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Enrollment fraud, is it more chicken or the egg?

By Joanne1987 11 September 2014 30

Last week I saw an article in the CT about parents lying about their place of residence to get their kids into elite target public schools in the ACT. It generated a lot of discussion but got me thinking about the flip-side to this debate, principals who pick and choose kids from out of area. What influences their decision making, merit of need? For instance a family friend of ours told us a few years back their child got into an out-of-area and at-capacity elite target primary school because she told the principal her daughter had a reading several age years above the national average. Conversely I was also told by a teacher friend, and I concede it is only a rumour, she was in a staff meeting where the Principal of a substantially under capacity high school told his staff he was resisting accepting out of area kids with disabilities because he didn’t want his school to be seen as “that type of school”.

We place a lot of trust in school principals but should they be in charge of picking and choosing which students they top their schools up with, particularly in an age where NAPLAN and MySchool are being used as key markers of a school and it’s principal’s performance?

What’s Your opinion?


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30 Responses to
Enrollment fraud, is it more chicken or the egg?
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MaidMarion 4:10 pm 14 Sep 14

Not all teachers are saints. Remember that teacher you had when you were a kid, they were mean, belittling, sarcastic and so obviously on a power trip? Well that’s the kind of teacher that gets promoted. I don’t know why the OP expected principals to have the integrity and to put the kid’s needs first. The higher the monkey climbs the more it shows its butt. By and large, it’s their butt, ego superannuation and self-imagined legacy that come first. Just like they wouldn’t take a special needs kid over a brainiac, you can be sure that most principals of nice middle class school aren’t about to go and make their difference in struggle town. Principals will just keep playing the system, most of them never really left school, so they know it well. Ultimately NAPLAN isn’t about doing something useful, it’s about looking like you’re doing something useful.

HenryBG 3:51 pm 14 Sep 14

justin heywood said :

Do you really think teachers put up with the cr#p that they do because they can’t get a better job?

Um…is this a trick question?

justin heywood said :

I know quite a few teachers who got into teaching for the love of teaching, many have good degrees and most could have had much higher paying, less and stressful jobs.

As do I.
I also know people who got into teaching because they are a bit useless and the idea of working short hours and having about 20 weeks off in the year appealed to them.
I also have my recollection of my time at school, where the inspiring teachers were very, very far from being the norm.
(In fact, one of the most inspiring of my teachers turned out to be a bit of pervert)

In any case, this isn’t relevant. If you are an inspiring teacher, you’re not going to object to your students being examined. It’s a useful exercise in more ways than one.
If you fear your performance being measured, then you *will* object to testing.
This is why schools that flounder academically as a direct result of the lack of skills of its teachers – prime example being the Orana School – have such a strong culture of NAPLAN-hating. The public school system, which employs ninnies on a lesser scale than Orana does, is less reactive, but still noticeably testing-averse.

justin heywood 12:44 pm 14 Sep 14

HenryBG said :

On the whole, the people who get into teaching aren’t doing it because they have the best degrees from the best Universities, eh?
How many of your child’s teachers studied at Oxford, or have a Rhodes scholarship?

Do you really think teachers put up with the cr#p that they do because they can’t get a better job? I know quite a few teachers who got into teaching for the love of teaching, many have good degrees and most could have had much higher paying, less and stressful jobs.

Don’t blame the failures on individual teachers – there are plenty of great teachers out there. I think most just want the opportunity to teach and not to deal with bureaucratic interference and chaotic classrooms.

HenryBG 12:13 pm 14 Sep 14

Antagonist said :

I should also add that the teachers that I have spoken to about NAPLAN testing do not like it either.

Of course they don’t like it.

The whole purpose of testing is to identify academic weakness.

On the whole, the people who get into teaching aren’t doing it because they have the best degrees from the best Universities, eh?
How many of your child’s teachers studied at Oxford, or have a Rhodes scholarship?

Nah, schoolteachers are never going to like the idea of examinations. Especially in the ACT where they acted years ago to give the dummies an extra leg up by eliminating examinations in favour of continuous assessment.

dungfungus 8:36 am 14 Sep 14

justin heywood said :

HenryBG said :

The “lowest-common-denominator” approach of ACT educators has driven a record proportion of parents away from the public system which they view with much distrust as a result of its overwhelming focus on pandering to the worst achievers instead of supporting the best.

Spot on. We have the highest proportion of students in private schools of any jurisdiction. Apparently, when it comes to our own children, we aren’t willing to take part in grand social experiments.

Most teachers in the ACT public education system would have difficulty in finding employment in any ACT private school. Of course, no ACT private school would admit that as it would be referred to nanny at the Directorate of Discrimination.

justin heywood 10:39 pm 13 Sep 14

HenryBG said :

The “lowest-common-denominator” approach of ACT educators has driven a record proportion of parents away from the public system which they view with much distrust as a result of its overwhelming focus on pandering to the worst achievers instead of supporting the best.

Spot on. We have the highest proportion of students in private schools of any jurisdiction. Apparently, when it comes to our own children, we aren’t willing to take part in grand social experiments.

milkman 4:02 pm 13 Sep 14

Antagonist said :

HenryBG said :

If you want to help her achieve in this kind of testing, why not sign her up for the Uni of NSW examinations in Maths, Science and English? This will give her some excellent practice at doing tests of this nature.

I should also add that the teachers that I have spoken to about NAPLAN testing do not like it either. While not all teachers will agree with that view, those teachers to whom I have discussed NAPLAN hate it. Many see it as a waste of time that could be spent teaching other things, they too see it as placing unnecessary pressure on students, and they do not think it gives the accurate snapshot that our political overlords would have us believe. Anecdotal – yes. But still relevant to the discussion.

Teachers don’t like being compared or measured. I know a number of them and whenever the subject of performance was brought up (usually by them) they started shaking with indignation at the unfairness of it all.

Based on my experience with teachers (at my son’s high performing public school) they try when they feel like it, and have quite a few gaps in their knowledge. Introducing some proper performance management would be very good for them, I think.

I think NAPLAN is fine for looking at trends, but shouldn’t be framed and put on the wall. That said, it is a reasonable starting point for assessing kids’, and schools’, performance.

Masquara 3:35 pm 13 Sep 14

Antagonist said :

The NAPLAN results were promptly torn up and tossed out the window on Athllon Drive – they didn’t even deserve to be recycled.

I put it to you that NAPLAN tests tell you one thing only: how good a student is at doing NAPLAN tests in high-pressure situations that primary school students should not be subjected to.

Hopefully your daughter wasn’t in the car when you reacted like that. It would be more productive, surely, to work out why her test results didn’t reflect her ability, and have a conversation with the school. Mind you, of course, the school probably finds that ALL the parents whose kids don’t do well think their kids are really, really bright. And blame “high pressure” on the results. When there are heaps of kids who don’t feel that pressure and sail through the tests. From a broader society perspective, if you can’t sit tests and face pressure and challenges, you won’t do well in life. Broader society doesn’t know you’re brilliant, without evidence! : )

Antagonist 2:25 pm 13 Sep 14

HenryBG said :

If you want to help her achieve in this kind of testing, why not sign her up for the Uni of NSW examinations in Maths, Science and English? This will give her some excellent practice at doing tests of this nature.

I should also add that the teachers that I have spoken to about NAPLAN testing do not like it either. While not all teachers will agree with that view, those teachers to whom I have discussed NAPLAN hate it. Many see it as a waste of time that could be spent teaching other things, they too see it as placing unnecessary pressure on students, and they do not think it gives the accurate snapshot that our political overlords would have us believe. Anecdotal – yes. But still relevant to the discussion.

HenryBG 1:04 pm 13 Sep 14

Antagonist said :

Many university students struggle with this type of testing environment. Why would it be any easier for a Year 3 student? We let her make the choice if she wanted to do the testing or not. She chose to do it. To her it was about the experience – not the results. Her attitude is what impresses me. Not her results.

And yet your somewhat startling response to seeing the results involved ripping up bits of paper and throwing them from a moving car.

I just went and dug out one of my children’s Year3 NAPLAN reports out of curiosity.
It has 5 areas: Reading, Writing, Spelling, Grammar/Punctuation, & Numeracy.
The report I have in my hand right now shows the “national average” is in the middle of “Band 4” for 4 of those areas, and at the top of Band 4 for Grammar/Punctuation.
It then shows the “School average”, which averages out across the 5 areas to being about 75% up Band4, or a fraction above the national average.

Then it displays a black dot representing my child’s scores.
In Numeracy, the black dot is at the top of “Band 6”. In the other 4 areas, the black dot is outside the “Band” box, inside a little up-arrow indicating past the top of Band 6.

Now, I don’t recall teachers at the school ever telling me my child was “among the top students of the class” or “brighter than many children”, and somehow I imagine that these impressions of yours are impressions you’ve formed yourself, because it doesn’t strike me as a constructive thing for teachers to be telling you, nor a useful thing for you to be telling your child, and obviously hasn’t helped much with her NAPLAN results.

If you want to help her achieve in this kind of testing, why not sign her up for the Uni of NSW examinations in Maths, Science and English? This will give her some excellent practice at doing tests of this nature.

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