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Holistic cures for school snobbery

30 August 2012 | Ellena Savage

No snobsOnce, my mother reprimanded a young student whom she taught at an expensive private school. The boy replied that his dad could 'buy and sell' her. As easy as it would be to conclude that private schools breed poor behaviour, rude children are just that — class has little to do with it.

Villains of Australian education funding

23 August 2012 | Dean Ashenden

David GonskiTeacher organisations have advocated for one sector rather than opposing the whole flawed structure. Catholic bishops have insisted on public subsidies for avowedly exclusive schools. Governments have adopted policies which have entrenched a socially counter-productive organisation of a major public institution. How many more generations has this scheme of things got left to run?

Battle for the 21st century classroom

11 July 2012 | Dean Ashenden

The classroom — one teacher, one group of students, usually of the same age, one rectangular space, door closed — is the great survivor of schooling. It has been depicted as a contest between 'teacher-centred' and 'student-centred' pedagogies. But in the age of technology there is a new contender for dominance in the classroom.

50 years since Australia's 'most poisonous debate'

08 July 2012 | John Warhurst

Labor speechwriter Graham Freudenberg observed that ‘the oldest, deepest, most poisonous debate in Australia has been about government aid to church schools’. The most dramatic episode in the history of church state relations in Australia was the Goulburn schools strike, which took place 50 years ago this month.

Teachers are wrong about performance pay

13 June 2012 | Andrew Hamilton

Performance pay for teachers The Victorian Government plans to introduce performance pay for teachers. The teachers' union has objected on the grounds that teachers are special. Its argument is faulty. Performance pay is not wrong for teachers because they are special, but because it is wrong for everybody.

Teaching students to fend for themselves

23 May 2012 | Dilan Thampapillai

Rose Ashton-WeirThe lawsuit launched by a student against her former high school for failing to get her into her preferred university reveals how far we have drifted from notions of student responsibility. Teachers do need to be supportive, but they are not the single most important determinant in student outcomes.

Thought under threat at Australia's universities

22 May 2012 | Paul Collins

The Music bannerThe Australian National University vice-chancellor's proposal to asset-strip Canberra's School of Music prompted the biggest university demonstration in 30 years. ANU isn't the only uni in financial stress, thanks to successive governments' under-funding of tertiary education and user-pays attitude.

No easy cure for 'cost disease' in Australian schools

06 May 2012 | Dean Ashenden

medicine in spoonThe Productivity Commission Schools Workforce report released on Friday does contain evidence of the dire state of productivity in Australian schools, but it is largely neutered. It's as if the Commission was anxious to avoid stating too plainly a disease for which it can suggest only palliatives.

Schools confront the globalisation of superficiality

26 April 2012 | Greg O'Kelly

SuperficialityIn 2010, Kevin Rudd asked Fr Adolfo Nicolas SJ, the international leader of the Jesuits, what he believed to be the major challenges facing western society. Nicolas replied 'the globalisation of superficiality'. Educating for depth and discernment is one of the biggest challenges facing teachers today.

Better results from a classless education system

15 March 2012 | Michael Furtado

Blackboard dollar signGiven that Catholic and independent schools tend to produce better results than government schools, one would expect to be able to demonstrate that the non-government sector adds more value to a student's education. The evidence does not bear this out.

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