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SOS jump the shark

By johnboy 9 October 2006 27

As usual in ACT politics the wicked and the witless are dominating both sides of the argument over school closures leaving sanity sitting hapless by the wayside.

On the one hand the 20-20 program of school closures is manifestly incompetent, the consultation process is a sham, and the implementation is astonishingly botched.

For all that there are many schools that certainly should close.

On the other hand the “Save Our Schools” campaign is being utterly unscrupulous and at times downright dishonest obviously having decided that their ends justify their means (they never do).

Case in point a story on the ABC this morning in which SOS rolls out american research showing that small class sizes produce better outcomes for poor students (or “students with a low socio-economic status” if you’re a wanker).

They then make the inference that small schools provide small classes when in fact the reverse is often true.

UPDATED: It appears it is the ABC that has brought class sizes into the argument and the SOS media release only considers school sizes. However I remain dubious as to the value of US research as they tend to have independent school boards and their median school sizes are MUCH bigger than anything we’re used to.

What’s Your opinion?


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SOS jump the shark
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nyssa76 9:07 am 11 Oct 06

Furthermore, the Middle School document (ACT) relied on US/UK research to determine that smaller classes and teachers teaching more than 1 subject were imperative to learning.

Class sizes can reflect school sizes, however, with creative accounting, you can have large classes in large schools and small ones in small schools etc.

Are we going to survey every student in the ACT to determine whether or not they need or want class sizes of 20, 25, 32? Their parents and teachers will be able to assist in determining whether a small class or a large one would assist the student’s learning.

However, we’ve been kneecapped and what we want doesn’t mean shite.

By denying those students, who need smaller classes/school, we are effectively forcing them to fail. They will get lost in a class of 32. I’ve seen it many a time. I’ve taught Learning Assistance and students who are in the class “blossom” with more 1-1 attention.

I truly hate 2020 and it’s puppet, Mr. Barr.

miz 9:49 pm 10 Oct 06

Thanks Nyssa 🙂

Kayellar 12:10 am 10 Oct 06

I suppose the fact that I am not a parent probably does not help make me appreciate the arguments put forward by SOS. I have to say though, looking from the outside in, I think that this whole incident has shown that as a community of ‘educated’ adults, we really know how to act like a bunch of spoiled 3 year olds!

I think that both sides of this argument have shown little regard for the other side, and the more each side refuses to listen the more the other side wants to make sure that they are heard until this turns into a screaming match.

Having said that, I believe that SOS is not doing many favours for itself with its roughshod approach at throwing out erroneous statistics at a rate that would baffle the ABS and might eventually hit the mark some time. The Government on the other hand is not winning much support because of the lack of solid information that it is providing to a group of people who are about to go into early on-set menopause because of the stress of having to work out how to commute their child to the dilapidated school in the next suburb, even though they were driving them down the block to the dilapidated school they are currently going to.

I am curious of the rationale behind the Governments approach to this situation. I appreciate that they have a majority ATM, but it is not that long before we have another election, and because from what I understand the closures are being dragged out over 2 years, people will still remember this when they vote because the SOS signs will be banged onto the side of the voting booths!

I have to say that I have not been following this terribly keenly, because as I do not have kids, and god willing, never will, I do not fully appreciate the pressures of schooling are upon a family. I would like to think that the Government is at the moment putting ideas out into the open for debate (and let’s face it, there’s more dignity and profoundness in the hoky-poky) and keeping its options open.

Perhaps… and this is just throwing out an idea into the fire… just maybe… the Government might actually know what they hell it is talking about and that they are sitting back and enjoying watching people make absolute dicks of themselves trying to impress with their statistics and the Opposition falling over itself and Deb Fosky to get a sound bite about the schools closing.

But then maybe the Government might also be using this as a perfect opportunity to get voted out, by infuriating enough people with some over the top and unlikely ideas, they are single handedly trying to rid themselves of the burden of balancing a budget that is in disrepair and always having to be bloody accountable and scrutinised, as well as simultaneously building communities with the bonding over this ‘debate’…. can we see the logic… are you keeping up?

On the other hand, they could just be trying to get rid of some pesky schools… because there is nothing more satisfying than slightly irritating someone to the point where, if they were to go off at you, they would look a fool, because its not really that big an issue in the greater scheme of things. I get concerned when I hear some of the arguments about particular ‘special classes’ being run out of particular schools. Now I have a *bit* of involvement in the schools (at the highschool and College levels, particularly with people involved with these programmes) and from what I understand, some if not many of these programmes exist in multiple schools. And even if they don’t, maybe… wait for this… the class might be able to move WITH the students!!! I have not actually heard anyone on either side suggest something as bloody obvious as that.

And by the way, having spent a serious amount of time in one of the particular institutions looking at being closed, it couldn’t happen sooner. It is miserable, impractical and you can see where efforts have been made to fix it up, but because it way have been perfect 50 years ago, does not mean it is crash hot now. It would probably… and I am not an expert on this, so don’t quote me… be cheaper to turn the buildings into facilities for Community organisations (or similar) than to refurb into a decent school. But then, it would make even more sense to sell the entire thing, demolish it, and build something new… more apartments, a sporting facility, offices, or worse yet… a new school…

*phew*

Well, I think I have had that on my chest just a little too long… I know I have not solved any problems, or even added anything worthwhile to the debate, but I really feel I need to have said that. I know that I am but a mere pleb, but they are my thoughts, and just a (in)valid as the diatribe that has been laid before this.

Special G 11:35 pm 09 Oct 06

Its the whole whiteboard thing again. No one can justify how they came to the numbers or schools to close, let alone the accounting used.

nyssa76 11:11 pm 09 Oct 06

doesn’t reach

Oops!

nyssa76 11:10 pm 09 Oct 06

Kindy to Yr 1/2 can have no more than 25.

Learning assistance classes (in high school) can have no more than 16.

Another teacher would be needed, however, it can be abused and underutilised.

I once taught a class that had 1 student for 4 weeks until more came into it (ESL class). The largest the class ever got was 10. Even though there was another class on the same line with only 8, they started a new one.

Some practical classes can have as little as 8 students, and the class is still run, even though it does reach the minimum (for a practical class) which is 15.

miz 10:52 pm 09 Oct 06

Nyssa, does the current policy of set class-sizes, eg no more than (I think it’s) 18? kids per kindy class, take precedence over the points thing or interract somehow?

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