Home' Teacher : August 2010 Contents EDITORIAL
A week, they say, is a long time in poli-
tics, as the last few weeks have demon-
strated. Julia Gillard replaced Kevin
Ruddas Prime Minister on 24June, and
shifted a swag of Commonwealth gov-
ernment policies: the proposed resource
profits tax; changes to the processing of
refugees, possibly in East Timor and, for
cu rious reasons, only for refugees arriv-
ing by boat; climate change; and --
drumroll-- changes to the education tax
refund scheme to cover school uniforms.
'Moving forwa rd,' the PM called an
election in July. Back in June, she
appointed Simon Crean as her new Min-
ister for Education, Employment, Work-
place Relations and Social Inclusion,
handing over the portfolios she'd held as
Deputy PM, including the 'troubled' $16
billion Building the Education Revolu-
tion (BER) program. Crean, who was
Minister for Education from 1993 to
1996 under Paul Keating, kept sma rtly
quiet in the portfolio, but there was
plenty of noise coming from the inquiry
of the Liberal-dominated Senate Stand-
ing Committee on Education, Employ-
ment and Workplace Relations into the
BER -- Prima ry Schools for the 21st Cen-
tury (P21) program. According to the
Senate Committee website, 'the Com-
mittee is cur rently seeking informa-
tion . . .that addresses claims being made
in submissions and at hearings rega rd-
ing inflated costings and failure to
achieve value for money for P21
projects.' Crean told Derryn Hinch on
Radio 3AW last month, 'I want to fix the
problems where they exist,' desc ribing
New South Wales as the state 'where
most of the problems exist' a nd 'the big-
ger problem state, if you like.' In search
of other hot potatoes, the Senate Com-
mittee is also conducting an inquiry into
the National Assessment Program --
Literacy and Numeracy program. T
4 TEACHER AUGUST 2010
Percentage of Year 6 students in 2008 who
reached the Year 6 proficient standard
identified by experts as an indication
of what students should be able to do
using infotech: 57 per cent.
Percentage of Year 6 students in 2005 who
reached the proficient standard: 49 per
Percentage of Year 10 students in 2008
who reached the Year 10 standard:
66 per cent.
Percentage of Year 10 students in 2005
who reached the standard: 61 per cent.
Percentages of Year 6 and 10 students
whose parents are from the 'unskilled
manual, office and sales occupational
groups' who reached the standard: 41
per cent and 52 per cent respectively.
Percentages whose parents are from the
'senior managers and professionals'
occupational group who reached the
standard: 72 per cent and 78 per cent
Source: Ainley, J., Fraillon, J. & Freeman, C. (2010).
National Assessme nt Program -- ICT Literacy Years
6 & 10 Report 2008. Melbourne: Curriculum Cor-
poration (for the Ministerial Council for Education ,
Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs).
1. According to Mick Wilkinson, where
in a high school will you find the raw,
visceral and often turbulent politics
about timetables, subject allocations
and the fact that some teacher you
loathe seems to teach a Year 12 class
2. Is teaching rocket science?
3. Last issue, we referred to 'the three
r's': were we wrong?
4. Was Emma Rhodes wrong when she
used the F-word in physics?
5. Why is synthetic phonics called 'syn-
6. What is a rubric?
7. Student participation in extracur-
ricular activities raises general and
academic self-concepts. True or false?
8. Can you use an exclusion clause or
waiver to contract out of your duty of
9. Why does a London taxi driver typi-
cally have a larger hippocampus than
a London bus driver?
10. Who taught a handful of Moscow's
wild dogs how to commute using the
Answers: 1. in aheads ofdepartment meeting; 2. no, according to Greg Whitby; 3. no, the pluralforms ofaletter callsfor an apostro-
phe; 4. no, she was referring to feminism; 5. because it refers to learning letter-sound correspondences and then synthesising these to
pronounce whole words; 6. a 'scoring tool' used in performance-based assessment; 7. true, according to research reported by Karina
Annear; 8. no; 9. because taxi drivers navigate their route, thus exercising the region of the hippocampus that specialises in using
complex spatial information, unlike bus drivers who follow a set route; 10. they taught themselves.
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