.Pt2bggEF.dpuf


They sold it well , although most principals saw through the smoke and mirrors. I was there at that 'Big Day Out' and it was very embarrassing! the reality was very disappointing and it would have been obselite today even if it had worked. It was clunky and counter-intuitive. ( by the way, how are people going with the new Insight Aseasment platform??? ) I saw these people up close at regional briefings with their pin head hangers on from St Andrews Place and the regional staff fauning over them and it was sickening. They thought they were the smartest guys in the room and they had a lot of people fooled. This rot started at the top. Not in schools! That was where the corruption started and for the most part ended and that is where the reform is needed. Not in our schools!

From the Age

The Ultranet project promised to deliver an online platform that connected teachers, parents and students, but was plagued by technical issues and rarely used after its rollout by the former state Labor government in 2010.

In a long-awaited report tabled in state parliament on Friday, IBAC found that department officials purchased shares in CSG – the company awarded the Ultranet project – influenced the tender process and accepted inappropriate gifts from suppliers including flights and lavish dinners.

"The willingness of some senior leaders in the department to deceive has resulted in the waste of millions of dollars of public money," the report said.

It follows revelations by Fairfax Media in 2014 that four senior senior education department officials bought shares or took jobs with CSG.

His colleague, former regional director Ron Lake, bought $100,000 in CSG shares while on the Ultranet board. Former regional director Wayne Craig and his wife purchased 6000 CSG shares after the company won the contract.

"The behaviour suggests that at least some used confidential information to which they were exposed in the course of their work for private gain," the report said.

The man who spearheaded the Ultranet project, former deputy secretary Darrell Fraser, used $1 million of department money to "corruptly inject funds into CSG to ensure it had sufficient cash flow to properly deliver the Ultranet project", IBAC found. 

It said Mr Fraser – a former principal at Glen Waverley Secondary College – was "instrumental in manipulating procurement processes to ensure the Ultranet contract was awarded to the CSG/Oracle consortium – companies with whom he had a longstanding relationship".

He also tried to influence the tender evaluation by 'stacking' an assessment team with like-minded colleagues. Mr Fraser also spent thousands of dollars of department funds on expensive dinners and alcohol.

In 2011, Mr Fraser resigned as deputy secretary and took up a senior job with CSG.

The watchdog heard that despite repeated warnings from consultants and probity officers that the CSG bid was high risk, the contract went ahead.

"IBAC found decisions were made that were contrary to proper procurement process – in particular, the unreasoned and inexplicable decision to give singular preference to CSG, despite serious concerns about its commercial credentials in the relevant area.

Ultranet was launched in August, 2010 at an event which became known as "The Big Day Out" and cost a staggering $1.4 million.

A video of the event shows singers and dancers performing to a remixed version of Madonna's Material Girl: "We are living in a virtual world and I am an Ultranet girl".

The scandal is a major embarrassment for the Labor government, which pledged to deliver Ultranet at the 2006 state election and considered it a legacy project. It was dumped by the former state Coalition government in 2013.

During the public hearings, former Education Minister Bronwyn Pike was snared in phone taps agreeing to secretly "chew the fat" over drinks with two ex department officials accused of corruption.

But the report cleared her of any wrongdoing, saying her enthusiasm for the project "never gave tacit approval to any person to do anything outside of those proper processes or to act with anything other than complete integrity".

Opposition education spokesman Nick Wakeling said the government needed to reassure parents that education funding would be spent on improving literacy and numeracy. 

Education Minister James Merlino said that Victorian families had a right to feel angy and let down by the department. 

He said the department had introduced reforms which would stamp out corruption by improving procurement processes, auditing and financial training for schools. 

Education Department secretary Gill Callister said that the behaviour exposed by IBAC was "completely unacceptable".

"I hope that this signals the closure of a dark chapter in this department's history," she said. 

"Many people within the department and our school communities will feel greatly let down by the people they were entitled to trust."

Senior executives implicated in the scandal have been either sacked or resigned, she said.

IBAC is seeking advice from the Office of Public Prosecutions about whether criminal charges can be pursued. It has recommended the Victorian Public Sector Commission look at banning public servants from receiving gifts or benefits from prospective suppliers.

This is IBAC's second major investigation into corruption in the Education Department. It recently charged former education department official Nino Napoli for his involvement in an alleged scam that swindled $6 million from state schools. 

Bernie Fraser.

Thursday, 26 January 2017


 Well I'm bushed! I just delivered 250 brochures today! 
I'll have the weekend to recuperate and it will be officially back to work on Monday! Below are some photos of the brochures and a few snaps I took while on my travels!

Oh.... some fake gnus!
Think about it!!!!!

And education of the future as dreamed up by science fiction writers in the 20s
A new map for our times! And real gnus!

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Australia Day

The Grieving Mother

The Grieving Mother will be unveiled by the Arch of Victory/Avenue of Honour committee this year. Recently they removed the fence around it but it's not yet completed.

The project is expected to cost about $250,000 and will be constructed on two vacant blocks adjacent to the Arch of Victory, purchased by the AoV/AoH committee in 2014.

The centrepiece of the garden will be a six-foot-tall statue of a grieving mother holding a photo of a lost soldier, designed by iconic sculptor Peter Corlett.That is not in place yet.

Some photos below.

Just a quiet day at home today....and at work

My wife's classroom which is all ready for school next week.


Go to terributlermp.com to sign her petition.
Meanwhile on Australia Day.

Julia Gillard has nominated the Gonski school reforms as one of the areas of which she is most proud because the policy had moved the debate towards an acceptance of needs-based school funding on all sides of politics.

The former prime minister has been made a companion of the Order of Australia, the highest honour bestowed on Australians since Malcolm Turnbull removed Tony Abbott’s knights and dames honours soon after he took the leadership.

Gillard received the honour for “eminent service to the parliament of Australia, particularly as prime minister, through seminal contributions to economic and social development, particularly policy reform in the areas of education, disability care, workplace relations, health, foreign affairs and the environment, and as a role model to women”.

Happy Australia Day......

.......or Occupation Day! 
Either way, it is just another day that blends into school holidays. 
I wonder what would make a good national holiday? I guess it was Empire Day when Britain still had an empire. Federation was signed off on New Years Day...that would be ok but we already have a holiday for that. Not ANZAC Day that is something altogether different. Maybe when we finally grow up and become a republic it could be 'Republic Day'?
Some photos today to think about......

Thanks Charles Perkins.
Hasn't always been January 26th. In fact I can't remember much about it when I was a kid 40 years ago. It was more of a Sydney thing. Did it get a national kick start with the bicentennial?


The first sort of official day back. Wayne from Ballarat Lawns and Gardens mowed while I raked, swept, mopped and de-cobwebbed. The school always looks great after a clean-up.

Heather also came up to do the end of year financials. I'm all ready to go!

Ahhhh a new book by Trump!

Monday, 23 January 2017

A message to Birmingham from Save Our Schools

The Pisa results published in December present a major conundrum for education policy makers. The decline in results across the board for Year 10 students are in sharp contrast with the general improvement in Year 12 results over the past 10-15 years. Why the trends in results for students only two year levels apart are so disparate is a puzzle that requires serious investigation.

Instead, last month we saw an opportunistic response from the federal education minister, Simon Birmingham, who was quick to pounce on the Pisa results to justify dismembering the Gonski funding plan. It was just another opportunity to repeat highly misleading claims that school funding increases don’t improve school results.

The minister was deceptive in citing a 50% increase in federal funding since 2003. It is far from the full picture, because the federal increase was largely offset by funding cuts to public schools by state/territory governments.

The increase in total government funding (Commonwealth and state/territory) per student, adjusted for inflation, for the nine years from 2004-05 to 2013-14 was only 4.5%, a fraction of the minister’s claim. The increase was only 0.5% per year. In dollar terms, it was a mere $472 per student for the whole period, or a miniscule $52 a year.

The large part of this small increase was misdirected to private schools who enrol only a small proportion of disadvantaged students. Total government funding per student in private schools, adjusted for inflation, increased by three times more than for public schools - 9.8% compared to only 3.3%.

Changes in the composition of enrolments could well account for much of the small increase in funding for public schools. Indigenous, disability student and senior secondary school students attract significantly higher funding per student than the average. They increased from 24% to 28% of all public school students between 2003 and 2014.

While the declining Pisa results are a major concern, the minister completely ignored school results that are in stark contrast to the Pisa results. There were marked improvements in several Year 12 outcomes over the past 10-15 years.

The average retention rate from Year 7/8 to Year 12 increased from 67% in 2000 to 84% in 2015. Indigenous retention rates increased from 36% to 59%. The Year 12 completion rate increased from 69% to 72% between 2003 and 2014. The proportion of Year 12 students achieving an Atar score of 50 or more increased from 38% in 2007 to 42% in 2015.

As a result of these improvements, the proportion of young adults with Year 12 or equivalent vocational qualification has increased significantly. In 2016, 89% of 20-24 year-olds had attained Year 12 or Certificate III compared to 77% in 2001 and 90% per cent had attained Year 12 or Certificate II compared to 79% in 2001.

OECD data show that only 68% of 24-34 year-olds in Australia had attained an upper secondary education in 2000, which was the fifth lowest in the OECD. By 2015, this had increased by 20 percentage points and was the largest increase in the OECD except for Portugal and Turkey.

The sharp contrast between the declining Pisa results for Year 10 students and the improvement in Year 12 results may partly reflect a difference in student attitudes to the Pisa tests, which have no personal consequences attached to them, and the Year 12 assessments which have a major influence on the future paths open to students.

The one thing in common between the Pisa results and Year 12 outcomes is huge achievement gaps between disadvantaged and advantaged students. Improving the results of disadvantaged students is the major challenge facing Australian education.

Yet the minister continues to wilfully ignore the extensive research evidence demonstrating that increasing funding for disadvantaged students is critical to improving outcomes. Five major academic studies published in the last year alone show that increased funding improves results, especially for disadvantaged students. Many previous studies made the same conclusion.

OECD studies show that targeting funding increases to disadvantaged schools and students is fundamental to improving student achievement. Inadequate funding is a major factor behind the failure to improve the results of disadvantaged students in Australia and reduce the large achievement gaps.

Federal and state education ministers are due to meet in coming months to decide future school funding arrangements. State education ministers should not be misled by Birmingham’s false claims about school funding and outcomes. All the evidence shows that increased funding for disadvantaged students is critical to improving school outcomes.

The national education ministers’ council should support the full implementation of the Gonski plan. It should resist the Federal Government’s proposal to cut education funding further by reducing funding indexation rates.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

UK Book owners data

One in ten people in the U.K. do not own a single book, a worrying new study reveals.
New research suggests we are now obsessed with handheld devices that the average home has more than eight linked to the internet. 
Nearly half of all households which have children (45 per cent) admitted that the typically text each other - even when they're all at home. 
And it seems the younger generation are less bothered about owning literature as the figure for those who do not have any books rises to one in five people aged between 18 and 24.
A new study shows that we are shunning books so much that 10 per cent of people do not own one 
The study, carried out by insurance company Aviva, will reveal that a staggering 6.5million people in the UK do not own a book. 
Research published two years ago to coincide with World Book Day revealed the average homeowner had 158 books inside their property, reports Helen Davies at the Sunday Times. 

The newspaper also reports that the latest data highlights how the typical UK households owns an average of 8.2 electronic devices.
This rises to 10.9 for homes with children and for those aged between 25 and 34, the figure peaked to 11.2 items - including smartphones, laptops and tablets. 

I would like to see Australian data on this. I don't think it would be any better sadly.

@MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

3 Word Slogan

Sadly I think it is just a 3 word slogan which doesn't actually mean much. DET has never promoted state education to the masses....NEVER! until some money and investment goes into promoting our diverse, inclusive, local, free and transparent school system to Victorians they will continue to be ignorant about it. DET should be using the good news stories about students, schools and teachers to spread the message of what a wonderful system we have! Sadly DET lacks the will, imagination and probably budget to do it. The AEU says ( at PCA meetings anyway) that negotiations for the next EBA are going well and that DET is keen to get a good deal done quickly. That could if handled well kickstart a big promotion of state school education.

From the Age

It was the central plank of Daniel Andrews' election pitch: to make Victoria "the Education State".

But two years after he came to office, new research suggests most voters don't really know what the slogan means – and many believe the government could do a lot more to improve the public education system.

As students prepare to return to class this month, an Essential Research poll has found only one third of Victorians have heard of Labor's schools agenda, let alone the catch-all phrase the government uses to represent its multibillion-dollar investment in schools.

According to the poll, about 66 per cent of Victorians have either never heard about "the Education State" or aren't sure what it means, suggesting the government has work to do convincing people that its flagship policy is more than just a three-word slogan on a number plate.

After all, it's not as though the government hasn't pumped big money into public education, including a record $1.8 billion to build and upgrade new schools, plus $566 million in additional funding for students.

But the problem, according to some, is that this investment hasn't necessarily led to better outcomes, a stronger curriculum, or reduced workload for teachers, who claim they are now working on average about 53 hours a week. According to the Australian Education Union, which commissioned the poll, this amounts to about 15 hours of unpaid overtime a week.

"The clear message here is that the government needs to make sure that their investment is making a difference for our kids," said Australian Education Union state president Meredith Peace.

"Parents want to know that we have a curriculum that meets the needs of our students. And in order to do that, then the concerns about workload need to be addressed. Teachers need the time to plan and assess, so if the government is serious about meeting its commitment, then it needs to invest in the most critical resource: and that is, staff."

The poll of more than 1000 Victorians comes at a critical juncture for the government, which has been locked in enterprise bargaining negotiations with the union for almost 10 months.

Teachers have asked for a pay rise of 7 per cent a year, but workload is the critical issue, with the government being urged to inject the equivalent of about 2000 extra teachers into the system.

The poll also found that when it comes to education, a strong curriculum was a central issue, with a combined 76 per cent listing it as their "top priority" or "very important". Professional development for teachers was also high on the agenda (72 per cent) along with building and maintaining classrooms and facilities (69 per cent).

Education Minister James Merlino declined to comment when asked if the government had any plans to boost teacher numbers, just as it had with police and paramedics in recent months. And was he surprised so few had heard of his flagship agenda? He didn't answer that either, other than to say: "The Education State is more than just a set of words – it's real tangible action to build and upgrade schools and support our students and teachers to achieve their best."