16 April 2013

I am wondering if any of the government actually knows the state of our schools.  I am wondering how much true feedback they get on the high schools in particular.  I am wondering if my local high school is one out of the box or indicative of many.  Is it just a case of money or have we lost our way with guiding our young people.

Primary school seems to run along such a different line than secondary school.  Is that because the secondary schools are so impersonal with so many students and so many classes?  Even though our first thought concerning discipline is the ruler that we felt across our hands ..... should we get over ourselves and rethink discipline.  Figure out how to keep discipline and direction in our high schools, getting through to our kids that they are moving closer and closer to taking on the entire responsibility of their lives.... and that they should see the value in what we have to offer.

I hear a lot of talk from the teens in and out my front door about depression and anxiety.  I believe of course that these mental and physical stresses / illness do exist.  But I do wonder if the teens themselves have misdiagnosed their feeling.  Perhaps they dont have anxiety anymore than we did. They will survive.  It is pressure and hard work to complete pieces of work, to study and complete exams.  But with self discipline and routine and help.... humans are equipped to handle quite a bit of stress and the good news is that at the end of it all... you have your education, your training, your job, your wage and your freedom, your home and your friends and your own family.  It is the circle of life and we are built to cope with it.  Like any generation there are people who need counsel and perhaps medication.  I believe somehow us adults have left the teens flapping in the breeze through removing ourselves from their lives.  So they feel the stress and the worry of realising there is much to learn, much to do, feels on their shoulders alone.  We somehow have left out the support and the reassurance and the praise and the security that we should be offering them.

It has been a mistake for my generation to say it is all too hard and that our children cant mentally or physically cope.  My year in high school was the first year when your entire year 12 DIDNT depend on one final exam.  Well that system was crazy.... a gradual build up of marks is sensible.... but in the thick of it, of changing the system why were the adults not clever enough to change the ruler over the knuckles but keep discipline and direction and pump in some care and love but hang on to control and keep order.  Hold teenagers up as valuable and capable.... but hold them back as young adults who still needed support and direction.

The move by the federal government to take money from university study programs / scholarships / whatever and give it to the state primary schools provided the states come up with substantial funding too.... well it seems to be robbing Peter to pay Paul.  Which I would say isnt unusual for this government.  Let's reflect on them first getting into government, the Liberal government leaving a substantial surplus, and the new government thinking it was a nice idea to give families a couple of grand each to keep us out of trouble with the financial collapse in USA.  As it turns out, and dont you wonder why they didnt know more about financial matters? as it turns out, we really didnt need to keep spending for our economy to grow.  We keep growing, our interest rates are down.  This year they hit single parents with a drop in support and a demand that they find employment.  I would say most single parents just about go out of their brain with the lonely repetitive duties that is their life and that they are happy to find work. Trouble is... there isnt work there to have.  There is casual, unreliable, impossible to find work.  There are employment agencies who rule your life but who dont help you.

My son attends state primary school.  Last year when the therapist who signed off on his being intellectually disabled changed her mind, the school representative said to me "she is a silly duffer".  Note the quotation marks.  After a certain amount, NO money is going to raise the standard of care and of education within our state schools.  What is needed is individual teacher and headmaster education and a sense of responsibility.  Teacher on going education and training, accountability and goal setting needs to be in place.  Im certain responsible teachers would see measuring their performance as a matter of pride.  For those who insist they dont want it..... one might ask ....why dont they want to stand accountable?  arent they drawing a wage like all the rest of us?  arent we all subject to reviews in the workplace?

I agree with our prime minister that education of our children is vital.  I would argue, especially since manufacturing has moved from our shores over to China, Bangladesh and India..... that professional are vital to our future comfort and success.  We need to fix our lower school system but putting our universities out of reach isnt the answer.

And while we are focusing on our universities..... as a final thought for today..... we might ask ourselves.... what kind of university system is allowing students to complete their Bachelor of Education while remaining substandard in the areas of english and mathematics.  Especially english.  Ive only studied a few units of a BA but I just cant imagine any of the lecturers passing me if I couldnt successfully complete a written english task.  Why on earth would the current government need to put a testing / assessment body in place to test students who have a BA and wish to go into teaching?  That has to be labelled as madness.  Those universities passing students on any other standard other than quality work that meets the Australian standard required by education measures and employers have made themselves worthless.

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