Gonski Attempt 2.0

The government announced their latest experiment on your children’s brains this week. Labelled Gonski 2.0 it is a further abandonment of common sense education in favour of unproven concepts that will cost a fortune to achieve very little.

You may recall that the government and a bamboozled crossbench threw $23 billion of borrowed money into education with no idea how it was going to be applied, no stated educational outcomes or financial accountability.

“That will all come later” the Minister told the few of us that expressed concerns. Now we know - and it has only confirmed the wisdom of voting against giving any government an ideological blank cheque.

Here are some inconvenient truths.

Our education system has been dumbed down to such an extent that almost every student wins a prize. I can scarcely imagine anyone failing their Year 12 certificate short of not turning up. There are subjects catering to every whim (some are not even educational – eg you can study boogie-boarding on the Gold Coast) regardless of their educational merit.

When you can qualify for university by learning the rules to various sports, you know our education standards have jumped the shark.

In fact, as literacy and numeracy rates are falling, more kids are going to university to get degrees they are ill-equipped to complete and that will only deliver debts and questionable employment outcomes.

Rather than tackle this decline in standards through a return to the foundations of education and some rigorous student/teacher accountability, it is now proposed to allow students to work at their own pace lest the feelings of the little darlings be hurt by grading them against their peers.

No more giddy-up from an inspiring teacher or discipline for an unruly student, each child can choose their own educational adventure. Apparently this will allow teachers to focus on the personal needs of every student.

More likely, the less motivated will simply fall further behind than they are already.

This approach will surely lead to the usual chorus demanding we need more teachers and that they need to be paid more but I’ll be surprised if the chorus line insists that teachers also be required to be good students themselves.

You see, teaching requires one of the lowest tertiary entrance scores of any degree. Qualifying to be indoctrinated with Marxist propaganda, wild gender theories and alternative history lessons to pass on to our children is surprisingly easy.

Now I am the first to admit that there are some outstanding teachers out there. They do an amazing job and change many lives in the face of incredible external challenges. The problem is those, ’external challenges’ are poison from within the system itself.

The casualty of such a cavalier approach is our educational standards.

Little wonder that more and more parents are making the financial sacrifice to fund a private school education for their children. In many instances they simply can’t afford not to.

If kids aren’t expected to get the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic right, then what chance do they have? When scores of students are graduating with top scores but still struggle to handle simple calculations you know something is going wrong.

At the risk of sounding like a parent: back in my day, when university entrance was based on five exam results, only the very best students got over 450 points. The nature of the system was that this could only be achieved through the traditional curriculum of maths, sciences and English.

Is it a coincidence that as these standards and expectations have declined, so too have our educational outcomes?

Admitting there is a problem is part of the solution. However, in doing so, the government has embraced another sociological experiment rather than admitting the system has been ruined by soggy indulgence and the flawed notion that everyone needs to go to university.

To put it simply, if what we were achieving in education so many years ago is what we once again aspire to, isn’t it common sense to return to what actually worked?

Things that make you go Hmm…

No Women Here’ in The Life of Iran but a stadium ban won’t stop this cunning Turk. The AFL scratches around to tick diversity boxes, there’s mixed messages from WA’s booze boss but this dark knight isn’t a hero we need or deserve. Australia is lauded by opponents of Trudeau’s carbon tax, US conservatives fire a pre-emptive strike on emission taxers as Peppa Pig goes dark in China. An ex-MP seeks legal aid to appeal against this haircut, Tesla shareholders move on Musk and sugar taxes may breach trade rules.

The ABC and Fairfax admit faking ANZAC news, the rule of law and niqabs clash in a Sydney court as a singer brands hotel shampoos racist. Anti-colonial name changes have minimal impact and a US college provides ‘cry closets’. British burial rites and cab-rank rules clash as the Brits also consider criminalising conventional crustacean cookery – but beware the latest culinary hazard: parmesanage.


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