There are many, many theories about how best to educate children and they overlap, contradict and borrow from each other. The “silver bullet” of education is probably so elusive because no two children are the same and no two children will respond in the same way to the same teaching approach. This is what makes teaching so challenging and enjoyable: the constant need to assess one’s own methods against the unique needs of the 20-odd kids in the room and adjust accordingly.
Education policy is much the same, in that there is no one correct way to spend money on it. But that doesn’t stop keyboard warriors who haven’t been in a classroom since grade ten from lecturing the government about getting it all so terribly wrong.
Mr Akerman reckons that the Rudd government is “shooting blanks” in every policy area, which makes his next metaphors about the government “shooting itself in the foot” and “slamming slugs into the working Australians it claims to represent” a bit bizarre given that Rudd apparently has blanks in the gun.
Piers sees in the education policy of the Rudd government nothing but a pernicious Leftist plot to redistribute wealth from “the hard-working and prudent to those who are, for whatever reason, in a worse financial position.” Piers doesn’t like education funding based on socio-economic demographics — because that’s, like, communist and stuff — instead preferring funding directed to low-achieving students. Doesn’t matter at all that there is a correlation between socio-economic status and academic performance. (That’s not to say that low socio-economic status is the only factor in low performance, or that it always equals low performance, but low academic performance is more prevalent in cohorts of students from low socio-economic backgrounds than those from higher socio-economic backgrounds.)
However, it isn’t long before Piers gets to the actual point of his piece.
Why is the Rudd Government so pigheadedly ignoring educational realities? The answer may lie in remarks Professor Dinham made to The Australian when he said that many people, including practising teachers, “still subscribe to, consciously or subconsciously, various forms of social determinism, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary”.
That is, they believe that kids are blighted by their post codes, by their heredity, by their parents’ income and approach their education from that perspective rather than looking at low performers and low-performing schools and trying to address their particular problems.
It’s the filthy, socialist teachers! Of course! If only those teachers voted Liberal everything would be okay!
But wait, there’s more. Kevin Rudd and his government make their education funding decisions (wrong decisions, by the way) because of the money that teachers’ unions “pump” in the ALP.
Teachers are often activists in their community and Labor panders to them – even when it means going along with a second-rate approach to education.
It’s a trifecta of evil: teachers, unions, Labor.
Basically, the short version of Piers’ article is that low-achieving students need extra education funding, and even though the Rudd government is attempting to do just that through increasing funding to student demographics that feature a high level of low-achieving students it’s wrong because of… well… just because. Unions, socialism, booga booga.