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Public School spending ahead of recommendations

By Jazz 17 June 2008 39

It may surprise some but apparently the ACT has a higher ratio of investment public school facilities than private, bucking a national trend, and in theory making public education in the ACT a far better proposition than it might be in other states.

Andrew Barr has claimed that the $350 Million in capital works spending to be targeted at upgrading the remaining schools and opening a few new ones (like the ginnindera super school) is ahead of the Australia Education Unions recommendations to double spending to $4bn (nationally) in public education facilities.

ABC online and CT are both running stories which state that the ACT is leading the way on public school funding on a ratio basis.

I would content that its actually not. If every other state and territory is reversing that trend and supporting private education systems rather than public then surely the ACT is behind the 8 ball regardless of the education unions recommendations.

Personally I’m not entirely sure of the merits of having brilliant facilities if you can’t find the qualified teachers and education programs to use them.

What’s Your opinion?


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Public School spending ahead of recommendations
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nyssa76 11:07 am 22 Jun 08

I’d love to use youtube with the Sims2 to create historical ‘stories’ with students.

It isn’t goint to happen as 1) my Smartboard is constantly stuffing up (last teacher to use it broke it) and never plays sound even with speakers attached (and yes the chords to go with it), 2) youtube is a ‘no no’ and 3) so is the Sims2.

Anything interesting to students academically is frowned upon. A kid in the US used youtube with Halo 3 to do a historial report on Jesse James. It can be done.

I hate my Smartboard and have requested a projector, speakers and a computer that will actually work. Smartboards aren’t all that and at times can be a complete waste of money.

But I also take issue with the schools for using monies to doll up their school when inside really does need the money more.

peterh, there are plenty of teachers, but I can’t say that will be the case in a few years. The dept will cry foul only when it suits them and not before, despite the blatantly obvious staring them in the face.

peterh 12:47 pm 19 Jun 08

Look, the problem isn’t that the dept of ed needs more pc’s / smart boards etc, it is the effective management of these resources by the InTACT group & the department of ED.

The fallacy that a 12-month old computer won’t talk to a smart board is ridiculous. perhaps money could have been saved by using the “older” pc’s from other departments. (not using public schools as a dumping ground for pentium III systems, etc)Considering that i was involved from the seller’s perspective with intact, there are a lot of decisions that are poor re ICT equipment, one of which is this continual replacement every 12-months by InTACT for the act govt departments.

prior to closing schools down, perhaps the CMD could have saved us all a lot of money by closing down the InTACT group. why there is an ICT department that “sells” to the other departments is beyond me.

the spending reports will show this continual turnover of pc’s – inflating the perception of the total annual public school spending.

Perhaps they can look at more teachers, then worry about the ageing, dated, 12-month old pc’s….

tap 1:25 pm 18 Jun 08

They had ‘educational games’ back when I was a lad.

We didn’t play them. :p

Jazz 11:51 am 18 Jun 08

my point was more creative use of solutions to overcome a problem. I’m sure that some smart cookie could creat a great game on a WII thats also educational.

maybe a mario kart where you’ve got to drive down the right numbered tunnel based on some previous pop up question

Cantily 11:45 am 18 Jun 08

Jazz, that sort of teaching is going on every day in schools across the ACT. It just doesn’t get the same publicity that a fight on a school oval receives. We have lots of quality teachers and quality teaching happening right now. I guess that sort of story doesn’t sell newspapers. I’m amazed at some of the inventive and creative work that comes home with my kids from just an ordinary ACT public school. So much more interesting and applicable than some of the stuff I did as a child.

Thumper, you’ve jogged my memory. I was focusing on how hard we in the P&C were working for the funds for those IWB’s and forgot that our funding was being matched on a dollar for dollar basis. So we were receiving grants of 50%. My bad 🙂

Jazz 11:22 am 18 Jun 08

Dante, you make an interesting point about use of more contempory tools as teaching aids which i’m sure if correctly employed could improve results.

case in point i recall a story of a teacher (might have been in the US) who was trying to teach mathematics to a class of bored students. Being the clever sort he used practical examples of a 15% store discount on clothing that the students were all wearing to show how maths could be used in practice & how much they might pay for particular items when discounted. Unsurprisingly the students really seemed to grasp that concept.

Thumper 10:44 am 18 Jun 08

Cantily,

you’re right. it’s only about 15-20% 😉

Dante 10:30 am 18 Jun 08

It’s sad if they’ve spent copious amounts of money on Smartboards in all of the schools… You can set one up with a projector, a Wii remote, and a IR led attached to a battery and a switch…

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/245

Cantily 10:06 am 18 Jun 08

Training for using the Interactive Whiteboards is a bit of an issue. The glorious department left schools all alone to buy there whiteboards and they did so as considerable investment from P&C fund raising and school savings (no fed govt grants in sight sorry Thumper, at least not in the schools I’ve been associated with). Once schools had made a commitment to a particular brand, then and only then, did the department of Education make a decision to only support one brand. If schools hadn’t been able to mind read then they made the wrong choice. Professional development for teachers has only been provided to schools who have whiteboards form the chosen supplier. Bit of a shame really.

Still, not to despair too much. The professional development is really all about using the particular software. Teachers are very good at teaching that sort of stuff to each other, but it is frustrating all the same. As Maelinar said, its the quality of the instruction that is the most important part, not the tool. That is where the teachers need support. In that regard it doesn’t matter what brand they have.

The good news is, and it hasn’t really been publicised, is that the department has made a big investment in providing support for teachers to improve their actual teaching over the next few years, by adopting the quality teaching pedagogy model. As I understand it, this model has real benefits for teachers by providing a quality framework for improved teaching. Well, lets hope anyway.

Mælinar 9:25 am 18 Jun 08

If all of these smartboards were distributed thinly across several dozen schools that have now been shut down, it figures that the remaining schools will now be brimming at the rims since they have now been gutted.

Simple math really.

My question is more about how much extra training value does a teacher get from using a ‘smartboard’ over the more traditional blackboard ? When I was at school, it wasn’t really about how the material was presented, it was the material that was being presented that was the important bit.

Clown Killer 9:22 am 18 Jun 08

The Girls Grammar school has them in every class room. I guess that’s another example of the comparison between private and public investment.

lemaChet 8:48 am 18 Jun 08

someoneincanb: report is every classroom, in every school she has worked in.
Talking about 10 or 15 schools by now.. and no, they aren’t all in Central Canberra.

As I said, I’m only relaying information (and I do admit to some level of doubt myself to it being every room, every school)

Thumper 8:21 am 18 Jun 08

I think you’ll find those smartboards came from a federal government grant.

someoneincanb 8:15 am 18 Jun 08

EVERY classroom has a Smartboard?? She must be working in central canb. The only classrooms I’ve ever seen with Smartboards were closed by Stanhope (I acknowledge they didn’t actually wait for the school to close before they ripped out the Smartboard for some lucky school staying open). I’ve seen lots of glossy advertising distributed within open public schools about how Smartboards are coming… some time …
But Smartboards and capital works aren’t everything. Without quality teachers it is still the pits.

lemaChet 7:31 am 18 Jun 08

weighing in with someone else’s opinion, it does seem like the ACT D.Ed spends a whole heap of cash on public schools. My partner has started doing relief work in the ACT and says it’s a huge difference from NSW – every classroom here she has been in has a Smartboard in it… saying EVERY classroom.. who am i to argue, I haven’t seen them.

Anyway..those things aren’t cheap…

They also seem to have trouble actually getting teachers… she had 4 calls last night to work today. Has had several offers of contracts to the end of the year.

(I’m talking primary btw)

illyria 7:45 pm 17 Jun 08

I should clarify that my observations are purely from the outside looking in, there may be state of the art facilities “in the back” that are not evident to a passerby. But I doubt it, otherwise all those kids wouldn’t be squeezing on to the old crappy basketball court at the front every day would they?

illyria 7:37 pm 17 Jun 08

Has anybody driven past Red Hill Primary lately? There is often what looks like 2 (or more) full classes of kids squeezed onto a single basketball court with backboards that are too low and questionably well structured. In between the carpark and the main road is a hill with what was apparently once a netball court. The rings are still there, albeit bent and rusty looking. That school has high enrolments from a struggling demographic (the area behind Red Hill shops)and is so long overdue for funding it is dispicable. Those kids parents do not have the luxury of the choice of public v private.

The Government should be ashamed that any school should be without basic outdoor education facilities when they are commissioning bullshit art on the GDE.

As for attracting good teachers, how will the Government do that when the facilities are not comparable with other schools? If I was a sports teacher, I would prefer to teach the kids on the 2 brand spanking basketball/netball/tennis courts at the private school a few kilometres down the road than on a single cracked broken bit of asphalt with 30 kids packed onto it.

nyssa76 6:16 pm 17 Jun 08

darylk, it’s an election year – they count the non-permanent staff to say ‘we have plenty of teachers’.

However, they’ll soon cry ‘foul’ when over 50% retire in the next 2 years.

I personally like to see the money spent on better tables, desks, text books, ICT requirements etc than chip wood, plants, decorative stones etc that some schools are so keen to purchase just in time for the enrolment period.

Mutton dressed as lamb.

The funding has increased due to a smaller number of ‘properties’ to care for. Shame that the only ones really getting anything are the ‘Lynehams’, ‘Amaroos’ and ‘Telopeas’ of the system.

Thumper 5:32 pm 17 Jun 08

You’re correct tap. It’s smoke and mirrors.

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