Category: Education

Hey, Shorten! Leave those kids alone

Bill Shorten, leader of the Australian Labor Party, has announced a plan to subsidise two years of pre-primary-school education for children. This means children as young as three years old will now be able to receive state-subsidised education.

Some may ask, “why is this bad?” After all, isn’t education the key to a successful future? Isn’t an educated workforce more productive? Doesn’t education pay for itself? Isn’t providing more education a way to ameliorate disparity and disadvantage?

The reality, however, is that not only are our lofty hopes for education unrealistic, but Shorten’s plan perpetuates a phenomenon I shall refer to as the Progressive Institutionalization of Childhood, and this phenomenon appears to be implicated in the erosion of our civic culture over the past several years. Only a few years ago, the young were resilient and rebellious and more inclined to free thinking and defiant of convention; today, our Read the rest

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How inclusive is your childcare?

Last week, while organising an event on Eventbrite, I stumbled across an event organised by Inclusion Support Queensland, a key architect of Australia’s childcare industry’s National Quality Framework and Standards. Targeted at early childhood teachers and titled ‘National Quality Standard: Inclusion in Practice’, the event promised to ‘explore how inclusion underpins the National Quality Standard.’

The term “inclusion” is problematic in the context of the childcare industry’s National Quality Standards, since it refers to both disability access and cultural inclusion. While there’s a general expectation that the industry complies with anti-discrimination law in ensuring accessibility and inclusiveness of all children regardless of their cultural background or disabilities, the “inclusion” imperative can become a multi-headed hydra, used to impose narrower and more ideologically driven cultural inclusion policies that many parents may find problematic.

Australia’s childcare system is regulated by National Quality Framework (NQF), introduced in 2010. The NQF comprises: Read the rest

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Economics is not a STEM field

Author: Steve Kates

So the US economy is expanding at a 4.1% annual rate and is experiencing a tightening labour market and possibly even rising real wages. That the American economy under PDT would shed the shackles left by eight years of Obama mismanagement and the inept oversight of GWB was as straightforward as anything I could have imagined although never a certainty given all the unknowns that surround every economy all the time. A supply-side approach, in which the government removes regulations and does not try to spend its way to recovery, is the formula that has worked time and again: see, for example, the spectacular Costello recovery of 1996-98 which was driven by massive cuts to public spending and an entrepreneurial-focused policy framework. No Keynesian at the time had expected it – Treasury begged Costello to reverse his policies! – nor have I ever heard a Keynesian who … Read the rest

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54 billion reasons why HECS needed reform

Last week the Government secured the required votes in the Senate to pass the Higher Education Support Legislation Amendment (Student Loan Sustainability) Bill 2018. It now looks likely the Government will succeed in passing its proposed changes through the Senate when parliament sits again in August. The amendment will replace the existing HECS-HELP repayment schedule with a new schedule lowering the income at which repayments commence from $55,874 to $45,000.

The changes have been predictably unpopular with students and millennials. Junkee a left-leaning youth news site responded to the news with student focused articles such as, ‘We Asked 7 Students What The HECS Changes Mean To Them’(Spoiler Alert: they all hated the changes and complained that graduates would now be forced to live in poverty).

The HECS-HELP system requires that graduates repay their HECS-HELP debt via the tax system – effectively increasing the amount of tax Read the rest

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Can our old-school universities keep up?

One day when we look back through history and try to work out what happened to the universities, we may very well be looking hard at the current decade. At present the tertiary education system is not meeting the needs of students adequately. Complaints about the prohibitively high costs of tuition, overpaid vice-chancellors and senior managers, underemployment of students with certain degrees, the rejection of open intellectual inquiry, and the culture of promoting diversity of external characteristics rather than ideas, all point to a future decline in patronage of universities.

Some universities are trying to stay relevant and cater to the needs of students by differentiating their product from their competitor’s. The University of Melbourne and The University of Western Australia have both structured their degrees in a similar fashion to US schools. General undergraduate degrees precede a postgraduate specialist degree designed to separate you from the pack. The University Read the rest

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Anti-bullying campaigns and the victimhood culture

Anti-bullying campaigns in schools have been teaching children that physical violence and protracted campaigns to hurt another student physically are not tolerated, and rightfully so. Unfortunately, these campaigns also elevate verbal bullying to the same status, teaching kids that words can hurt just as much as punches. In doing so, they give more power to words than they should ever hold. “Bones heal,” they say, “emotional scars don’t.”

What would happen then, if we were to give children the tools to deal with words and take away their apparently omnipotent traits? Have we created a generation of victims by telling them it’s OK to be completely devastated by a word? That the person who said it should be punished, regardless of intent? By reinforcing this victimhood behaviour with the satisfaction of seeing the person punished harshly all the while being coddled and affirmed? How is this the preferred course of Read the rest

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Too controversial to debate: IQ’s role in education

Deplatforming has again become an issue after Teach First a UK not-for-profit organisation that recruits teachers from other academic disciplines removed an article by Toby Young director of the New Schools Networks arguing IQ was the single biggest predictor of student outcome and there were limits to what schools can do to overcome IQ inequity.

Teach First initially published the article with a rebuttal from Sonia Blandford. They later removed the article stating on Twitter: “We made a mistake. We published 2 blogs with opposing views as part of a recent debate on education. One was wrong. We’ve removed it. Sorry.” They replaced Young’s post with a longer explanation for why the article was removed. Stating that, “The aim was to drive debate. But we shouldn’t have published his blog, even with the rebuttal: it was against what we believe is true and against our values and vision. We apologise. Read the rest

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Campus censorship at UQ

The evidence is mounting that Australian universities are more concerned with protecting students from offence than upholding the free expression that once made campus life great.

Around a fortnight ago, a rally held by the no-vote campaign group ‘Our Vote, Our Voice’ at the University of Queensland made the national media when it erupted into an ugly standoff when same-sex marriage advocates crashed the event in an attempt to shut it down.

The rally started out as a fairly tame affair. The speaker stood atop a grassy knoll next overlooking a major thoroughfare and explained why he, as a gay man, did not support same sex marriage. His megaphone was loud enough to be audible, without blaring, and he was joined by a little over a dozen supporters.

Within minutes, the scene was stormed by protestors trying desperately to drown out the megaphone with their own chants.

I didn’t find … Read the rest

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No Campaign Dad shows why we need school choice

Last week, Buzzfeed reported that Steve Tourloukis, a Canadian father prominent in advertising by the Coalition for Marriage, “asked for advance notice of the mention of horoscopes, wizardry, and moral relativism so he could shield his kids from “false teachings” at school.” He later became involved in a court case in Canada against that country’s education department. The Coalition for Marriage have been highlighting this case, linking marriage equality with the controversial Safe Schools program; implying that marriage equality is a slippery slope that will lead to a reduction in religious freedom. Tourloukis’ laundry list of objections has been used by Buzzfeed to dismiss his concerns; instead what it demonstrates is how public education inevitably results in a fight to control education and why school choice is necessary.

Buzzfeed rightfully points out that is unreasonable to expect the school system to cater to every parent’s demands around what Read the rest

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