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Bastards. [Education”reform”]

By S4anta - 26 July 2005 33

Firstly sorry about the title of the post, but this this tweaked my melon a little bit too much.

The Canberra Times is reporting here that the Government had admitted it commissioned secret feedback on closures of schools.

Essentially, eight focus groups were set-up consisting of parents all over Canberra, and then quizzed about what considerations they make when choosing the right place for their childs education. This in itself, is not such a bad idea, after all without asking you wont get an answer. But paying them $50, and forcing them to sign a confidentiality agreement I find a little queer. In my experience, when giving money to people for their views it is very rare for them to stray far from the line that you are hand feeding them.

That is why the decision makers are bastards in my book, and the fact that the Education system in Canberra is about to be dumbed down into some mass fed homogonised American style pap. Not cool, Ms Gallagher, not cool.

What’s Your opinion?

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33 Responses to
Bastards. [Education”reform”]
Thumper 12:56 pm 27 Jul 05

“Because there aren’t enough schools in Gungahlin”

There’s bugger all anything in Gungahlin due to the absolute dogs breakfast they called planning!

And its not just people in Holt that are affected. Its that whole area, including Dunlop now, which is growing rapidly and is full of little tackers either ready to go, or already at, school.

The consultation, or lack of it, no matter what you say, is patently unacceptable. This government has obviously had an idea, thought about for a moment, realised that it wouldn’t meet with public acceptance, and so has got around it through means slightly devious.

And once again, I can see all of those primary school ovals being rezoned for residential.

Frankly, I don’t think this has much to do with education at all, and plenmty to do with cost cutting in the education field, and revenue raising from rezoning to residential, of previous, future bulldozed, schools.

stephen 12:35 pm 27 Jul 05

Market research IS good for any policy. It’s a very handy way of gauging the parameters of the debate before you go public and use wider consultation.

But this is a no-brainer – ask anyone around Holt whether they want their school closed and the answer will be no. But, if the numbers are declining, it’s in the best interest of the people of Canberra to close the school and spend the money elsewhere (new schools in Gungahlin for example). Governments have to act in a wider interest which will often not be in the best interests of those immediately affected by the decision (ie, Gungahlin freeway – should a couple of hundred people who have their backyards spoiled be able to stop tens of thousands of people getting a decent road).

Thumper may be surprised to learn that there are already schools in Canberra with over 1,000 students – Lyneham High has about 1100 foe example, and why? Because there aren’t enough schools in Gungahlin, which is where this all began. Best use of resources (and no, I don’t live in Gungahlin).

Maelinar 12:34 pm 27 Jul 05

Has anybody noticed that nobody has mentioned the student/staff ratio’s at all ? (except for here)

Given that it was a huge focus point most recently, I am suspicious that the fact that they are not mentioning it belies the fact that they are doing something that starts with ‘d’ and ends with ‘odgy’.

Thumper 9:03 am 27 Jul 05

How long does it take before previous government ideas and policies are no longer relevant to the debate?

And so what if the previous liberal government wanted to close schools. They didn’t, and they can’t.

Andrew, so it was the curriculum that was the problem? Not the fact there were over 1000 students. Have you ever considered that the two are inextricably linked?

We do not have a national curriculum in Australia and, due to education being a State responsibility, it is doubtful that we ever will. Therefore curricula is different for each state. No other state has gone to mega schools and these states have a lot more people, and therefore, one would suspect, a lot more people who know what is going on.

Canberra, as in the current Territory government, on the other hand, seems to think that it is a world leader in everything it does and appears to attempt to go out of the way to simply do everything differently from the rest of nation. Sometimes for the best, other times for God knows why.

And I won’t even go into the cycnical stuff about rezoning for residential purposes.

As well, I won’t question Gallagher and suitability and competence to oversee such a major change.

And market research is for Mars bars and McDonalds, not for bloody education! That is simply ludicrous.

I should add, as well, that it is so much harder to manage 1000 people than it is 150-200. That is undeniable. And yet it all gets back to the total lack of real consultation from the self styled king of consultation, Stanhope, who it seems, only consults on inconsequential matters, not those that actually have importance or may give an outcome that he doesn’t like.

johnboy 11:01 pm 26 Jul 05

Focus groups are common in marketting to research perceptions. Their use for political purposes are by no means accepted by the public for policy debate.

They do not constitute consultation, rather are a guide to what cyncical government can get away with.

Kerces 9:49 pm 26 Jul 05

To help us further the debate, Stanhope has put out a release ( here — I think his web people finally came back to work) to help us recall that the Liberals went to the last polls on a platform of school closure.

He says, “Unlike the Liberals, who would have simply closed and merged small, unviable schools, the ACT Government is building a better school, from the ground up, a school that will deliver a 21st-century education to the children of West Belconnen, from 21st-century facilities.”

Food for thought.


Andrew 6:47 pm 26 Jul 05

Thumper, the fact that you did no work for 3 years has little to do with the fact that the school was large… I’d suggest curriculum played a large role.

Alot of market research that is conducted involves paying people that are involved – As stephen opinted out, they do not know WHO is asking them these questions.

More feedback from the community might be nice, but we’re talking about governments here, baby steps guys. No consultation -> Some consultation -> More…

The teacher:student ratio is worked out by a “points” system. More students, more teachers. Generally (excepting extremely small schools) this means there is the same class size across the board.

I don’t see how the new school is going to be anything like the US system, excepting it’s size.

“Canberra is about to be dumbed down into some mass fed homogonised American style pap.” -> Again, that’s curriculum… Which has no proposed changes from the local government.

Thumper 3:18 pm 26 Jul 05


you can hardly call that open consultation. No-one really knew about it until it was announced.

That is defintely not consultation in my book.

As for US schools. I went to one for three years. I hated it. It was a waste of time. I did no work whatsoever and passed with flying colours. It was a joke.

Read my previous comments re this issue.


stephen 2:56 pm 26 Jul 05

Op is either a teacher or member of the ACT Liberal party but knows NOTHING about market research.

The people paid to take part in those focus groups will NOT be told who is paying for them and are free to say whatthe hell they like.

And what would you rat5her have – a government which just closes schools (Kate Carnell) or one that seeks feedback from the community guide its action.

OP also clearly knows nothing about the US school system.

More political propaganda disguised as community feedback.

areaman 12:10 pm 26 Jul 05

My understanding is that in the US they have Elementry (k-5), Junior High (6-8) and High schools, (9-12) all generally with seperate campuses. Now those schools are big, but that because they bus them in from all over, not because they cover a lot of years. Different to what the government is proposing.

I haven’t seen anything saying that the staff to student ratio was going to be any different to what it is in the rest of the system. Now I’m sure we’d all like it to be lower across the system, but this new west belco school shouldn’t have a higher or lower ratio than anyone else.

ssanta 11:47 am 26 Jul 05

Forgot to mention that Colmar Burton are a marketing ‘intelligence’ firm as opposed a group of consultants who actually have experience in delivering a viable education solution to anyone.

ssanta 11:46 am 26 Jul 05

Actually Areaman I beg to differ. If you look at the system that is proposed for the new ‘mega’ school that is due to be established at Holt/Higgins it is designed eerily similar to schools in America, in size of both years covered and student population. It is a long lamented fact that the better education systems have a lower ratio of students to staff, something that this particualr model seems to be lacking.

areaman 11:35 am 26 Jul 05

Yet more right wing bull. I love this line

and the fact that the Education system in Canberra is about to be dumbed down into some mass fed homogonised American style pap. Not cool, Ms Gallagher, not cool.

That’s not a fact, it’s an opinion, and a pretty hard to support one at that.

bulldog 11:02 am 26 Jul 05

It’s not reading that’s the problem, it’s stopping her lips from moving while she’s reading that poses a problem…

This is another example of misdirected funding and shit ideas that will ultimately mean our children will suffer.

“For God’s sake; What about the kids!”

Samuel Gordon-Stewar 10:18 am 26 Jul 05

You’ll have to get one of her assistants to read that to her, I suspect she is trying to bring the education system down to her level…I’d be suprised if she can read, she can’t even give the same story to two media outlets.


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