I write to add to your response to educational standards in Australia (editorial comment and ‘How good is the education our kids are receiving?’ from Sentinel-Times, Tuesday, May 15).
I believe the greatest negative impact on education has been from changes in the home life of children as a consequence of Australian working conditions.
I’m confident our decline in educational standards runs parallel with:
1. The need for both parents to be employed.
2. The increase of shopping hours and the addition of Sunday shopping (a parent will often work part–time after school and on weekends,) and
3. That urban sprawl has left a generation of parents stuck in traffic when they could be engaged in educational activities with their children.
Please note that I make these observations to sympathise with parents and educators. I am, however, very critical of the political and financial institutions that put profit before children and families.
Looking at the reported outcomes, it’s clear that the decline has happened across the board, regardless of the school.
It should be noted that private schools, regardless of resources and facilities, are recording similar results. Parents of private school children face the same employment/time constraints as everyone else.
I believe one of the reasons successive governments have pumped scandalous amounts of money into private schools is to distract parents from the consequences of Australian working conditions.
The other distraction is quite clearly teacher and school bashing.
The inane anti-educational standardisation and bureaucratic micro management is suffocating students and teachers alike. Just trust teachers and let them teach freely!
Standardisation is ridiculous in an ever-changing world. Quite simply, students need to know how to learn, how to be cooperative, creative and adaptable.
Apart from ‘the three Rs’, and a set of base knowledge/skills, standardised content is mostly irrelevant. Employers will tell you they just hope to find a decent kid who’s open to being taught on the job.
Live MRI scans show that making music in groups is the healthiest and most beneficial activity for the human brain, almost twice as good as anything else.
I’d bet my house that an education curriculum that dedicated at least 25 per cent of it’s time to all-school, group music-making and dance (dynamic learning environment, cooperation, coordination, healthy relationships, living in the moment, harmonizing, fun, includes the three Rs, exercise, creativity, and on and on…) would easily out-perform the current model, and create happier healthier citizens.
I’d also suggest all people be able to do whatever university degree they are inspired by. Some wouldn’t be up to completion, but I believe there would many more success stories and surprises than we can imagine.
Tom Murray-White, South Dudley