Australian Teacher

I’ve read Australian Teacher magazine one and off for a couple of years now, mainly because it’s stacked conveniently next to the copies of The Age and The Herald-Sun at the bottom of the lift well, which I pass ever morning.

I’d pick up the student newspaper too and take a stack of both to my Year 12 English class.  Funnily enough, the students in my class were more interested in the teacher magazine than the student one; I think because the student version is aimed more at middle school students and some of my students were keen on doing a teaching degree.

But, I was interested to see in the latest issue of Australian Teacher that it seemed to be taking a  more editorial approach, with more opinion articles than I remember, including two very different approaches to the issue of cyber-bullying: a report on research by Professor Donna Cross that ‘based on evidence … the harms from cyber-bullying will be far greater than face-to-face bullying’ and a different approach from Ken Rigby from the University fo South Australia who argued that the evidence does not support the view that bullying is on the rise.

There was also news that the AEU had purchased the domain name and intended setting up an alternative website the government’s myschool site, and one that recognised a broader range of student and school achievement.  However, move on along, nothing to look at there  yet folks!

Rank schools, says the Herald-Sun

The Herald-Sun hasn’t waited long to get its teeth into the eduction debate about school achievement. The new MySchool website (which I blogged about late last year) was launched today, but it already doesn’t go far enough for the high standards of the Melbourne tabloid. I hope to talk more about this later, particularly Ms Gillard’s remarks that parents should ‘badger’ schools and teachers until they improve. Meanwhile,  I reprint today’s editorial in full below.

Rank schools to get results
THIS morning, subject to the vagaries of technology, parents will be given information to help them make one of the most important decisions in their lives: where to send their children to school.
Needless to say, it will also be one of the most important decisions in their children’s lives.
It comes as fees at private schools are increasing and more parents are considering whether to send their children to a public school.
But, cost aside, which school parents choose should be based on a range of priorities, which includes where a school ranks in academic performance.
The My School website will allow parents to make some comparisons between schools within their immediate area.
But it doesn’t go far enough. Many teachers and principals, as well as Education Minister Julia Gillard, think ranking schools will hurt underperforming schools.
The opposite is the case. Government and teachers must ensure these schools improve, not hide their inadequacies.
The argument that publishing so-called league tables will only stigmatise the poorer performing schools is a false one.
Comparing the nation’s schools would make the Government and education authorities accountable.
Parents themselves face an impossible task in forcing change at mediocre schools. They need to be able to point to the information provided by full disclosure of every school’s performance to demand improvement.
The information on the My School website today is a significant move in the right direction, but falls short of clearly ranking the nation’s 10,000 schools.