Greg Sheridan wrote an excellent article, in The Australian, about Gonski 2.0. So, having been a secondary school teacher for 25 years, it got me thinking.
There is the problem when both major parties are convinced that throwing money at a broken education system will somehow lift our education standards. This is a nonsense and the average bod in the street knows this. The politicians, on the other hand, have become so persuaded by the ‘outcomes’ jargon of their education experts, who themselves have been thoroughly so cleansed of common sense, that they have lost touch with the real world. Politicians are not clear headed about the corrosiveness of the teacher training institutions, because most of them went through the same universities, with the same ideologies informing the so called trainers of our teachers. So of course the pollies don’t ‘get it’.
So let’s be clear. Step one ought to be finding a way of winding back on the lack of discipline in our schools, and Greg touches on this, but it needs to be the underlying premise before anything is done.
This need not be the unyielding dictatorial regimes, in some of the Asian schools (indicated by some of The Australian readers) but simply a clear line of authority. If the conditions are there for children to be able to focus, listen and yet enjoy the learning process, then academic standards will improve exponentially.
The notion that one idea is as good as another is corrosive. The belief that the ideas of the teacher, with their years of training and learning, their greater maturity, more extensive experience, all of this being no better than that of their individual students is a nonsense, and yet teachers are taught to bend over backwards in the make-believe rubbish that the entire teaching learning process is a level playing field. This is not the case: there are those who teach and those who learn, with knowledge being that which connects them. It has always been this way (up until the 1980s).
We need politicians with the gumption to take a blow torch to our teacher training colleges, followed by the decontamination of the universities they’re attached to.