Home' Teacher : November 2009 Contents EDITORIAL
Our Editorial back in August refer red
to state school principals and council
members who've asked why they're only
permitted to spend the money they've
received through the Commonwealth
government's $16.2 billion Building the
Education Revolution (BER) program
on developments that don't adequately
meet their needs. That Editorial
explained how Beaconsfield Upper Pri-
mary School in Melbourne's outer
south-east managed to get approval
from the Victorian Department of Edu-
cation and Ea rly Childhood Develop-
ment for the full-size gymnasium it
wanted after school council president
Gavin McGill spoke out on the issue on
ABC TV's Stateline Victoria in June.
Now nearby La ngwar rin Primary
School council president Damien Pepper
has persuaded Julia Gilla rd to ask the
Victorian department, as the Deputy
Prime Minister and Commonwealth
Minister for Education explained, to
'look at the issue again, because it
seemed to me there were clea rly prob-
lems with what was being suggested.'
La ngwa rrin Primary wanted to use its
$3 million from the Commonwealth
gover nment's BER fund to build a
public-use centre, with a canteen and
arts space, but was told it could use the
money only to replace existing build-
ings. 'We talk through the government's
reform agenda . . . and occasionally we
get someone at one of those forums who
says, "I have got this real problem," and
we go through exactly the sa me process
that we have been through here.' As we
advised back in August, 'Never look a
gift horse in the mouth, unless, of
course, the gift is from the Common-
wealth gover nment through the inter-
mediary offices of the various state edu-
cation departments, in which case you
should check the hooves as well.' T
4 TEACHER NOVEMBER 2009
Charles Darwin was born: 1809.
Published On the Origin of Species by
Means of Natural Selection , or the
Preser vation of Favoured Races in the
Struggle for Life: November 1859.
Amended the closing sentence of the sec-
ond edition, published in January 1860,
to include 'by the Creator': 'There is
grandeur in this view of life, with its
several powers, having been originally
breathed by the Creator into a few
forms or into one; and that, whilst this
planet has gone circling on according to
the fixed law of gravity, from so simple
a beginning endless forms most beauti-
ful and most wonderful have been, and
are being evolved.'
Published The Descent of Man, and Selec-
tion in Relation to Sex: March 1871.
Admitted in a letter in 1879 to John
Fordyce: 'I have never been an atheist
in the sense of denying the existence of
a God. I think that generally, and more
and more so as I grow older, but not
always, that an agnostic would be the
most correct description of my state of
1. The greatest source of variance, at 30
per cent, that affects student achieve-
ment is the teacher. True or false?
2. For Brian Caldwell, which is the most
important unit of organisation -- the
student, classroom, school or system?
3. Is Pluto a planet?
4. Does the phrase 'Don't just do some-
thing, stand there' sum up Philip
Shanaha n's successful approach to revi-
sion for his Year 9 Science class?
5. What is the conflict-based game that
teachers say is reducing behavioural
problems in students?
6. Does Ken Boston support national
7. As measured by the 2006 Program
for International Student Assessment
(PISA), which have the higher average
percentage of top performers, private
or public schools?
8. The top performers in PISA tend to be
native language speakers. True or false?
9. According to PISA, gender has an
impact on performance. True or false?
10. Where was the Bonegilla Migrant
Reception and Training Centre?
Answers: 1. false -- according to John Hattie, students themselves account for about 50 per cent of the variance of achievement,
although teachers are 'the greatest source of variance that can make the difference'; 2. the student; 3. sadly, no -- it was downgraded
to a dwarf planet in 2006, with no whining from Pluto as yet; 4. yes; 5. chess; 6. yes, but not the use of results from such tests for
purposes for which they are not fit; 7. private schools -- 14 per cent compared to 9 per cent -- although after adjusting for socio-
economic differences public schools have the higher average percentage of top performers; 8. true; 9. false; 10. Wodonga, Victoria.
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