Ray Johnston of Tannum Sands writes in today's Australian -
Taking poor performing schools to task and removing poor performing teachers and principals sounds like common sense. But let's unpack this. In schools where student performance is poor, surely the reason why this is happening deserves careful scrutiny. If the reason is that teachers are lazy, uncaring or plain incompetent, by all means take action.
However, I believe that most Australians understand well that there are myriad reasons why some young people struggle at school. Some come from homes that don't value education, have dysfunctional parents, were never read to when young, and so on.
In other words, an assumption that poor results come from poor teaching is silly. That such over-simplifications are still being made by politicians (who want to make complex problems seem simple) is unbelievable.
That such grab-bag, quick-fix proposals come from both sides of politics now leaves me, as an experienced high school principal, speechless.
If the same principle were applied to our political leaders, any member of parliament representing an electorate with poor outcomes (for example, high crime rates, high youth unemployment, long hospital waiting lists) would be removed from office.
Want to make a real difference to educational outcomes? Try these two solutions: stop funding education on a 19th-century model of x students per teacher and fund schools on need; fix the staffing shortage in our schools, which is about to turn into a nationwide crisis. This will take money, not words.
I share his frustration. The problem is far more complicated than a 20 second grab can handle, so we're stuck with spin and glib populism. The fact that politicians from both Labor and Coalition are singing the same jingle is simply sad. I'm glad I've retired, and my kids are all (almost) through the system. The only "transparency" evident in this is the political motivation.