Is there an educationa..
29th November 2009

Is there an educational crisis in Australia?  Much of the rationale for national testing (NAPLAN) and increased accountability is based on the arguments that standards are not high enough and that Australian students under-perform.  Is that true?


Responses to this Post

In response to: Current Education Crisis, Bruce Manning says:

The Education crisis has reached a point (and not only in Australia) where alarmingly many of those now reaching adulthood suggest the coming of future generations who will be intellectually, communicatively, and thus economically, disenfranchised.

This is to suggest a preponderant societal majority who will be culturally excluded from a minority educated elite which 'shapes' the world to suit its own tastes, and in which the excluded majority is obliged to subsist - in a word, a repeat of the society of late C18th and early C19th Industrial Revolutionary England.  And viewing an episode of 'Millionaire Hot Seat' should remove any doubt in this regard.

The problem is that, to halt the decline and implement an effective educational system (for me, intellectually rich and challenging, National Primary and Secondary Curriculums), we need Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary teachers and parents who have themselves come up through this or a comparable system; simply because, to operate effectively, there must be a solid professional and societal demand for the 'better product'.  But this is to 'bay for the moon'.  

Educational (societal) 'dumbing-down' made its presence felt in Australia half a century ago, in the early 60s, and it is simply unrealistic to expect even apparently conservative Educationists of today to wish for what they have never known.  As things stand, and even if the principles did not run counter to Socialist ideology, only a minority of parents is likely to support an ideal in which the price for reinstatement and on-going preservation of acceptable educational standards is a willing acceptance of the concomitant that, of the 'many called', 'fewer will be chosen'.  Thus we necessarily have 'courses for horses' (which engenders progressively lower levels of mediocrity), rather than discriminating in favour of 'horses for courses'; which has the better chance of maintaining an upward pressure on educational standards.  

Again, Primary and Secondary teachers are likely to resist that kind of novelty which compels the acquisition of training expertise (qualification) in specific curriculum disciplines (as opposed to Ed. Theory, and Ed. Admin.), and which - by fair and discriminatory public, exit-levels examinations - evaluates both the student and the teacher.  The alternative, worst schooling model is one having exclusive school-based curriculum design and assessment, and where teacher evaluation depends all too heavily upon 'pleasing parents (i.e. awarding inflated marks for sub-standard work)', and 'staying on the right side' of a variety of Subject and Year-level Heads; who may or may not believe in the primacy of professional integrity, even when this may produce an outcome which runs counter to their personal desires.  

Bruce Manning, Brisbane.  



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29th November 2009

Is there an educational crisis in Australia?  Much of the rationale for national testing (NAPLAN) and increased accountability is based on the arguments that standards are not high enough and tha...
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