28 June 2006

The face of consultation: Government's public meeting on school closure

| Kerces
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Having read Bjorn_Agen’s take on the public meetings about the ACT Government’s plans for schools the other day, I decided to go along the meeting at Telopea Park School and see for myself what happened.

I am a largely disinterested observer, having no children and not knowing if I’ll even be in ACT (or the country) when I do. Also, none of the schools I attended are slated for closure so there’s no personal attachment there either.

However it was somewhat interesting to see how the Government’s system of “extensive community consultation” works.

Last year during one of my courses I was given a diagram of the levels citizen participation possible in a democracy. They are, from most participatory to not at all:
* Citizen control
* Delegated power
* Partnership
* Placation
* Consultation
* Informing
* Therapy
* Manipulation

I think what I saw tonight was probably somewhere between informing and therapy.

On entry we were given propaganda from all sides of the debate — the official minister’s statement, the union, the Liberals and the Greens (Deb Foskey herself was there shoving press releases in people’s hands). There were also Save Our Schools network flyers floating round the place. I didn’t read any of it, though my (reluctant) partner briefly perused what Clive Haggar had to say.

The symbolism of the hall was interesting. Andrew Barr, along with Michele Bruniges (Chief Executive of the department) and Craig Curry (Executive Director, I think of Southern area schools), were behind a table up on the stage and had hold of their own microphone. Us plebs (including Deb Foskey, Jacqui Burke and Vicki Dunne and about 45 others) sat in chairs set up on the auditorium floor. It was rather like being back in school assemblies, except my teachers used to stand behind a lectern.

There weren’t any children at the meeting and most attendees seemed to be parents of children at the local primary schools (Yarralumla and Forrest mainly). Oddly, there were two fellows in suits a bit outside having a discussion and a cigarette — for at least an hour. I think they might have been political staffers. Or possibly just from the hotel across the road.

I couldn’t see anyone, apart from a Canberra Times journalist, taking records of the meeting.

We arrived late and missed Mr Barr’s presentation, but could see the hypnotising green screensaver projected behind him (the CT journo kept racing up and moving the mouse so it didn’t run). Ordinary people in the audience were asking mostly sensible questions which weren’t really being answered by the minister. They were also, on the whole, allowed to ask a follow-up question if they wanted to.

Some of the questions were on the silly side, like someone (who my partner has helpfully noted as “Gentle Drone of Jargon”) who suggested that in the face of an implacable government, parents could be driven to self harm. Several parents also were concerned by the inconvenience to them by potentially having to take two children to different campuses. I’m not sure what they think is going to happen when the older of their kids starts high school and mummy and daddy still think they’re unsafe on buses.

However I thought some sensible points were raised which perhaps should be addressed by the government at some stage. These included the issue of students from NSW filling places in ACT schools (despite the priorities for student intake) and what would happen to the administrations of schools being amalgamated. Someon also raised the point that the Government appears to be being experimental with “our children’s” education and is on the one hand espousing the benefits of continuity (as in the K-6 schools) while on the other the benefits of being in just a K-3 school. Another parent wanted to know why we couldn’t see the Costello efficiency report — to which Mr Barr effectively replied because it’s a Cabinet document (I have it on good word the ACT’s own archives are due to open next year and there will be a 10-year release on Cabinet papers, so those who want to should be able to see the report in 2016 at least).

The best point I took away from the meeting (and it was quite scant pickings) was the mess of a system being proposed. If every measure outlined in the Towards 2020 proposal is taken, the ACT school system will include schools with the following year combinations: Preschool-3, P-4, P-5, P-6, 5-8, P-10, K-10, 6-10, 7-10, 7-12, 9-12 and 11-12. This in place of the general system of Preschool, K-6, 7-10 and 11-12 that we have at the moment.

I think the parents who attended the meeting may come away feeling like their views have been heard but I hope they don’t think they have especially been listened to.

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ahhh vic, it’s ok… let it all out mate.

When you acutally form an opinion on this you just come right back here and share it with us.


Absent Diane10:05 am 01 Jul 06

Hey vic you fuck 6 years olds you dirty dimwitted pedarsed faggot don’t you.

Argue the opinion don’t attack the person. Or dont have the brains captain child molestor.

Vic Bitterman9:52 pm 30 Jun 06

Pissing ourselves laughing at the redneck battlekaths comments.

She must spend her days browsing the $2 bin at St Vinnies, checking out the latest flannel fashions!!!

Obviously such a pov that she cannot afford private schooling!!!!!!!!

Go the flannel!!!! Go redneck go!!!!! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Back to the issue that started this mess….

I actually wonder how many votes this budget decision will cost the Government?

Oh God (or other secular afirmation) I’m a vegetarian!!!!!!!

SLBrown: The Dept has figures from 1997. They haven’t done a “real” audit of school numbers vs. classroom numbers in 9 yrs.

I wanted to be a person, but I’ve found it’s easier being a vegetable.

Absent Diane4:29 pm 30 Jun 06

im a hypocritical chronic fluctuator!!
in reality to dumb to know what I am…


I’m a person

Amen, Simto.

Battlekath – I’m an atheist. Or a secular humanist. You pick.

What don’t they know how many schools there are????

Feminist softhead?????

I don’t believe in feminism………. hate closed minded feminists….

Yeah, but to really stuff things up you need some form of messianic belief. Would Stalin or Pol Pot have gone quite as far as they did if their followers didn’t believe in them in an idiotic fervour?

If we keep on remembering that we’re a bit shit, really, then maybe we’ll do okay.

Anywho, it looks like there is going to be an independent inquiry into school numbers.

About bloody time.

oed definition- man – human beings in general, the human race.

feminist softhead.

i think we can conclude that the pyramids were assembled by the egyptians. the sistine chapel had a bloke pushing a brush. mona lisa didnt appear in a shaft of gods radiance. the popes ordered the crusades after cementing papal authority in the 2nd century. allah may be great but humans flew planes into the twin towers.

all works of man.

Prove that its ridiculous

that is ridiculous.

Those who ask others for proof must prove that such proof is necessary

Why ask someone to prove a belief? Bearing in mind here I do not actually believe in god myself. I believe in the power of individuals to create, destroy, to be good or evil. But then we are getting into my value system on how to decide what is good and what is evil – ie I still have a belief system that is mine to live and not to have to prove.

it is the people who are claiming that such things exist that need to provide proof.

Absent Diane3:17 pm 30 Jun 06

Michaelangelo Buonarroti always thought he was doing the work god… but that was mostly because he had some pope cracking a whip and telling him he was!!!

Of course, a religious person could equally ask you to verify that all existance isn’t gods work. You might find that hard too.

I am inspired by the works of women too … are you inspired by Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Osama, etc etc etc?

so because i dont believe in ‘gods’,’fairies’,’heaven’, ‘hell’ etc im spiritually empty ?

oh woe is me – im so spiritually empty.

spare me this shit.

all the works of man inspire me.

show me one verified example of a work of a god.


Mr Shab, you say that you’re “not a big supporter of religions”, so i’m curious to know what you DO believe?

Absent Diane2:43 pm 30 Jun 06

My intolerance does stem from fear you are dead right. Fear that our race will never evolve.

But the fact of the matter is I am really not that intolerant. I don’t go killing or persecuting churchies for being freaks. I don’t stand outside their churches and protest… I don;t spam their websites… I don’t write inflamatory letters to their organisations.

However I do discuss openly with them the different aspects of religion. I try to encourage open thought. and generally get ignored.

anyway telling me I am wrong in my convictions and attitudes is exactly the opposite of what you preach. Would you do that to religous bigots??

religions do take advantage of ignorance, so do unions, socialists, facist, greenies, developers, advertisers, right wing, left wing, centralist, educators, public servants, banks, monarchy, farmers….. basically everyone takes advantage of ignorance in some way

Mr Shab, i’m not condemning anyone for having a belief in a god. i really don’t give a shit what people believe. i just said that. what i’m against is the closed mindedness that the religions teach which is based on no fact at all. that people just should just have faith… that if something good happens, god did it… if something bad happens, it’s all apart of ‘god’s’ plan.

people are so easily convinced when they don’t know enough about something, especially when it’s a widely accepted thing.

i belive that religions are doing more harm than good…yes, people are ignorant, and religions are taking advantage of that.

more people need to stand up and not be afraid of saying what they really think.

i am against religions… not people who believe them.

I actually agree bonfire up to the softhead remark…. the world is a patchwork quilt of beliefs and all can have a place at my church of humanity (pardon the pun).

There are no absolutes just perspectives.

crazychester2:06 pm 30 Jun 06

In my mind bigotry stems from religion… and all that we want to do is end bigotry…

No, bigotry stems from fear, just like prejudice, tyranny, and the arrogance and contempt demonstrated when Barr refuses to answer his constituents’ questions. Which part of our system of representative democracy don’t you understand, Andrew?

it has far too great an impact on society for me to feel the need to be tolerant.

Intolerance, the fear of freedom. I’m sure the religious fanatics who murdered abortion clinic workers in the US felt the same.
religion has far too great an impact on society for me to feel the need to be tolerant.
abortion has far too great an impact on society for me to feel the need to be tolerant.

In your haste to condemn religion, I can’t help but feel you forget that spirituality isn’t the same thing. I’ll take Born Again’s prosletyzing and Jehovah’s at the door, in preference to your irreligious and spiritually empty intolerance any day.

BTW, I’m an atheist. You’re born, you live, you die. Tolerance is the courage to accept that true freedom means not relying on false hope. Whether your false hope is believing in life after death or a world where everybody thinks just like you.

Absent Diane1:35 pm 30 Jun 06

I would love to be all loving… but I am not sure as a planet or race we have time. Things need to be worked out.

Start by getting religion out of school.

Absent Diane1:19 pm 30 Jun 06

it won’t eradicate ignorance. But it will take out one of the leading factors.

Your equation of religion with ignorance is implicit in the statement “Think of the places that we as the human race could go if people saw life as something awesome and not just as a test to get into heaven or wherever else”; heaven being an exclusively religious construct. Although, perhaps I’m being unfair in saying you want to eliminate religion.

I agree that people need to think for themselves, but lining up religion as a straw man for your attack on ignorance does you no favours.

Also – I’ve seen a lot more people ridiculed for their religion by so-called open-minded secularists than vice versa. That’s not supposed to be representative of the world, just my little world view, BTW.

Give the religious a chance, don’t condemn them for their belief in a God. I think it’s a misplaced belief, but that in and of itself does not make them ignorant. Nor do most religious beliefs, like moral virtue (and I’m not talking “I’m better than you” stuff, I’m talking charity, forgiveness and love, here).

yes, YES!

belief in a religion is a convenient and lazy tool for people to adopt core values instead of developing their own beliefs and values.

religion is for softheads.

heheheh…and once again Mr Shab, if you read my last post i didn’t even mention religion and i’m not saying to “eliminate religion”…

I’m saying that people should be free to think and encouraged to think… either way. for or against religion, whatever.

Yes, i’m against religion and that’s my view, and one that i’m expressing openly here, but i also think that there are a lot of people who wouldn’t do that for fear of ridicule by people who refuse to openly think about these things.

I’m quite interested in all religions, they fascinate me and i’m keen to hear why people believe what they do, and what it is that they actually believe.

I went to a Catholic HS, and we were flattered to have the Christian Brother’s sodomise us because it meant they found us attractive!

Once again, Battlekath, eliminating religion will not force people to think for themselves. They will find other reasons to be ignorant and close-minded.

Attack ignorance in all its forms, not just religion as your “golden calf” of ignorance.

Mr Shab – my point is that people need to start thinking for themselves. People should be encouraged and not condemned for stepping away from everything they know and truely forming their own opinions… Not just follow things because that’s the way it’s always been. Learn about new things and not just things that are necessary…because it’s so easy to just slide through life, getting by knowing only the bare mimimum. Think of the places that we as the human race could go if people saw life as something awesome and not just as a test to get into heaven or wherever else.

Sorry – not philosophy. Rhetoric.

So it is, Mr Evil. But philosophy is much more fun.

Bonfire – banning religion from private schools? Well, you won’t have many private schools left then. I can’t see the churches stumping up for new schools if they can’t do it at least partly their way. Then we’ll all be sucking at the public teat whether we need to or not.

Battlekath – people always have their parents views foisted on them, religious or otherwise. The parents just think they’re trying to raise a good person. Religion doesn’t have the monopoly on braiwashing. Shall we eliminate parents? That will solve the problem.

A-D – you’re committing a falacy of logic by thinking that by eliminating religion you will eliminate everything bad. It’s every bit as stupid as the Evangelicals in the US wanting to make the whole world Christian.

Eliminating religion will not stop people being shit to one another. They’ll find another reason.

Gee, here I was thinking this was a thread about ACT School closures!

IMO there is no point to life, other than to see how far we can get. Religion, however, seems to always be the thing that gets in the way. Most people are born into their religion, their parents believe a certain way and that is what’s taught and passed on. if your parents are jewish then so are you…you’re taught that as a truth and therefore live accordingly. It’s not until people are older and start to question things like this that changes can be made, if they even question things at all. I think a lot of people are too lazy to look and find out more about other religions or the possibility that maybe there isn’t an almighty god. it’s just too easy to accept it and fit into that ‘god group’ where people aren’t going to harrass you for thinking otherwise. and i agree with AD in that it’s free thinking that should be encouraged, either way.
I simply think that religion shouldn’t be something that is forced upon you from the moment that you’re born. children are children and just like they’re eventually told that santa dosen’t raelly exist, they too should be told that religion isn’t based on fact. Just like children are too young to make the decision about sex, so too are they to decide about their religion…and as we don’t say that it’s ok for children to have sex with whoever we think is ok… they’re seperated from it until they are old enough to make their own decision. it should be the same way with religion.
freethinking should be taught first, before any decisions are made about life.

Absent Diane9:54 am 30 Jun 06

Thank you tempestas!!

its not just politics shab. its everywhere on every scale. Yes bad people may use it as an excuse to do bad things… but not all racists/sexist/homophobic people are bad. They just have a negative influence saying to them that niggers are bad…

Eradicate the excuse, and spend the funds on working out how to make existence better for all humans so you cut out the number of bad eggs.

Damn im hot!!! watch me dance!!

i went to both private and public schools.

i preferred the public.

however, apart from reading and writing i didnt learn anything at school.

everything i know i sought out myself. that includes my decision to enrol and complete differennt tertiary courses and read widely.

travelling the world for work and then taking a year off and wandering on my own was educational as well.

a parents choice of school is a choice they make on what social engineering they want their child to have. it needs more thought than often it is given.

however, i’d ban all religion from private and public schools.

Oh God! We’re not quoting Marx and Huxley, are we…

If you’ll forgive the hackneyed phrase, what we should be decreasing our tolerance of is intolerance, Tempestas.

Religion makes a very good whipping-boy for the secular left (and right for that matter…) but I maintain that religion in and of itself is more a force for good than bad.

George Pell is an ass. Abu Bakar Bashir is an ass. George Pell and Bashir are not religion any more than Josef Mengele is science. Religion is a comfort and guide to many who don’t feel the need to push their beliefs on others. You probably know a few of them…

The tax thing is a bit more on the mark – I think it’s a bit rich that religious groups get tax free status regardless of whether they undertake charitable work of not.

Nyssa76 it’s mostly shit-stirring. To be honest I have no problem with where people choose to educate their kids.

I am, however, amused by the fact that many in the community would criticise Governments of all persuasions for incompetence in their management or roads, hospitals, law and order etc. and then choose to send their kids to a Government school as if that sector of Government provided service was somehow less incompetently managed and delivered than all the others.

Government should be as small as possible. They should, as a rule, avoid interfering in the lives of ordinary citizens. They should provide services where the free market cannot and they should avoid competing with the free market. For me, choosing to educate my children privately is, in part, a function of acting on these beliefs.

I tend to view public education as being a form of welfare – as a option of last resort.

What’s your basis for comparison Big Al?

It’s obvious you had a problem with ONE school, but don’t go labelling all the others because you’re sore.

You can get good schools in both systems.

A private school education will always be superior to that offered by the Government Sector.

What I don’t get is why public school advocates get so agitated about it. Their indignation at anyone who makes the choice to have their children privately educated is palpable.

Religion as Marx so eloquently put it, is the opium of the people. Read Brave New World, work out how “Soma” is used, read it again and swap “Soma” for religion.
The point here is that religion has a pretty bad score card for humanity on the whole. If you have religion and it works for you that is great, just keep it to yourself. If you need to convert others so you can feel good about yourself, take self-esteem 101 or see a therapist. Religion is about as helpful to humanity on the whole as heroin is to addiction. Absent Diane is on the mark. Religion gets the tax concessions and the forgiveness of its crimes against humanity. Maybe if we decreased our great tolerance of it, so it was acceptable to practice in private and not to share it with others we might all be better off.

I decided to go to the meeting on the other side of the town. There were probably 300 people there. Nice warm assembly hall. I had no axe to grind since we no longer are of child rearing age. I left at 8:30pm and the meeting was going strong.

Most of the people were polite and did not interject, except for the Liberal hecklers at the back.

I must say that the reasoning from Barr had credibility. Schools had to be balanced across the region and it was stupid to have 5 primary schools within a 2km radius no matter how good the facilities are at this moment at the closing school.

He mentioned savings, yes savings, per school closure of $500,000 for a mid size primary school and $1.1M for a high school. Any use and thus income that the closed school can be put to, has not been considered in the savings.

Barr said teachers were free to protest about the school closures as long as they were aware of their code of conduct: political activities; private time etc.

People raised the radical P-10 schools and how it will lead to the end of life as we know it. Barr responded how Telopea Park works well with the P-10 concept, it fact it is over enrolled. Are there that many Frogs in Canberra?

Schools have closed: Ginninderra; Holder; Watson; Stirling; Woden and life has moved on.

Frankly I came away from the meeting that many of the schools slated will have to close. I am probably looking forward to having the use of some of these classrooms for the community groups I am associated with.

I’m not a big supporter of religion AD – I just don’t agree that it’s a force for evil and only evil. Politics co-opting religion for its ends is where you get evil.

As for private schools…well…let’s not open that can of worms lest we start debating the merits of the welfare state, capitalism vs socialism and where we’re going as a society when we’re here to discuss Mr Barr’s new schools policy.


Look, I’ve taught in the Govt high school system and am currently teaching in the Non-Govt system at a Catholic high school. I taught RE in Term 1 this year.

Students who enrol at the school must do religious education up to Yr 12.

Everyone’s view is accepted.

There are some great Govt schools out there and some shitty Non-Govt and vice versa.

Don’t put your child into a Non-Govt school just because of this shit with the ACT Govt. It’ll only prove my point that the school closures will do more damage than good.

Andrew Barr is an idiot. The policy *cough* is a feat of shit. The rational for closing the schools is ok, but the K-3 etc is ridiculous as is closing down most schools in one area.

Consultation for a policy must take place before the policy is accepted and then after it is accepted. I’d like to know when the consult was taken prior to its release. Where in the document is the risk analysis?

It’s obvious that their strategic management is sorely lacking and the people who will get promotions for this policy should go back to school and learn about risk analysis, among other things.

End of rant.

Absent Diane6:28 pm 29 Jun 06

Mr Shab – I do harp on about religion.. because it is something that bothers me… for too long we have all been religiously tolerant and meanwhile these religous bigots still harp on about the evils of science…and get away with crimes against humanity.. Even the creationists who believe slightly in science still bag science. I think enough is enough…. it has far too great an impact on society for me to feel the need to be tolerant. I am not going to persecute anybody of religous persuasion.. and i infact have religous family and friends… but I am no longer going to be silent… i have been silent for too many years. And I encourage anyone with an opinion either way to do so.

Schooling is always an issue that has bugged me as well…. I cannot stomach the thought of private school allowing rich kids to get any further ahead… I know that is a pretty leftist view.. and i normally consider myself pretty moderate. Just these two issues.. REALLY bug me!! and the fact that they are linked…. oohh…

The college system is the best thing about schooling in the ACT. As someone said, each class is different, with a mix of both yr 11 andf 12 students. Students are responsible for chooosing their own classes and specialty subjects. There is a huge variety of subjects – eg psychology / history of religion / motor mechanics / chinese cooking / romance literature / drama etc as well as the basics – maths / science etc. You can do vocational or higher ed subjects and students are responsible for their own attendance etc. It is a great system, and for this reason the ACT has the highest rate of retention in yr 12 in the country.
It works well, so of course the ACT govt are messing with it….

Laurie Short6:10 pm 29 Jun 06

Maybe I should have been clearer in that you can send your child/children to a school for the quality of education first and foremost while the moral/ethical framework that the school operates in could be a secondary or less important consideration unless, of course, you find it so objectionable that it overrides the quality of education.

The assertion that a religion is shoved down anyone’s throat who has attended a school with a eligious affiliation is as much of an assertion that anyone who attends a public school has secularism shoved down their throat.

Bah dissenting member of the public! I’ll swallow your soul!

…and what’s with the hand gesture. It reminds me of the dude in “Temple of Doom” that pulled people’s hearts out through their chests!

Just look at those red eyes on andrew barr. evil!!

Battlekath and A-D, as per form, fulfil their role as our onsite anti-religion cheersquad.

Battlekath – I can’t speak for all religious private schools, but the religion lessons I received at my religious private school were suprisingly open-minded and covered more than just Christianity (and more than just Judeo-christian religion, before you ask).

Religion is not taught “alongside” science. The school I went to either kept them very separate; or basically said “well, the bible doesn’t have ALL the answers…”

You stated that you wouldn’t send your child to a school who’s ethos you disagreed with…then why implicitly snipe at people who send their children to a school who’s ethos they agree with?

A-D – you and I tend to agree on a lot of things; but your constant harping against religion makes you sound like an angst-ridden teen who’s been listening to too much Slipknot.

Your blind assumption that all religion is bad, and all religious people are brainwashed or stupid IS bigotry. You are making a blind assumption about people from a preconceived idea. If that ain’t bigotry, I dunno what is.

Religious people can be bigoted too. But two wrongs…

Also, blindly saying “take money from the private schools and give them to the public schools” is all well and good…but exceptionally naieve. It costs the govt less to put a kid through a private school. Rich people send kids to private schools. I view it as an “education levy” on rich people.

‘sides – can you imagine if every private school kid went and enrolled at their local govt school? The system would collapse. And quickly. I think they tried your system in NSW in the 60’s. Rev. Mannix told all the Catholic parents to go and enrol their kids at the local government school. I believe the idea was VERY quickly forgotten.

simto: Yeah I realise that yr 11 and 12 are non-compulsory in NSW too, my point was just that here compulsory and post-compulsory students aren’t in the same school.

The other difference is that the college system of classes is structured in many ways more like uni or tafe than high school (for example, you don’t have year 11 classes and year 12 classes, you just have a bunch of classes which you can pick and choose from – so you tend to have a different mix of peers in every class you’re in, and most classes tend to be about half-half year 11 and 12 students). It’s also more self-driven than high school – ie if you skip classes the teachers don’t really care or say anything, you just fail.

“Sheesh can’t you decide to send your kids to a private school because you think they might get a better education whatever you think of their moral framework.”

frankly, if i disagreed with the moral framework of a school there is no way i would send my children there. that is the stupidest thing ever. you might want to think about that before calling ME un(e)ducated.

and SLBrown – firstly, if you’re going to argue with me, please get my name right. secondly, i’m not arguing that public or private schools provide a better education, simply that i think it’s wrong to teach children things as though they are facts, which most private schools do by making religion a class alongside science and history.

“Sheesh can’t you decide to send your kids to a private school because you think they might get a better education whatever you think of their moral framework.”

frankly, if i disagreed with the moral framework of a school there is no way i would send my children there. that is the stupidest thing ever. you might want to think about that before calling ME un(e)ducated.

and SLBrown – firstly, if you’re going to argue with me, please get my name right. secondly, i’m not arguing that public or private schools provide a better education, simply that i think it’s wrong to teach children things as though they are facts, which most private schools do by making religion a class alongside science and history.

Absent Diane5:01 pm 29 Jun 06

A fail to see how hating religion and not wanting children to have a religious upbringing is bigotry. In my mind bigotry stems from religion… and all that we want to do is end bigotry… so that science can run free and human kind can achieve its potential instead of living a fantasy.

No doubt that a child who goes to private school will invariably choose their own religious destiny.. but it doesn’t help that they have that crap shoved down their throats.

And if governments offered no help to private schools… and gave that funding to public schools.. our kids as whole would be better off.

My point is still made… i am not a religious person myself.

But I believe that the state education system has gone down to the lowest common denominator. My daugther recently changes from a public sector high school (not slated for closure) that issued report cards that didn’t provide feeback which were made by a patchwork quilt of interested and disinterested teachers. The classrooms had not been updated since adam played fullback babylon (yes I know what it should have been but i can’t spell it – but I think BattleKate was on the cheersquad).

In this school the teachers are enthusiastic, friendly, happy and helpful. teacher regularly send emails to parents informing them on what the kids are doing, what are the challenges how they behaved on school excursions (in the positive) and what the school is trying to achieve. Its been a breath of fresh air!!

And no the kids are not drones they are thriving iPODs and mobile phones are actively encouraged they do their lessons and homework on laptop computers.

Laurie Short4:40 pm 29 Jun 06

Sheesh can’t you decide to send your kids to a private school because you think they might get a better education whatever you think of their moral framework.

Its pretty clear that some people on this website don’t need to be ducated to display their bigotry.

As a graduate of the NSW school system:

1) Years 11 and 12 were non-compulsory – you could try to get a job or enter a TAFE course with a school certificate (admittedly, it would be more challenging, but it’s probably the same in the ACT).
2) Major Exams were at least six-monthly.

So the only difference appears to be that you’re being isolated from the 7-10’s in the ACT system. This also means that teachers are not teaching the entire range 7-12, so presumably there’s a fair bit of duplication going on.

Woody Mann-Caruso4:14 pm 29 Jun 06

Woody Mann-Caruso: what’s a PSMPer?

Sorry – Public Sector Management Program – postgraduate certificate course for middle managers coordinated by the Australian Public Service Commission. On reflection, it’s not surprising that the “ladder of participation” would show up in other places – it’s been around since 1969! If you’re interested, you can save $6000 and read the PSMP stuff online – check out Topic 4 of Unit 2 here (PDF, 2.34mb).

anglophile?… that doesn’t even make sense.

i make sure that i hate ALL religions equally!

sounds painful

Woody Mann-Caruso: what’s a PSMPer?

I was given that in a course about local government.

It’s been a while now but when I went through the ACT system the exam periods were quite intensive, and occurred more than once every two years.

May Allah be with you BattleKath you christian-centric anglophile

well, that’s debunked my argument.

DAMN IT!! jesus wins AGAIN!


While not against the college system… when I moved here from Sydney for Uni. I noticed that the kids from the college system coped better with a lack of structure (ie tutes etc), but were unable to cope with the prolonged exam period – in the NSW HSC system you did 5 or 6 exams over a two week period. I don’t think you do that in the ACT

I don’t think the children are confused………

biogaz78: The ACT college system works well to prepare students for tertiary education, as it’s a kind of half-way house between high school and uni. It also fosters an atmosphere more conducive to productive work than high school, because it seperates out post-compulsory students (ie, attending because they want to be there) from compulsory students.

“Yes … that’s right that big bad private system is no good. Look theres one being closed down right now as parents rush their kids out!! ”

…they also do a good job of confusing children about what is fact and what is fantasy.

Woody Mann-Caruso3:32 pm 29 Jun 06

during one of my courses I was given a diagram of the levels citizen participation possible in a democracy

If you’re a PSMP-er (going out on a limb here – can’t think where else you might’ve seen that particular diagram), then you’ll know that our pluralist society makes it infeasible for government to offer participatory democracy to everybody, or even to signficant minorities. Even where it is feasible, it isn’t necessarily wise to allow a small number of affected parties to steer broad policy directions for the whole community. Suppose for a moment that the Stanhope government had allowed parents from affected schools to shape policy – the schools would simply never be closed, regardless of whether they were economically sustainable or equitable or not (until, at least, the little darlings had moved on to high school or uni, after which I suspect nobody would give a toss).

When there are diverse views about an emotional issue, and when there is a clear loser, governing at the top end of the participative ladder makes no sense, because there are too many voices and too much subjectivity. The government must undertake an independent, objective analysis and make a decision that is in the best interests of the society as a whole, and of future societies – not a decision that will placate a vocal or well-organised minority, or guarantee re-election by offending nobody while policy challenges remain unaddressed.

IMHO, their biggest mistake was “consulting” at all. Just hold information sessions, and leave it at that. “We’re here to explain why we made the decision we made, so that we are transparent and accountable. We’re not changing our minds, because we think it’s the right decision, and that ew made it the right way – we’re just telling you about the decision, why we made it, and how it will affect you. See you at the polls.”

Absent Diane3:30 pm 29 Jun 06

“Yes … that’s right that big bad private system is no good. Look theres one being closed down right now as parents rush their kids out!! “

they do a good job of producing bigots and sheep.

Geez get a grip people.

Yes … that’s right that big bad private system is no good. Look theres one being closed down right now as parents rush their kids out!!

that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? fear.

tell the children that if they’re not good they’ll go to hell.
no wonder the churches are so interested in children… they’re much easier to fool.

Absent Diane3:08 pm 29 Jun 06

you forgot to mention and ‘get raped by those lovely christian priests…’ Lovely!

yes… send the kids off to a private school where they’ll learn about religion and never have to think for themselves again.

Laurie Short1:50 pm 29 Jun 06

As someone with children who was considering sending them to the local public primary school I am almost certainly not going to do so now.

After being schooled in Adelaide I find the school system here to be somewhat messy.

South Australian public schools generally come in one of two varieties; Reception to Year 7 (Primary School), and Year 8 to Year 12 (High School).

Why does the ACT need to have so many ‘colleges’ separate from high schools?

Absent Diane12:28 pm 29 Jun 06

we need to clone kerry obrien


i think you will find if you peruse the terrirtories accounts that the act receives extra funding to account for nsw residents using act services. iirc it comes in the form of extra gst payments (but i could be mistaken, havent had a coffee yet).

i wonder why politicians are afraid to answer questions. do they think we cant tell they arent answering the question.

we need to clone kerry obrien.

Pol Pot used to smile a lot too – while he was having people executed!

Interesting that Andy has the devil’s red-eyes in the photo.

The old warhorse in the middle looks like she’d eat small children for breakfast!

Why does Barr smile all the time? It annoys me.

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