Education


These are the notes used for our on-air analysis on Wednesday 19th April. General Comments:
  1. The support for the public system has declined even more on the last survey, even though the survey was chock a block with Labor voters and teachers. Agree/Strongly Agree headed in right direction down from 42% to 28% in 12 months.
  2. Support for public v private schools for your own kids still looks around 50/50, after adjustment for Labor/Green bias in the sample (I think Graham is doing a check here), with two thirds of left wing voters supporting the public system and two thirds of coalition voters supporting the private system.  
  3. Teachers loved the questionnaire, especially teachers in Government schools. The overall numbers were up more than ten-fold on the last survey.
  4. These teachers tended to support the public system, in principal, but, in practice, thought it had had it, with insufficient funding, run down buildings, excessive class sizes, trendy syllabuses and not enough of the basics, lack of male teachers, as some of the problems mentioned.
  5. Many respondents seem to think the Federal Government is to blame for problems with the state education system … it seems the blame shifting we are seeing in health is having some benefits in education, for the Beattie Government. Which leads to the last point, due to Federal Funding of Private School education …
  6. There is perception, mixed into this framework, that the state Government has started to delay building public schools in fast growing areas, leaving the cost burden increasingly to the Federal Government and the private school system … a comment we have heard from other states. This is good news for the private school system, but makes for a pretty dismal report card for the State Labor Government, if it is correct.
Right Direction? The majority of those who strongly agree the education system is headed in the right direction also would send their kids to a public school – 31 out of a total of 42. But a very large proportion of these respondents has major concerns about the public system and simply rejects the non-public system in principle… "Schools are asked to do more and more in an environment where proper parenting has been falling away for many years. This comment from a Labor voting Teacher in the public system, who would send his children to a public school, but who went on to discuss the biggest issues facing primary and secondary schools as … literacy and numeracy, along with a lack of proper science education by qualified science teachers." This is from a rock solid Labor voting teacher in the public system! Half of those who strongly agree the system is headed in the right direction, also think it is under funded and that this under funding is reflected run down buildings, and oversized classes. Many also think there aren’t enough male teachers and that this is not appropriate for public schools, as many public school children are living with their mothers and have no male role models… "Education has been feminised too much (the pendulum thing) and boys are missing out. Outcome based education is a complete waste of time, accountability gone mad, and once again teachers are stressed and the students miss out. This is from a male teacher. This is from a solid Labor voting male teacher, who sends his kids to a private school … because I teach in a state school and the amount of time spent on a minority of kids who do not value education , for one reason or another, is ludicrous. powers to discipline have been taken away. students know they don't have to show respect, so some don't. what are you going to do about it? Nothing." Some who strongly agree the system is headed in the right direction (9 out of 42) think the public system has had it, and regard the Catholic or Private system as successful, by comparison. So, the system they are talking about is no longer the Government or public system. That’s how bad it is, for Government. For example … "I am a teacher in the catholic system and feel we haven't hit the golden secret yet but are well on our way. Children are valued as individuals, taught in a more positive, individual based manner and assessed against set outcomes. They are not judged as failures. There has been a return to some of the basics and this can only be good when included with some of the more wholistic educational practises." (This teacher, unfortunately, couldn’t spell holistic - Private system support, Liberal to Independent). Most of those who think the education system is headed in the wrong direction, support the private school education system, but many don’t… "Public education is being left behind under this (Howard) government. They say the extra funding is about providing choice to parents but one look at the fees rising consistently shows that is not the case. Meanwhile, those already disadvantaged will now fall further behind as the standard of public education falls due to poor funding arrangements. If we want to create a two-tier society then we're heading in the right direction. I do not share this (Howard) government's goals hence I strongly disagree that we are heading in the right direction." – State system supporter, Democrat to Labor This is a typical view of those who think the public system is headed in the wrong direction… "I am a secondary school teacher who has also taught at TAFE and Uni and am deeply concerned about numeracy and literacy levels, behaviour problems and a lack of focus and concentration in the majority of high school students.- Private School Supporter, Green to Green, who also said on the Private school question: My experience of teaching in public schools would not encourage me to have my children attend one." "As an after school tutor from ages 8 - 15 both in English and Maths, I am still astounded, but not completely surprised, how many children have neither the basic skills to do simple arithmetic or have sufficient grasp of basic grammar and spelling. Green to Undecided, private school supporter." "The Queensland State Government is relying on the private/church schools in meeting the needs of communities in rapidly expanding areas such as Hervey Bay. The State schools at both primary and secondary level are absolutely full to the brim, with class sizes ever increasing, but staff, both teachers and support, and resources allocated decreasing. Other to National, private school supporter. "
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Comments   

 
0 #1 CommentJim Duffield 2006-05-01 15:50
I'm not surprised that not one person seems to have highlighted the double disadvantage of state schools, whereby they are FORCED to take the total disadvantaged demographic, because religion based schools are not so obliged. It is seen as too hard for both politicians and unions, and politically incorrect for academics.

Constitutionally, this is perhaps open to challenge?

Jim
 
 
0 #2 CommentLorraine Muller 2006-05-01 16:08
It is good to have so many teachers comments reflected here Graham, but what of the parents of children. Comments I made on the survey that placed some responsibility on the decline in standard onto the quality of teaching staff, and the cultural biases they bring to the classrooms, were not given consideration.
If, in questioning the education system, parents ability to parent and childrens behaviour is put under the microscope, why not examine the role of the teachers?
Some teachers I have encountered through my childrens education were inspirational and excellent educators. Unfortunately, too many were poor educators, some where slovenly and too many bought their prejudices to the classrooms.
I believe that in order for the state ed system to function well, teachers need to attain certain standards of work as well as personal and mental hygiene. Parents, students and TEACHERS attitudes should be examined equally for a legitimate understanding of the state school system in Qld.
 
 
0 #3 CommentDale Hack 2006-05-01 18:23
While you are correct about the inability of someone who should know to be able to spell holistic, your writer should also learn the difference between "principal" and "principle" - see General Comments #04.

Cretins - You all scare me!
 
 
0 #4 CommentVeronica Jackson 2006-05-01 22:24
Hi
I was away so wasn't involved in this particular survey, so I won't comment at this stage
many thanks
 
 
0 #5 CommentGraham Young 2006-05-01 22:41
Lorraine,

Thanks for your comments. Don't think that your response wasn't taken into account - what happens on radio is always a gross oversimplificat ion. What we highlight is always influenced by what we don't highlight. From a personal point of view I've always thought that teacher standards were an issue.

Dale, I think we'll plead guilty on the mispelling. Not a good idea to take cheap shots at anyone!
 
 
0 #6 CommentVanessa 2006-05-02 12:23
I have just submitted your follow up survey and there was no room for comments. Point 'g' - I think primary schools have their maths and English curriculum well balanced however, I think secondary schools are way out of whack. It was, therefore, difficult to answer that question as I would’ve liked to have answered ‘no’ for Primary and ‘yes’ for secondary.
Point 'h' - What a ridiculous question; 'good' teachers. What is your definition of a 'good' teacher? Let's not go down the path of Howard's IR laws. ALL teachers deserve a decent wage not just the 'good' ones! If a teacher is not 'good' then address it through the appropriate channel/s. Teachers should not be on individual contracts with ‘less good’ teachers receiving a lesser wage.
 
 
0 #7 CommentTim Bofinger 2006-05-02 15:46
It is quite difficult to judge system vs system, which invariably happens as a result of a survey like this. I will say that the popular belief that private schools offer the better alternative in terms of discipline and values is a myth. I have encountered private schools I would not send my child anywhere near because of their poor standards, likewise some state schools. In a nutshell, it depends on the individual school, the spirit of the staff and attitude of parents and of course, the students.

I will say, as a primary teacher, responsible for the supervision of pre-service and new graduate teachers, my most pressing concern is the number of new teachers that aren't capable educators (probably a minority but an increasingly large one). The art of managing a classroom and relating to students seems to be diminishing under the pressure of imparting an ever-widening curriculum. The future I fear looks bleak for the teaching profession which will have a catastrophic impact on our young people.
 
 
0 #8 CommentKev Smith 2006-05-02 20:16
I tend to agree with Lorraine above in that some teachers in public schools should have their standards of teaching improved by constant inservice and retraining. Perhaps this is the same in the private sector but my exprience is not there. One of the biggest problems the public sector has, I feel, is that, although there are school based programs to follow, there is too much freedom for teachers to do only what interests them and for many themes to be repeated two or more times through primary school. Principals need to become much more involved in curriculum development, teacher retraining and supervision and finding out just what is being taught in their schools (including biases).Princip als have so much admin work to do that this is impossible at the moment. There is a good argument for "managers" to be employed so Principals can do what they are great at, namely teaching and training teachers and ensuring a high standard of learning is going on.
 
 
+1 #9 CommentMargaret 2006-08-04 18:21
As someone who started with QLD Correspondence Sch and had very good basics, I feel that there should be a set curriculum that teachers are taught how to teach properly, up to grade 4, to ensure all children can read and are numerate.
Regarding numbers - in my Scholarship year at a public school, there were 60 girls. From memory, there were about 10 who had difficulty with reading of the Vlll Reading material which comprised extracts from literature - Dickens, George Elliott, and 'Hereward the Wake' etc, but were functionally literate.