Monday, 23 July 2018

A Liberal breaks ranks and tells the.....truth!

The Tasmanian Liberal government has expressed concern over federal Liberal funding for students with disabilities.

The revelation comes as Labor increases the heat over school funding with Saturday’s federal Braddon by-election looming.

Labor has been saying the federal Liberals have slashed schools funding.

The Liberals deny it. ( they would!)

“In respect of funding for students with a disability, I have written to the Australian government expressing concern about the new funding model,”  state Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff wrote in a recent letter to the Australian Education Union.

The AEU said figures it obtained  in 2017 showed Tasmania received $17 million for students with disabilities in public schools in 2017, but that would drop to $9.7 million in 2018 under the Gonski 2.0 plan and not reach 2017 levels until at least 2028.

“Minister Rockliff is to be commended for asking the Turnbull Government why it plans to slash public school funding for Tasmanian students with disability by nearly half," AEU federal president Correna Haythorpe said 

“Mr (Braddon Liberal candidate Brett) Whiteley owes it to voters to declare, prior to election day, whether he supports taking public education funding from students with disability.” 

Mr  Whiteley said it was  wrong to say federal funding for schools had been cut.

“The fact is, federal funding for schools is up by 37 per cent since we were elected and will rise by another 41 per cent per public school student over the next decade,” Mr Whiteley said.

“Education for students with a disability is particularly important and, if elected as a member of the federal government, I will work closely with the Tasmanian government to deliver and ensure their needs are met.”

Braddon Labor candidate Justine Keay said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had cut $17 billion from schools around Australia, including schools in Braddon, and Labor would restore every dollar. 

“That means fewer resources for every student,” Ms Keay said. 

“The government’s cuts will hurt students with disability particularly hard.

“Labor understands the concerns of many people about the way data is being collected about the needs of students with disability and we want to commission an urgent review into how that can be improved.” 

Estimated federal funding for students with disabilities for 2018-27 was based on the 2016 Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disabilities.

“The Tasmanian government will monitor this work closely and the Department of Education will continue to work at the national level to improve consistency in this important data set,” Mr Rockliff wrote to the AEU.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Guy, the mobsters mate misleads over bullying.

You will have seen the debate unfolding in the media yesterday and today around dealing with bullying in schools. The AEU's position is that Liberal Party leader Matthew Guy is engaging in cheap politicking that doesn't acknowledge the amount of work already being done in government schools to address bullying.

Matthew Guy is proposing principals expel children who are struggling in their learning environment. But when a school community labels a child a ‘bully’ and expels them without being able to provide appropriate support, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

As principals well know, it is often the children who are experiencing trauma at home that act out and need additional support. What works is keeping them engaged with learning.

Many schools are already working with the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, alongside other local community health organisations and groups.

Programs like Respectful Relationships and Safe Schools are helping principals and teachers proactively address bullying.

While Safe Schools remains a popular punching bag for the Liberal Party, the soon-to-be-published annual AEU Benchmark poll reveals that only 27% of Victorians are in favour of scrapping Safe Schools.

Friday, 13 July 2018

They're just taking the piss now.

Saint Ignatius' was one of the most overfunded schools in Sydney, receiving 263 per cent of its Schooling Resource Standard, in 2014. It is fundraising for $150million.

It is now one of 102 private schools receiving bonus government payments.

The head of the fundraising arm at one of Sydney's most expensive private schools has been fired for alleged financial misconduct.

The heads of Saint Ignatius' College Riverview say they have reported alleged "admissions of financial misconduct" by its director of advancement Aleks Duric to the police. The school is also conducting its own investigation, according to an email sent by its acting principal, rector and board chairman to parents on Wednesday.

"We have recently dismissed the director of advancement following admissions of financial misconduct," the email states.

"The college has reported these matters to the police and we have also launched our own investigation.

"As these matters are subject to formal investigation I know you will understand we are unable to disclose the detail of what is alleged to have occurred.

"What I can say at this time is that the admissions made relate to specific financial transactions.

"As a college we are reliant on the generosity of our community and that is why we have acted quickly and decisively on this issue."

Mr Duric was leading a campaign to raise funds for a $150 million school redevelopment in his role as head of Saint Ignatius' office of advancement, which is responsible for fundraising and donations, including those from alumni and parents.

Saint Ignatius' College, the alma mater of former prime minister Tony Abbott and former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce, has an annual fee of $28,200 for year 11 and 12 students this year.

It raised a total of $43.1 million from fees, contributions and other private sources and received additional funding of $8.2 million from the NSW and federal governments in 2016, according to the latest MySchool figures.

Before he started at Saint Ignatius', Mr Duric led "major gift development programs across 11 faculties" at the University of Sydney, and reportedly oversaw contributions of more than $80 million every year.

He was also formerly the fundraising and public relations manager for the Paraplegic and Quadriplegic Association of NSW.

He is currently listed as a director at the non-government international development agency Cufa.

Notes from Mr Duric providing updates on building programs and fundraising activities are included regularly in Saint Ignatius' newsletter and he is also mentioned in the latest annual report.

"In the area of fundraising there was mutual support for the targets and priorities of each, which Aleks Duric (director of advancement) was responsive to throughout the course of the year," the report states.

Mr Duric also wrote a letter to its old boys last year to dismiss rumours of a large financial donation by the late businessman Paul Ramsay and to encourage contributions.

"It was having in some respects a negative impact," he told the Australian.

"It's funny how these sorts of things take off."

Saint Ignatius' was one of the most overfunded schools in Sydney, receiving 263 per cent of its Schooling Resource Standard, a measure for how much government funding schools are entitled to, in 2014, according to federal Department of Education data.

It is now one of 102 private schools receiving bonus government payments to help it to transition to the new Gonski 2.0 funding model, under which its public funding will be reduced.

Select entry school con job.

Selective-entry schools only marginally improve students' ATARs according to new research that questions whether elite state schools boost academic performance.

Students at selective-entry high schools achieve ATARs that are at most two points higher, on average, than similar students elsewhere.

The University of Melbourne research suggests that high-achieving students will do well at any school.

“Our results point to small effects in terms of university entrance ranks,” it said.

Researchers Brendan Houng and Chris Ryan from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research tracked the performance of two groups of students who sat entrance exams for selective-entry state high schools.

One group was offered year 9 spots at the sought-after schools, while the other group missed out or turned down their offer.

All students achieved similar NAPLAN results in years 7 and 9, were highly motivated and were disproportionately from immigrant and advantaged socio-economic backgrounds.

Mr Houng hoped his research would lead to a less narrow focus on academic achievement at selective-entry schools.

"One might easily think that selective schools might be more successful in helping students achieve higher ATARs, simply for the fact that on average, only high-ability students enter these schools," he said.

"But this is a form of sorting that we economists call a 'selection effect'."

Thursday, 12 July 2018

DeVos failing students with disabilities and students of color.

On Thursday, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) fileda federal lawsuit against Trump’s Education Department, challenging the agency’s decision last week to delay an Obama-era rule that meant to address disparities in treatment of students of color with disabilities.

The provision at the center of the suit is known as the “Equity in IDEA” rule. Taking effect in January 2017, it required states to determine if racial disparities in the identification, treatment, and discipline of students with disabilities were occurring in school districts in compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Act. Specifically, if a state identified “significant disproportionality” in a school district, the state would examine the district’s policies and practices to see if they were improperly treating and identifying students and, if not, make sure the districts change their practices. The department gave states 18 months to comply with the regulation. 

But last week, on July 3—just two days after states were supposed to be in compliance—the agency issued a final notice that it would delay for two years the special education rule’s implementation. COPAA, a nonprofit organization that advocates for protecting the civil rights of students with disabilities and their families, now alleges that the move violates the Administrative Procedure Act, the federal law that governs how regulations are proposed, and is requesting that a federal judge block the department from moving forward with the regulation’s delay. 

“We opposed the delay in the regulations because it will harm children and parents by stalling much-needed reform in the ways that states determine which district is engaging in unlawful practices that result in disproportionate and inequitable treatment of students of color,” said COPAA executive Denise Marshall in a conference call Thursday. 

Seth Galanter, senior director of legal advocacy at the National Center for Youth Law, which filed the suit on COPAA’s behalf, told reporters on the same call that the Education Department had failed to provide a reasoned explanation for the change and that its motivation can’t “simply be that they have doubts about the premise” of the regulation. In its notice published in the Federal Register, the Education Department said it was concerned that the rule may “create an incentive” for school districts to establish “de facto quotas” in placing, identifying, or disciplining students with disabilities “to avoid being identified with significant disproportionality.”  

“To simply say, ‘We’re not sure and therefore we’re going to affirmatively act to stop things from going forward,’ violates” the Administrative Procedure Act, Galanter, who previously oversaw the department’s civil rights division, told reporters.

An Education Department spokesperson told Mother Jones the agency would not comment on pending litigation. 

In 2004, Congress amended the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to force states to address disparities in the identification of students with disabilities for special education services, the placement of students in restricted settings, and discipline of students of color at higher rates than their peers. Yet there was no uniform definition for what was considered “significant disproportionality” under IDEA. A report by the Government Accountability Office in 2013 found that the way states defined significant disparities in districts under IDEA varied widely to the extent that it provided “no assurance that the problem is being appropriately identified across the nation.” The report noted that in 2010, just two percent of districts demonstrated significant disparities under IDEA and used federal funds to tackle overrepresentation in special education. Half of those districts were in five states. This left thousands of students of color with disabilities at risk of not receiving the services they needed and states unable to identify the true scope of their disparity problems. 

So in 2016, then-Education Secretary John King Jr. announced the rule to create a standard methodology for states to follow to determine if racial disparities exist. “Children with disabilities are often disproportionately and unfairly suspended and expelled from school and educated in classrooms separate from their peers,” King said at the time. “Children of color with disabilities are overrepresented within the special education population, and the contrast in how frequently they are disciplined is even starker.”

After Trump was elected, the Education Department began signaling that it intended to delay the rule. In December 2017, department spokeswoman Elizabeth Hill told the New York Times that it was “prudent to delay implementation for two years” after the department said it received concerns about the rule during its regulatory review process. More than three months after the department opened its comment period in February, it issued its decision on July 3. 

Thursday’s legal challenge comes more than a week after the Education Department, along with the Justice Department, rescinded several guidances that encouraged schools to consider race in college admissions and student assignment in K-12 schools. And in late May, COPAA, the National Federation for the Blind, and the NAACP sued the Education Department for changes the agency made to the way it handles civil rights complaints, alleging that the department had violated the Administrative Procedures Act. 

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Birmingham secretly looking after his mates.....oh course!

From the AEU

9 July 2018

Millions of dollars have been allocated by the Turnbull government as extra funding to 102 of the most overfunded non-government schools in Australia.

Elite private schools receiving two or even three times what they should from taxpayers were set to lose funding under Gonski 2.0. However, under special deals negotiated Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham, all these schools will actually receive more money this year.

Information obtained by the AEU via a Freedom of Information request revealed that a secret $7.1 million fund was used to allocate extra money to some of the richest schools in Australia.

In 2018 Loreto Kirribilli would have seen its total recurrent funding drop from $6.7 to $6.5m. However the school actually increased its year-on-year funding by more than $200,000 due to the $381,274 in transition funding that it received from the government.

Elite private school Oakhill College, would have seen its overall funding drop from $12.4 to $12.3m. Instead, the school was given an extra $453,688, the single largest handout from the transition fund.

Monte Sant Angelo Mercy College received 268% of the SRS in 2017 and it is getting $342,254. Mount St Benedict College was funded at 212% of the SRS in 2017 and is getting almost $400,000.

Note Haileybury, one of the richest schools in Victoria, is getting $41,379 out of the special deal. But overall its funding will go up by $600,000 in 2018

Nearly 2000 private schools are now covered under special funding deals. Meanwhile, the Turnbull government has ripped nearly $1.9 billion in funding from public schools over the next two years. 

This extra funding looks to continue. From 2019 the Government is providing an additional $39.8 million in financial support over 10 years through adjustment assistance for ‘disadvantaged or vulnerable’ schools facing cuts because they were overfunded. Originally this funding was for schools with a high proportion of students with disability, or a school in a disadvantaged community.

However, under revised guidelines, elite private schools are also able to access this funding. Adjustment assistance will now be allocated relative to other eligible schools taking into account the department’s assessment of each eligible school’s relative ‘disadvantage’. Some of this money has already been allocated to elite private schools in the ACT under a special deal.

Seventy per cent of private schools are now covered by secret special funding deals. However, by 2023 only 13 per cent of public schools will reach their benchmark funding level.

Other special deals for private schools includes:

•$57.7 million for ACT Catholic and Independent schools. Every Catholic and Independent school in the ACT will benefit from this special deal, despite the ACT having some of the most overfunded schools in the nation. Overfunded elite schools like Radford College, Canberra Grammar and Daramalan College will get over $1 million extra in 2018 despite already receiving in total between 140% and 200% of the Schooling Resource Standard. 

•$40.3 million system weighted average deal. Every Catholic school in Australia and the 20% of Independent schools that are part of a system will benefit from the extension of system weighted average funding into 2018.

Monday, 9 July 2018


Bethany Christian Services, an adoption center with financial ties to Betsy DeVos, has taken 81 immigrant children who were forcibly separated from their parents. Most have had no contact with their families. They’re charging $700 per child per night.
Bethany advertised on their website that you can adopt kids from Guatemala for $50k.
Trump obligingly hands them South American kids, Bethany keeps them for a year, then goes to court and gets them labeled orphans because there is no identification of a parent.
$700 per night x 81 kids x 365 days = $20,695,500 per year in revenue!
$700 is exactly 4x the amount of money a nursing center receives from the state to provide 24/7 medical supplies/shelter/food/skilled nursing care and assessment/personal care and medications, to an elderly infirm patient.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Did anyone seriously not see this happening!

Rich private schools earmarked for cuts through the landmark Gonski 2.0 funding deal have instead seen their proportion of taxpayer money increase this year, thanks to millions of dollars in bonus “transitional” funds set up by the federal government.

Last year, as the Turnbull government fought to pass its Gonski 2.0 funding deal through the Senate, it announced that 24 independent and Catholic schools would lose funding under the new agreement because they were receiving more than their fair share of taxpayer money.

The list included private schools such as Loreto Kirribilli – a Catholic girls school on Sydney’s north shore that charges more than $20,000 in annual tuition for senior high-school students. Loreto Kirribilli received 191.9% of its Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) in 2018. The SRS is the Gonski review’s needs-based formula for measuring how much government funding each school is entitled to.

Turnbull 'reforming' the curriculum.

The Turnbull government has blindsided the teaching profession by planning the biggest Australian school curriculum reforms in decades without consulting the very teachers, principals and support staff who will be forced to implement the changes.

The planned reforms are contained in a leaked draft report, the National School Reform Agreement (NSRA), which was discussed by Federal Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham and state and territory education ministers at the Education Council meeting in Adelaide on 22 June.

The report outlines massive reforms proposed across the Australian curriculum, including introducing learning progressions and online formative assessment across 15 areas of the curriculum, all in the next two to three years and without any additional funding or resourcing for schools to implement the changes. The report also includes a phonics test as part of a formative assessment tool.

Australian Education Union (AEU) Federal President Correna Haythorpe said that the NSW experience with the Assessing Literacy and Numeracy (ALAN) program had shown these curriculum reforms would leave teachers overwhelmed. She said the changes had no chance of successful implementation without extra school funding and while the Turnbull government failed to include the teaching profession in consultations.

“Ignoring the teaching profession when it comes to school reform is simply a recipe for disaster,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“This report is a blueprint for the biggest school reform in decades, all in the next two to three years, without any additional funding or resourcing and without any consultation whatsoever with the teaching profession.”

“Simon Birmingham’s educational reforms simply will not work to lift student outcomes if the government implements them without consulting the teaching profession,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“If teachers and principals are not involved in education reform, then history will show that the Turnbull government’s efforts in the education sector will be a dismal failure.”

The draft Report calls for introducing learning progressions and online formative assessment across 15 areas of the curriculum[1]. Ms Haythorpe said real-world experience had already shown these reforms just wouldn’t work. 

“We’ve seen in New South Wales the rollout of learning progressions in just two curriculum areas has been catastrophic,” Ms Haythorpe said. "This is a strong warning call to ministers considering rolling these out across all 15 areas of the curriculum.” 

Ms Haythorpe said there was no evidence that the learning progressions system had produced any positive outcomes. 

“At this stage Min. Birmingham hasn’t established any evidence on which to justify his reform agenda,” Ms Haythorpe said. “He is asking teachers to implement a program which has not been successfully tested. We are basically entering into uncharted waters here. 

“Where is the evidence that learning progressions works? The NSW trial has been a disaster,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“Teachers were overwhelmed and their stress levels skyrocketed. Data about student outcomes is useful, but it should be kept in the classroom. It should not be about clicking thousands of boxes. Data needs to help us inform teaching decisions, not determine them.” 

“Now Min. Birmingham wants to rush out learning progressions across 15 curriculum areas in only three years, with no extra funding.” 

“The New South Wales example highlights why curriculum changes like this must not be developed without the deep engagement of teachers and principals,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“The Turnbull government is determined to roll out this one-size-fits-all reform in a deeply inequitable funding environment, where 87% of public schools will be below the Schooling Resource Standard in 2023 while 65% of private schools will be above it,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“The Turnbull government has already betrayed public schools by ripping $1.9 billion from public education funding over the next two years. Expecting these curriculum reforms to be successfully implemented in this funding climate is just a pipe dream.”

The AEU Federal Executive has called on the federal government to put on hold any decisions on the NSRA and to commit to consultation with the teaching profession about what the agreement should contain, and how any introduced changes should be funded.

The AEU is also seeking urgent meetings with state and territory education ministers to discuss the teaching profession’s concerns about the lack of consultation around the NSRA and to raise awareness of the issues in the proposal. 

“Simon Birmingham’s reforms are an attack on the professionalism of the teaching profession,” Ms Haythorpe said. 

“There has been absolutely no consultation with the teaching profession, meaning that these reforms have absolutely no chance of success. Our children deserve better.”