Showing posts with label politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label politics. Show all posts

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Idiot of the year award for 2009

And the first nomination for the Idiot of the year award for 2009 goes to Julia Gilliard for her school performance reports that are not league tables.

... and would anyone like to guess how long it will take newspapers to collate and release the data in league table form? My guess is not much longer than it takes me to write this blog.

Well done Ms Gillard, what a fair and equitable system you are creating for working class Australia that cannot afford private education.

I won't even start on what I think about 6 week teaching courses.. if Ms Gillard had suggested teaching apprenticeships on the other hand (we all recognise that practicum is the most useful part of teacher training).. but could teaching practitioners handle being referred to as a tradies (other than the shed boys) instead of as professionals??

Here's a link to an article with mock ups of school performance reports. See for yourself.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"In Camera"

In reading about SSTUWA, a lot of material that should be public or at least explained to supporters of the executive is labelled 'in camera'. A term like 'in camera' should be anathema to a public organisation that is elected to be representative of members.

Wikipedia defines "in camera" as

"In camera sessions, also known as executive session which are a common point of order during board meetings, where information is provided that is not reflected in the minutes, and not available to the public. Some topics that may be discussed during in camera sessions include personnel decisions, financial decisions that must be kept secret (for example, where an organization is contemplating purchasing land but does not yet want competitors or the public to know about this strategy) or other sensitive issues related to the organization."

It is the last part of the definition that is misused as anything can be defined as "sensitive to an organisation" as the organisation must define how sensitive that it is. Members of the union are misusing this principle in order to make active members of the executive look inactive by disallowing public release of their attempts at change within the organisation.

Furthermore the definition goes on to say:

"Otherwise, justice in free countries operates under the principle that in order for justice to be done, justice needs to be seen, and the admission of the public to the court is considered a right. It is also used where one party claims some sort of privilege against a document (such as attorney work product or attorney-client privileged communications) while the other protests it, whereby the judge reviews the document and determines its admissibility."

The "in camera" definition raises the point that the members are, in the case of the union, the judge is the 'union president' and the public are the members of the SSTUWA. To misuse the powers of the union president in calling for 'in camera' discussion could be seen as seeking to actively mislead members through misdirection and deceptive conduct. Justice needs to be seen, that is the role of minutes and to limit the ability of members of the executive to discuss issues and develop their viewpoint with members seems decidedly undemocratic. You would think that in times like now, where little is being actively sought, would be a public breeding ground for new ideas and direction for the union. A rebirth as such of a well directed, robust and open organisation.

The 'in camera' discussion (and the 'poncyness' of anyone using it to confuse the masses and engage in legalese for the sake of it) I found irritating from the onset and I could not for the life of me discover why. Intuition is a wonderful thing.

The involvement of Marko in the union seems to finally be opening doors to a more active union. We should all be encouraged by perhaps finally having a more representative body and stronger leadership developing.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Impact on WA of election result

This was the election where no-one wanted to vote for anyone. The major political parties were for the most part an insipid bunch. Now that the voting is over and they are being counted here's how I see the outcome.

In a perfect world (with lots of wishful thinking):
A) The National party has the balance of power, education in rural areas will gain increased support - more incentive to take rural posts, improved housing conditions, higher wages and community encouragement to stay.
B) Political parties will no longer dismiss the impact of educational lobby groups in marginal seats
C) The teacher pay dispute will be resolved quickly as the first item of the new government.
D) Teachers will resume community building roles and prevent disconnect with youth and community that is currently forming within low ability/low socioeconomic students sector.
E) The role of permanency, selection, relief teachers, class sizes and teaching administration will be investigated and resolved.
F) League tables will disappear as they are proved to have provided incomplete and misleading data to parents.
G) Performance based pay scales will be thoroughly investigated and found impractical to implement.

It is clear from this election that both political parties cannot rely on party loyalties of voters - strong leadership is required at all times to maintain government. If a leader is stale, arrogant or belittling to the electorate - move them along, no matter what their perceived importance to policy. It is time politicians looked to running the state rather than their careers first.

I believe that politicians should stay with big picture issues and not turn up 5 minutes before an election and talk about local problems. Either be in touch with your electorate throughout the whole tenure or risk exit stage left. Parachuting politicians into safe seats is also a recipe for disaster.

We need strong experienced leaders. Not young up and comers - unless they are brilliant beyond their age. One only had to look at the faces of politicians last night to see that in "good times" conservative faces is what the electorate demands. Political parties take note! (How Albert Jacob managed to get elected I can't understand - let's hope he is more capable than he looks.)

Well done to the 3 independents and the National party for standing in seats and on issues that matter to their electorates. It shows that our political system is not yet as dead and showy/frightening as the American system or boring as the English. And for a small nation like ours we should be - vibrant, able to take action and go forward in leaps, stumbles and bounds.

I don't mind who is in government as long as progress is made. For now though... no more naive politics from me (at least for a while!).

Here is a link to education policy statements of all parties.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Politics and education

Well, today the next round of would be state politicians destroyed a few more trees and wanted to make sure that I would vote for them at the next election by filing my mail box with pamphlets and questionaires. On one side we have the local Liberal candidate who does not know the current education policy of his party (because I dare say they don't have a leader or a policy) and on the other side our Labor candidate(..yes the spelling is correct for those reading from overseas) thinks that the most important local issue I need to consider is whether we need a skate park to alleviate local misdemeaners by our youth.

I wish the pair of them would take a wider viewpoint than this and discuss policy - particularly education policy. At least this election they seem not to be spending the whole time attacking the personality of the other.

My favourite nonsense was the bit at the end of the Labor pamphlet where the Labor party announces they are building WA. Selling WA and privatising it may be more accurate. A key component of building WA is our youth and both parties need to consider the state's role in education and the inequity growing between state and private schools. It would be great to see either party commit to rebuilding public faith and support in the teaching sector by addressing key issues raised by teachers. That would be building WA more than any stadium.

.. and I'd rather they stopped filling my mailbox with garbage and nonsense.