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67 responses to “Gonski under Abbott”

  1. David Irving (no relation)

    Oh, well, I’ve been resigned to Abbott sailing into government with no policy scrutiny for months now.

    Our only hope is if he has some kind of brainsnap and treads on his dick loudly and publicly.

  2. zoot

    Somebody will have to shorten his legs first.

  3. David Irving (no relation)

    Speaking metephorically, zoot. (It’s an official Army term for screwing things up.)

  4. Helen

    The Victorian minister in the RN interview said there was one school in Geelong he’d identified which would actually get less. But he didn’t specify which one.

    Geelong Grammar, probably.

  5. Alison

    since the LNP are being allowed to do/say what they like, whatever…who cares – Labor are bound to be wiped out, mostly by their own hand, with a little help from the tea party Australian media.

  6. TerjeP

    We could take the states out of the mix if education was delivered by private schools which are federally funded. At the moment some schools are private but there is very little incentive for the sector to expand because private schools can not be “for profit” (ie have an incentive to invest in expansion) at the same time as being government funded. The net result is that private education in Australia remains non-profit and either a religious affair or an elite one (often both). It certainly isn’t for profit private schools trying to expand market share by providing a superior product at a competitive price. It’s often expensive non-profits racking it in due to limited supply and using the high fees to build grand theme parks.

    The federal government ought to change the rules so it will fund students irrespective of whether the school they attend is state run, private non-profit or private for profit. And instead of funding state schools via block grants to the states it ought to fund the schools directly based on student numbers and if the states won’t support that then send the funds via the parents.

    Pouring more funding into existing structures isn’t the way to optimise bang for the buck. And looking at the budget the government should be more careful with the bucks.

  7. Helen

    “Pouring more funding into existing structures isn’t the way to optimise bang for the buck.” Hmm, that sounds familiar. A variation on the “throwing money at the problem” rhetorical flourish so popular with the private school lobby. Why is this always what they claim for the public sector, while screaming their heads off about any loss of funds to themselves. Why, it’s almost as if money was… necessary to fund the best education!

  8. faustusnotes

    If throwing money at education problems doesn’t work, how come expensive private schools do so well academically?

    David Irving, it’s not actually an official term is it? Did Australian army reports of the WW2 era feature reports like “Guderian has laid siege to Stalingrad, it appears that he has trod on his dick?”

    Be great if they did.

    [and no I can't remember if the Stalingrad dude was Guderian].

  9. Peter Murphy

    You’re probably thinking of Paulus, faustusnotes. Although I reckon H*tl*r was the actual treader of dicks in the story: put General P. in an impossible position, refused all moves to withdraw, gave him an unwanted Field Marshall promotion, and then gets into a minor tizzy when he ups and surrenders.

  10. Paul Norton

    PM@9, as I’m still reading Antony Beevor’s The Second World War I can confirm that you’re right on all counts. Beever opines that Hitler’s promotion of Paulus to Field Marshall was his own way of telling Paulus to die a valiant but useless death in battle.

  11. David Irving (no relation)

    Well, not quite that official, faustusnote, but certainly widely used.

  12. Russell

    “WA has now been offered three times the money originally offered”

    Which says a couple of things: the government seems incredibly incompetent at doing its sums, and fairly reckless with its budgeting. Haven’t they just done a budget and made “tough” decisions about spending? Yet Julia pops over with an unbudgeted $600 million to give us.

    It’s a mess. If, after the election, we have half of the country being funded one way, and half the other, then Abbott will have to straighten the mess out, while keeping the budget under control.

    Barnett has said the new money is “attractive” so it’s only the conditions that are the problem and lord knows why Gillard wants to hang on to those. Why insist on school improvement plans etc when schools already have them, or on principals having more power when that is clearly happening already. She is badly advised and hasn’t worked that out yet.

  13. David Irving (no relation)

    Russell, it was a bribe, pure and simple. I daresay the govt’s original numbers were spot-on.

  14. duncan

    Faustus,

    that’s about as valid an argument as asking why indigenous schools perform so poorly when their funding is so much higher.

  15. Iain Hall

    Gonski will be repealed because Abbott knows that the cancer that is killing Gillard and Labor has at its heart a betrayal of an undertaking that was repudiated. (the carbon tax) so he will not want to be infected with the same disease.
    As for the numbers in the senate do you lot really think that the Labor party is any more likely to oppose the repeal in the upper house than they will be to oppose the repeal of the Carbon tax? Abbott will be able to quite legitimately claim that he has a mandate to abolish this fancy pork barrel scheme.

  16. conrad

    “The federal government ought to change the rules so it will fund students irrespective of whether the school they attend is state run, private non-profit or private for profit.”

    Terje, I’m surprised you of all people are saying the government should give free money to private enterprise (or public for that matter). Surely the libertarian perspective here is that the less government has to do with private enterprise the better? Or is free money for things you like (what next, vouchers or the rich too)?- Why not just cut private schools free and let them do what they want without government interference or subsidies?

  17. Tim Macknay

    Shorter Iain Hall: I dislike the carbon tax.

  18. philip travers

    I feel if I had one of those mortar board walkies and speech making shoulder straight like the Alexander Technique.Australia wouldn’t need a Gonski! The evidence is in.The pollies never make for a well studied response to the ongoing association with the Middle East Crisis.

  19. CMMC

    Barnett is running with this “Tea Party” – style “We don’t want the Federal Govt. taking ovet our schools” line, which brings to mind a fellow from WA I worked with in the late 80′s.

    He and his wife had moved from Perth to Sydney because employment opportunities were better. They were buying and renovating a house in Newtown, intending to sell with enough gain to buy property in WA and move back there.

    Why not just stay in Sydney? I asked.

    Because we intend on having kids and we don’t want them growing up to be gay! he replied with unexpected aggression.

    So I rather think Barnett and his macho, chair-sniffing posse are fighting back against this evil plan to gay-up their kids.

    They might also be troubled by that name, Gonski. A bit too cosmopolitan?

  20. John D

    My recollection is that the last time I saw a comparison of Kenmore state high school and top private Qld schools was that there was little difference. Kenmore is part of Ryan, the safest LNP seat in Qld. Leafy suburbs, lots of professional/managerial households etc.

    Private only looks better than public when student background is different.

  21. Russell

    “Russell, I can only tell you what I heard Gillard and/or Garrett say.”

    Brian, I think that is your political bias showing. Here’s what Garrett said:
    “The situation in WA was that when officials came down to consider the final point of a negotiated offer, WA and us had more information in front of us, which was reflected in the final offer that was made by the Prime Minister. Now, that’s because we were in a position to have that discussion with the Western Australian Government and it reflected up to date changes, particularly around things like are there teacher costs in the state, which has got a lot of minerals activity”

    This is laughable: after years of working on the proposal they got the sums drastically wrong until they got “up to date changes” such as that WA “has got lots of minerals activity”. They hadn’t noticed that W.A. was bigger than the A.C.T., that we have remote schools?

    If Pyne does anything as woeful as this “your share is $300 million, no, sorry, make that $900 million” I think you’ll be calling the situation a disgrace.

    CMMC – here is a quote from an article on The Conversation website:

    “This plan, announced in September last year, sought to place Australian students amongst the top five highest performing nations in rigorous international performance tests through a combination of additional, targeted funding using a model mirroring the Gonski proposal, new initiatives in teacher training and accountability, personalised student learning plans, greater school autonomy, and a raft of other Commonwealth initiatives.

    “These are worthy ideas, but difficult or impossible to implement and manage by a level of government that does not actually, and should not, run schools.

    “Rather than return greater power and respect to the states, the Gillard government proposed a significant increase in Commonwealth involvement and oversight in public and private education.”

    Now, as far as I can tell the things the commonwealth is demanding like school improvement plans and greater autonomy for principals, are all things the states have been progressing for the past few years. (In W.A. it’s called “Independent Public Schools”) – we don’t need the commonwealth, which has no experience in running schools, butting in.

    Everyone agrees in moving to a Gonski-type funding for needs approach, let’s just get that done.

    If it came to trust, I would much, much rather trust Barnett than Garrett who always sounds to me like an unintelligent ALP hack.

  22. Russell

    and … “The funding was said to come from ‘contingency reserve’. My understanding is that there would be some billions set aside for contingencies, but I would have thought that meant cyclones floods and the like.”

    Yes, and floods and the like are one off expenditures whereas this is a very significant ongoing expenditure increase – not the sort of thing you use contingency funds for. They’re desperate.

  23. zoot

    If it came to trust, I would much, much rather trust Barnett than Garrett who always sounds to me like an unintelligent ALP hack.

    Russell, I think that is your political bias showing.
    To me, Barnett has always sounded like an unintelligent Liberal hack.

  24. faustusnotes

    Perhaps it’s also good to take note of this: state schools do better than private schools at uni.

  25. faustusnotes

    I should add the study link isn’t given so it’s not possible to confirm any aspect of its stats (grrr!)

  26. Russell

    Zoot – I am a very close observer of W.A. politics, coming from, what I would describe as, a progressive left position. I didn’t have too much hope for the Barnett government, but I have to admit that it seems to me the best state government we have had in a very long time.

    For the past 30 years I have mostly voted Greens 1, ALP 2 – so that’s my political bias.

    Sometimes you just have to be prepared to change your opinion. I have been asking around to find out what people who have met David Wirrpanda think of him – he’s just said he will stand for the Senate for the Nationals in the coming election. I’m only hearing good things, and am inclined to vote for him. If you had told me just about anytime in the last 40 years that I would someday vote for a Country Party candidate I wouldn’t have believed you. Politics is weird.

  27. TerjeP

    However, I am ideologically opposed to making profit out of schooling. There are also strong arguments against allowing schools to be set up on elitist and exclusive selection criteria.

    I think a lot of people are ideologically opposed to profit in the education sector. But profit is a necessary incentive if you want a competitive sector because profit brings investment. Are you ideologically opposed to investment in education?

    What I’ve proposed isn’t without precedent. In preschool we have government funding on a per student basis and the sector is open to for-profit operators. For some reason we have different arrangements for older students.

  28. Chris

    Perhaps it’s also good to take note of this: state schools do better than private schools at uni.

    That broadly replicates the experience found in Australia a few years ago too. Though they split the results into ordinary state schools, private schools and selective state schools. The students from the ordinary state schools did the best at uni followed by the private schools and then the selective state schools. Though they were measuring performance relative to their tertiary entrance scores, not absolute performance. Ie. those from ordinary state schools did better on average given their TER scores, and those from selective state schools worse, but didn’t necessarily mean that those from ordinary state schools actually performed better.

    So perhaps selective state and private schools on average are better at exploting the natural ability of students which makes the decision of some parents to get their children into those schools quite rational even if it may not be fair.

    Just anecodotally I had one friend at school who was the only one in her year from her school to go to uni and although the rate of students going to uni from her school was very low, all of her siblings went to the same state school and also ended up going to uni which makes me wonder how much influence the school. Though without having a critical mass of fellow students performing well enough to get into uni I’ve no doubt that achieving a high TER score was much harder for her than me where the vast majority of students ended up going to uni (if nothing else the competitive environment pushed people harder).

  29. conrad

    “Though they were measuring performance relative to their tertiary entrance scores, not absolute performance. ”

    This is really the important part, and generally over-looked. Public school students get, on average, somewhere around 8-10 points less than private school students. Even if they are performing 2-3 points better once they go to uni, it still means they are at least 5 points down on average in terms of real performance. This difference must either come from demographic differences or because kids really are learning more in private schools.

    “So perhaps selective state and private schools on average are better at exploting the natural ability of students which makes the decision of some parents to get their children into those schools quite rational even if it may not be fair. ”

    I don’t see what’s unfair about it (perhaps excluding the bottom 10% of kids, wealthwise). If people want to have the biggest houses in the world, new cars, and not spend anything on their children’s education, am I supposed to worry when their children then don’t get into ever crappifying universities which they don’t want to pay for either? This is mainly a cultural problem, not a problem of fairness.

  30. TerjeP

    Private schools may do a little better but they tend to draw from a different demographic. My reason for wanting the sector opened up to “for profits” is because private schools, other than the catholic system, don’t currently cater well to people of average means. And the profit motive is the only thing that will see private sector investment in education expand to offer more options. Plus it would be a reform that costs the government nothing. In so far as private school students cost the taxpayer less than public school students it would actually create a budget saving over time.

  31. Russell

    I think we all know Ben Eltham’s political bias.

    He writes today of Gonski on New Matilda : “All in all, you’d have to say it’s a bit of a mess”

  32. conrad

    ” My reason for wanting the sector opened up to “for profits” is because private schools, other than the catholic system, don’t currently cater well to people of average means”

    Says who? They seem fine in my books. Are you saying the average household (see here) can’t afford it?

  33. TerjeP

    The cost of private education, other than catholic, tends to be very expensive. More expensive than educational outcomes would suggest warranted and especially so given that the taxpayer has already picked up a sizeable amount of cost (even though less than for state schools). I think the reason for this high price is largely due to a constraint in supply. And the reason for the constraint in supply is the complete absence of any profit motive to stimulate any new investment. Opening up the sector to “for profit” operators would see the arrival of new suppliers and would cost the government nothing and would tend to bring down prices over time. If there was no new supply or if nobody elected to use the new providers then the decision would cost the government nothing. If the new suppliers take market share from the non-profit religious schools then it costs the government the same but saves parents money. If the new suppliers take market share from state schools then the government can bank the savings and use it for tax cuts, better state schools, more hospitals etc.

  34. David Irving (no relation)

    I see your problem, Terje. You think of education as a market.

    I don’t think glibertarians get education. (Read that as you will.)

  35. conrad

    “On reason we’re slipping is that we haven’t been looking after the less able kids.”

    Actually, I seem to remember Andrew Leigh had a nice paper on this before he became a politician, and I believe the answer for maths is the opposite — it’s because we haven’t been pushing the more able kids (and it’s also true if you look at the extent that kids do vegetable vs. advanced maths, the former of which was almost unheard of 20 years ago).

    “Another is that some countries, especially the well-performing Asian ones, are achieving well on the measured tests because they are teaching to the tests.”

    This is just a stereotype — the only country I can think of where students simply try and remember essays word for word to write in exams is Australia (this is why many can’t write simple essays). More generally, the reason HK and Singapore are ridiculously prosperous (far richer than Australia) despite not having any natural resources is because the people are creative.

    Having worked in both Aus and HK, I can also safely say that if we are talking about lack of initiative, lack of creativity and lack of problem solving, Australian students take the cake for this. This isn’t all their fault — they have a massively prescriptive curriculum to deal with in high school (and then expect and get that at uni) and at least at the uni level it’s in part because they work too much (the most in the world) whereas many kids in Asia have the luxury of just studying.

  36. conrad

    It’s not even the gifted — this would suggest that only a small number are missing out — it’s almost anyone above average. Many schools don’t even teach advanced maths anymore (http://www.acer.edu.au/enews/2008/03/study-of-mathematics-declines) — apparently almost 40%. 30 years ago, basically every school did.

  37. Ronson Dalby

    What a pity the ALP govt in 2007 didn’t have the guts to begin winding down public funding of private (ha!) schools:

    “NSW independent schools will be close to $1 billion better off over six years under the Gonski changes than they would have been if their funding was indexed at the same rate as that for public schools, according to a new analysis.”

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/gonski-delivers-windfall-to-private-schools-say-greens-20130617-2oeir.html

    One legacy of Whitlam I wish we didn’t have.

    (I went to a Sydney GPS school but believe society would be better off without independent schools the majority of which have religious and/or ethnic reasons for their existence.)

  38. Chris

    Flexibility, accountability and a national approach. Gillard will go down in history for setting this up. It’s a considerable achievement. I don’t think there is any going back, but more work may have to be done to help it work for us.

    This will result in the even further exacerbation of:

    It’s not even the gifted — this would suggest that only a small number are missing out — it’s almost anyone above average. Many schools don’t even teach advanced maths anymore (http://www.acer.edu.au/enews/2008/03/study-of-mathematics-declines) — apparently almost 40%. 30 years ago, basically every school did.

    Because its much easier to identify students who have below average performance than those who don’t do as well as they could but still perform above average. And politicians will gravitate towards addressing what is easily publicly identifiable. That and an attitude of aiming for equality of outcome which encourages more funding to address poor performance and less to increasing high performance because it increases equality.

    I went through the school system at a time when they did have a few advanced programs, and even then in retrospect I think they greatly underestimated (and partially wasted) the capability of a significant (say ~20%) of the student population with students not given challenging enough work. Which for some can end up being a behavior problem with kids bored out of their brains.

  39. Ronson Dalby

    Brian,

    “My youngest son went to a small primary school where they combined Years 5-7 in one class”

    My experience has been that is not necessarily a negative thing if the teachers are good. I went to a private primary school in Sydney many years ago which had only three teachers for years 1 to 6 with some classes being taught in the same room.

    That primary school, for many years, consistently won the highest number of scholarships to all the Sydney GPS schools.

  40. Russell

    “it’s a competent summary as one expects from him. Describing it as a mess doesn’t mean that Gillard and Garrett have stuffed up”. Brian, I’ll save that quote to remind you, when Abbott and Pyne create a mess – it won’t be their fault, but the fault of our federal system.

    “it was published on 20 April. A fair bit has happened since.” What exactly? The part I quoted was about the conditions (more autonomy for principals, school improvement plans), the increasing federal control of managing schools, that is the part of the Gonski deal that Barnett, and Giddings in Tasmania, are objecting to. Has something changed since April in the conditions the feds want to impose?

    “Garrett strikes me as a bloke who doesn’t actually do pollie-speak all that well.” I quoted from his radio speech where he explains the jump from $300 to $900 million as a result of more up-to-date information, such as … there’s a lot of minerals activity going on in W.A. Honestly Brian, if this was coming from a Liberal minister I think you might not be quite so indulgent.

  41. Chris

    My youngest son went to a small primary school where they combined Years 5-7 in one class. By using group methods and setting different tasks for each group, the children were challenged and enjoyed learning.

    I’ve heard good things about that – and the classrooms of today are very different from those of 20-30 years ago. But I do think the combined year classes are in part a bandaid required due to the inflexibility of the public school system. In SA (and I believe other states) there are very strict age limits on when a child can start school. You can’t go to school until you’re 5. But the ability/maturity of young children varies hugely at that age – some are more than ready at 4, others would benefit from starting at 6 or even later. But the public system is completely inflexible (private schools often are willing to take ability into account) and so this inequality in ability bubbles through the system resulting in a much larger variance in capability in later years that is necessary.

    In primary schools in low socio-economic areas you have a significant portion of kids who are alienated and some of these will be overtly disruptive. Group methods won’t cope when some of them lack the basic skills (ie. they may not be able to read). In these cases you need extra resources, human and non-human, to help

    I agree, but what I think is missed is that the well above average students would benefit just as much from the same sort of intensive attention. They get ignored because they often still do well (though sometimes they do very badly because they’re bored), its just that they could do much much better if given the opportunity. To an extent selective (and private) schools help in this regard, but not all states have a lot of them and if more diverse schools is an objective then these programs need to be run within schools.

  42. Tim Macknay

    Zoot – I am a very close observer of W.A. politics, coming from, what I would describe as, a progressive left position. I didn’t have too much hope for the Barnett government, but I have to admit that it seems to me the best state government we have had in a very long time.

    Russell, I must admit that I’m having trouble understanding why you’re so favourably disposed to the Barnett government, particularly considering your stated political preferences. Would you care to elaborate why you find it to be so superior to, say, the Gallop government?

  43. Russell

    This is a Gonski thread, Tim . . .

  44. wilful

    at the extent that kids do vegetable vs. advanced maths, the former of which was almost unheard of 20 years ago

    vegie-maths, or maths T as I think it was properly called, was certainly a high school feature in the 80s. All the dumb kids did it. Probably far more use to them than my Maths B has been to me (Maths A had stats, which I did at Uni and has been the only consistently useful advanced maths I’ve required)!

    Speaking as a parent of a current primary school kid, I’m quite happy with our Victorian state school education. (Our ICSEA is pretty much a perfect split of quartiles, we are middle Australia in microcosm). The new BER building has made a big difference, and the infrastructure is otherwise a bit run down, but the teachers overall are good enough (a mixed bag, like any workforce), the Principal generates a good school culture. While more funds would surely be welcome, are they the best use of scarce resources, would they really change education outcomes for Warragul’s kiddies? Or should the money be spent on the really run down schools and the aboriginal kids in the outback? Probably the latter.

  45. Tim Macknay

    This is a Gonski thread, Tim . . .

    Fair enough. I’ll bring it up again on an open thread. You’ve been warned! ;)

  46. mindy

    @Chris – in NSW if a child turns 5 before 31st of July they can start school that year and they have to be in school before they turn 6.

    I’m all for additional resources in classrooms, we rely too heavily on volunteers as it is.

  47. Chris

    Mindy @ 56 – that’s good to hear, though I don’t see why they just can’t remove the age restriction and admit children based on their maturity (say on recommendations from kindy’s/childcare) with a guideline the average is around 5 years. SA is really quite inflexible (a couple of weeks I believe), though that may change when the system moves to single intake per year in 2014 (another bad move I think).

  48. johng

    As someone who moved from primary school in NSW to QLD, with slates at the local state school! and a church boarding school before returning to NSW for schooling at one of the protestant grammar schools (the one went Gough attended for a year or so. When he returned as Prime Minister it took the Headmaster to get the assembled parents to actually applaud!). I then finished high school in Tas, in doing so, moving from the then new Wyndham scheme, to physics and chemistry as separate subjects. It made for an interesting education.

    Although we decided not to have children, I’ve always remembered how difficult it was, and still must be for families who have to move around this ragtag mix of education systems, and the myriad other unnecessary obstacles encoutered when moving from one jurisdiction to another. Get rid of the states I say!

  49. conrad

    “But one of the bone stupid decisions was to withdraw funds from the tertiary sector, which will make teacher preparation a lot harder.”

    I don’t think it makes much difference what sort of money they throw at the problem at the university level for primary schools at the moment — if you are going to get teachers who have TERs of 50 (or less — even when I went to uni at the start of the 90s, the scores were terrible, although there were still many smart women in the system from the times they couldn’t get other jobs easily), it will cause problems. In particular, kids on the edges will never get identified and hence get the help they need early enough, despite it being fairly easy to identify most of them (although time-consuming). Many kids will also be under-prepared for high school in ways that are not necessarily obvious, and things like the NAPLAN certainly won’t capture. There are probably longer term things going on at the population level also, which I think is part of the reason maths scores are declining.

    Brian, I’m not a teacher in the high/primary school sector either. Alternatively, I once tried to implement a program for poor kids that couldn’t read in France, which didn’t work, and a lot of my work (and the colleagues that I deal with), has to do with literacy and to a lesser extent early maths. One of the interesting cross-cultural things you learn is that there are huge cultural difference between groups. In France, if you’re running a remediation group for, say, dyslexia, the teachers all want to know about it, want you to give them talks about it and so on. They’re proud be teachers and don’t care that they pay is not super and really want to learn more (I think it’s the probably because of the socialist tradition). In Hong Kong, it’s more of a nuisance but the parents are only too happy for you to try and teach their kids English (which is a program I have with a friend), and so admin people will go along with you as it makes everyone happy. In Australia, you’re basically a nuisance doing academic shit and causing them bothers and more work.

  50. conrad

    Sorry, that should be “their pay is not super and they really want..”

  51. Nickws

    Sorry to ignore policy concerns for process, but the Coalition letting Gonski bills pass through without any fuss (when surely they could have at least attempted to stall it from passing this session, like making the offer of drawn-out negotiations with Gillard on the basis of creating a programme more appealing to Coalition states), and then going on about how the senate post-election must respect teh Abbott Repeal Mandate, that sounds to me like they’ve always wanted wholecloth Gonski abolition set up as a DD trigger the moment they got into office.

    Tingle in her article sketches the partisan conflict here, but she can’t seem to come to this conclusion.

    Everybody takes it for granted that the Libs won’t want to turn education funding into a massive showdown next year. Why? Because it’s traditionally a subject that polls badly for them?

    If people think the only changes in this area we could possibly have under Abbott involves lowkey tinkering at COAG meetings, legislative amendment concessions from the Shorten Opposition, and boring whitepapers about new federalism, I disagree.

  52. David Irving (no relation)

    The thing is, Nickws, why would Abbott give a shit if this polls badly at the start of his term?

  53. Obviously Obtuse

    What the TER score people have is only marginally relevant to their ability to teach. I’m amazed at how narrow minded people are about this. As Ken Robinson (ex-professor himself) points out, there are a million ways to be brilliant and inspirational that are not captured by institutionalised examinations. Some examples he gives include brilliant musicians and choreographers, business people, authors and inventors.
    I know people who would be fantastic teachers with, for example, an impressive knowledge of metallurgy and welding, who never finished high school. It’s an incredibly diverse world out there, but many seem determined not to see it. (It’s not really a disclosure but I’m a high school teacher myself, by the way.)
    I must admit I’m often despairing of how narrow our educational offerings are to young teenagers. Perhaps school is mostly social, not academic, after all.

  54. conrad

    “What the TER score people have is only marginally relevant to their ability to teach”

    I teach people who got TERs of 50. I can’t think of anyone else that does that would even contemplate believing this. This is the type of garbage that comes out of edumacation departments (and every other department in universities now) to justify them taking anyone into their courses, including people that won’t get any benefit from them.