Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Mary Louise Michie; career ended

A bit of a disturbing story coming out of the Northern Territory today; a long serving Teacher, possessing an excellent record, has been placed on a good behaviour bond (and can never teach again) because a student sustained the grievous injury of … a swollen thumb. There are many things wrong with this story and fault lays all over the place – but to think a teacher’s career can be ended instantly (as you’ll see below) over such an incredibly minor instance is mind-boggling to say the least.

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Some think of the current Pope, despite his remarkable resemblance to the Emperor from Star Wars, is infallible due to his direct line of communication and hand chosen nature with his particular deity. Others just happen to think he’s an incredibly ignorant throwback to a time when theocracy’s were common and life, in general, was pretty horrid. This particular pieces of news really does seem to back the latter opinion to a fair degree, since ol’ Darth Pope is calling sex education an attack on religion. Undoubtedly your jaw is hanging open right now, your brain going into a state of mild shock at the sheer … I can not even think of the proper term for such an ignorant notion. Education, all factual and true, as an attack on religion. What?

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nci_classroom_2_imagelargeLast night SBS had an edition of their usually excellent ‘Insight‘ program, where people involved in a modern issue come to say their piece in an attempt to deliver and overall balanced snap shot of the story.  Last night was based on the issue of the creation of ‘League Tables’ and transparency within the Australian education system.  Present was Australian Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard who also serves as Minister of Education.  For those who are not in the know, the current Australian Federal Government want to basically overhaul the existing education system and make it considerably more like the United States and United Kingdom models, which is an incredibly bad thing, but you would not realise that from the somewhat one sided presentation given by Insight.

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The United States of America has the questionable honour of possessing one of the worst educational systems in the developed world.  One of the worst aspects of this system is the policy known as ‘No Child Left Behind’.  At the core of NCLB is the idea that if a school does not perform up to standards then funding to it is reduced.  This, even to the most dense of people, should set off all manner of alarm bells in peoples heads.

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educationI have commented before how the previous Australian Federal Government had little to no clue about how to run an effective education sector (here, here, here, here and here).  Sadly it would seem that the current Federal Government is just as bad, trying to introduce measures which are, to say the least, expressly counter productive to the desired goals.  Julia Gillard has come out and said that schools will be compared to each other and the results published for the public to see.  Why is this a bad idea? Why will it only cause problems?  Read on!

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deliverance_dueling_banjosCertain parts of the United States of America have a long standing reputation for being dens of ignorance and general stupidity mixed with a generous helping of inbreeding and intolerance.  Is this reputation deserved? I have no idea but stories like the following are certainly cause for huge concern.  The story concerns a teacher named Richard Mullens who, judging by comments left by students on various websites, seems to have been quite popular and respected.  He was accused by a parent of being ‘too liberal’ and ‘an atheist’ despite no evidence yet being available to support either accusation (and even if true, neither is anywhere near enough to fire a teacher).  The Principal met with some people such as the School Board and (apparently) the local church minister and Mullens was shown the door.

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santa-knew-too-muchA story came out a couple of days ago about a substitute (otherwise known as relief or supply) teacher who happened to inform the class she was taking care of that Santa Claus does not actually exist.  The result?  Parents complained and the teacher was effectively fired from working at the school ever again (and most likely any other school in that area).   Was what the Teacher did the right or wrong thing?

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