Education - to lead
By Rebecca Sweeney at Mar 16, 2012
The tie between National testing results and teacher pay/competency is the road our country is heading down, following the US. (I think series 4? of The Wire gave a brief but true snapshot of how this translates disastrously into the classroom). The split between private and public schools is at the heart of this problem – the belief that there are those who have worked to deserve an education for their children and those who don’t. This then grows into a divided society of “the haves” and “the undeserving poor”. If national testing results were put to the best possible use, then resources would be thrown at the schools which had children who were suffering from low grades rather than a punitive attack on teachers.
Streaming also occurs here to try to increase a school’s results. A select few teachers take the high achieving students and then what is left are the classrooms of students in the lower ability levels who are sentenced to an undemocratic predominance of low socio-economic prejudices and behaviours.
The Australian national curriculum which has only been introduced this year, has high expectations of what children should know and achieve. This is a good thing and the core topics seem to be themes focussing around identity, equity and justice, which is also great. The difficulty is that many students in the classrooms with lower ability levels simply can’t keep up. Teachers of these students can’t assume prior knowledge or understanding of much of the language.
If I was cynical, I would say that we only need to teach students to be a serving class for our mining magnates here in Oz, but that would be double plus bad.