Wednesday, April 20, 2005

About faces - education and politics

My brain has been jumping from topic to topic recently - 'tis a sign of nervousness in me. So, here I am writing down some of my thoughts...

Last night on Insight (ABC television), there was an interview with Peter Costello where various disability groups were present in the audience. It was primarily regarding what the current government were doing to help the disabled (including physical and mentally handicapped, elderly, single mums, carers, etc). There is a new policy of 'encouraging' these groups to continue working, past the normal retirement age, and for single mums, once their children are attending school.

Most of the questions asked by the audience were nonsensical, an example was given of a single mum, with a toddler (not school age) who was also caring for her disabled mother and brother. As carers are actually provided an allowance, and her toddler was not attending school, she does not fit into the normal 'single mother' category that the government are encouraging to work. (Not to mention that the description of the toddler's behaviour indicated some serious problems which were not presented as such. Possibly ADHD, and certainly a lack of respect of the mother by the toddler, also in reverse from the mother to the toddler).

Only one audience member picked up that Costello didn't actually answer any of the questions - he skirted them very adroitly, which I was quite disappointed at. Apart from showing his skills at avoiding answering questions, and highlighting the general public's inability to ask intelligent and relevant questions, this show was a complete waste of time. A pity, really.

In one of the loos today I saw an old campaign sticker that commented about the government's lack of support for women returning to the workforce, and couldn't help thinking that this is just one of many 'about faces'.

Speaking of about faces.... I'm appalled at the curriculum cuts made in high school - if the two students have reported it correctly, matrices are no longer taught in Maths Methods or Specialist Maths, and in General Maths it's often left as a homework exercise for the students because "it's an easy subject"! Long division disappeared a couple of years ago (I don't know if it has returned), and I'm left wondering, what's next in Maths?

The lack of language skills shown by students who have gone right through the education system in Australia from start to finish, is completely appalling. Often the overseas students surpass their ability to summarise and use grammar correctly.

Having said that, there are some overseas students who have only scraped through the entry English exams, that really should not have been allowed to pass.

Anyhow... I'm now worried about how next week's CSE1301 prac will go, as it assumes knowledge of matrices in order to teach the concept of 2D arrays.... ug....
Post a Comment