January 8th 2005

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: DEMOCRACY: How free societies perish

EDITORIAL: New direction in Aboriginal policy

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: The bubble economy - can it last?

AGRICULTURE: Getting rural policy on track

LIVESTOCK: 18,100 livestock farmers gone

OPINION: Post-Latham: now for a real Third Way

AUSTRALIA'S CONSTITUTION: The Governor-General is our head of state

LIFE AND FAITH: The quest for meaning in James McAuley

STRAWS IN THE WIND: La Ronde / A quarry and a hard place / National politics / Maritime terrorism

OBITUARY: Vale Pat Edward Conway (1932-2004)

EUTHANASIA: Continent Death: Euthanasia in Europe

Left's educational legacy (letter)

BOOKS: HUMAN DIGNITY IN THE BIOTECH CENTURY: A Christian vision for public policy

BOOKS: TREASON: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism, by Ann Coulter

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Left's educational legacy (letter)

by Marcus L'Estrange

News Weekly, January 8, 2005

As a secondary school teacher in Victoria, I am not surprised that the OECD found that Victoria lags behind the other states when it comes to literacy and numeracy standards.

Victoria is the home of the Educational Left, the architects of the equality of outcomes nonsense, who totally dominate Victorian state education.

They believe in:

  • Automatic promotion from one year to the next of students who cannot read or write or understand basic maths. The end result is that in, say, a Year 9 class, you have students of primary grade 2/3 level. The poor teacher is then supposed to run four to six different classes within a 45-minute period - an impossible task - with each student getting about a minute each of individual tuition if they are lucky.

  • The abolition of meaningful sanctions against poor behaviour.

  • The "equality of outcomes" nonsense - their crowning glory - which is that everybody should get a degree, and "oh, by the way, don't worry if you cannot read or write".

Although Jeff Kennett waged an industrial war against the teachers, the Educational Left still retained control of curriculum matters.

A cynic might be tempted to suggest: what better way to destroy state education than let the "Left" do it and then let them historically have to carry the can?

However, other states should not be cracking open the champagne at Victoria's expense.

The PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) test, used by the OECD and others, does not penalise errors in spelling and grammar.

The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) report in 2002 found that "errors in spelling and grammar were not penalised in PISA - if they had been, probably all countries' achievement levels would have gone down, but there is no doubt that Australia's would have.

"It was the exception rather than the rule in Australia to find a student response that was written in well-constructed sentences, with no spelling or grammatical error."

Oh well, back to writing my end-of-year reports that are so sanitised (no negative comments really allowed).

I wonder why we send them out in the first place?

Marcus L'Estrange,
St Kilda, Vic.

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