Australian Politics 2018-11-29 15:46:00

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Where you live is determining your school's NAPLAN score

Rubbish! Where you live is just another effect of the real cause of educational success. The real cause is that rich people tend to have smarter kids and also tend to live in more salubrious suburbs.  And there's nothing you can do about that

If you live in Sydney's west or south-west, your child's school is almost certain to be scoring below the national average on NAPLAN.

But if you live on the north shore, northern beaches, eastern suburbs or inner-west almost every school is achieving above the national average, whether it is public or private.

In a new analysis, Macquarie University researchers have found that the area in which a student goes to school is one of the clearest predictors of year 5 NAPLAN reading scores, painting a stark picture of Australia's socioeducational divide.

"The results are confronting," said Crichton Smith, the study's lead author and a PhD candidate at Macquarie University.

"Virtually no schools in any city's advantaged suburbs are below the national average, and almost no schools in disadvantaged areas are above average."

In Sydney "you can literally draw a line” between schools with above-average results and below-average results, Smith said.

North of Sydney's "latte line", 173 schools achieved above the national average in year 5 reading, 13 were close to average and only seven schools achieved below average.

But in the city's south-west, 104 schools were below average, while only 10 were ranked above average and 32 were at average.

And the polarisation is getting worse. The study found the disparity between results in Sydney’s north and east compared to those in the city's west and south-west became more pronounced between 2008 and 2016.

“If you look at the 2008 maps you can see there were some schools below average in the North Shore and Eastern Suburbs but they have basically disappeared," said Smith.

“It is a very stark map,” he said. “In Sydney we don’t have many schools close to the national average - most are either above or below.”

Also, the "spatial polarisation" in Sydney was worse that other big cities. Smith said it had the “clearest delineation” of above average and below average NAPLAN results of all the state capitals.

“I would have thought that would be a concern for anyone involved in education,” he said.

The study found a clear divide in educational achievement based on a school's location within every major city in Australia and between regional and metropolitan areas.

"The fact that socioeconomic disadvantage plays out in such a geographic way shows how socially stratified our cities, and particularly Sydney, are," the Grattan Institute's schools expert Peter Goss said.

"It could be to do with schools and teaching practices or it could be to do with changes in the make-up of the city where house prices are meaning it's very difficult to trade up as it were, and that dynamic may be reinforcing the divide.

"This geographic comparison will be picking up both disadvantage at the family level and at the peer group level. If your peer group is educationally advantaged, you'll typically do better."

The Macquarie University study also suggests that school choice does not make a difference to NAPLAN scores, with both public and private schools performing according to the location-based trend.

"Unfortunately the location-based divide has increased since NAPLAN began," said Smith.

"With 10 years of NAPLAN results now available, it is difficult to see a policy solution to bridge a gap that is so wide, and growing."

A spokesman for the NSW Department of Education said it is working to improve achievement through its literacy and numeracy strategy, which includes targeted support for "low performing and low SES students".

"All NSW schools receive needs-based funding [and] schools with low socio-economic rankings receive greater resources and more funding to support students," the spokesman said.

However, Dr Goss said that disadvantaged schools in Australia remain relatively underfunded according to the target set by the needs-based school resourcing standard.

"Despite the rhetoric, disadvantaged schools are underfunded relative to targets whereas most advantaged schools typically are close to their target," Dr Goss said.

Some of the state's most advantaged private schools were overfunded by $160 million in state allocations this year, while NSW public schools got $470 million less from the state government than their entitlement under the needs-based formula, a recent report found.

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Adani to begin construction on scaled-back Carmichael coal mine

Greenie hostility to the project meant that all the banks refused to fund it

The controversial mine in Queensland will move ahead but it will be scaled back after the project failed to find financing.

Adani says it will self-fund the construction of its controversial Carmichael mine and that work will begin soon.

The mining giant said a scaled-down mine and rail project would be 100 per cent financed through the Adani’s Group’s resources.

Adani Mining chief executive officer Lucas Dow made the announcement at the Bowen Basin Mining Club luncheon in Mackay, Queensland today.

It follows recent changes to simplify construction and reduce the initial capital requirements for the project.

The mine was originally expected to be a $16.5 billion project but will now only cost $2 billion, according to the Townsville Bulletin.

“Our work in recent months has culminated in Adani Group’s approval of the revised project plan that de-risks the initial stage of the Carmichael mine and rail project by adopting a narrow gauge rail solution combined with a reduced ramp up volume for the mine,” Mr Dow said.

“This means we’ve minimised our execution risk and initial capital outlay. The sharpening of the mine plan has kept operating costs to a minimum and ensures the project remains within the first quartile of the global cost curve.”

According to the Bulletin, Mr Dow said work on the mine would start first, after management plans were approved by state and federal governments. Work on the rail line was expected to begin early in the New Year. The first coal experts would be produced in 2021.

Once spruiked as Australia’s biggest coal mine, which would produce 60 million tonnes of coal per year. The scaled-back version will now produce 27.5 million tonnes at its peak.

Initially production will only be 10 to 15 million tonnes but it will ramp up to 27.5 within 10 years.

A rail line to service the mine will also be scaled back. Earlier this year Adani scrapped plans for a 388km standard gauge rail line and will instead build a 200km line that will connect to Aurizon’s existing Goonyella and Newlands rail network. This will more than halve the cost from $2.5 billion to $1 billion.

Mr Dow said the project would deliver 1500 direct jobs during the initial ramp-up and construction phase of the mine and rail projects.

Townsville and Rockhampton were still expected to be the primary source markets for jobs but workers would also be hired from other areas.

The company had to find its own funding for the project after banks overseas and in Australia distanced themselves from coal export projects in the area, or introduced policies that prohibited financing Adani’s mine.

Early this year rail operator Aurizon walked away from plans to build a rail line linked to the mine, withdrawing its application for a $5 billion government-funded loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).

The decision comes after Adani was previously denied a $1 billion NAIF loan to build its own rail line, after the Queensland Government vetoed it ahead of the state election.

The Carmichael mine was previously delayed by court challenges brought by environmental groups as well as the need to change the Native Title Act to legitimise an Indigenous Land Use Agreement it had signed.

Today’s announcement is not the first time Adani has announced it was going to start construction. Adani Australia chief executive Jeyakumar Janakaraj previously said physical construction of the mine was scheduled to start in weeks in October 2017.

This year it was announced that pre-construction work on the project was expected to begin in the September quarter.

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Fireworks and entertainment to be removed from Australia Day celebrations to make the event 'more respectful to Aboriginal people'

Fireworks and entertainment could be removed from Australia Day celebrations to make the event more respectful to Aboriginal people.

A local government proposal has been put forward in Sydney to consult the community about 'changing the nature' of Australia Day celebrations.

Inner West mayor Darcy Byrne put forward the idea to change January 26 celebrations into a day more about commemoration and shift the 'community festival' aspect to a different day.

'For First Nations peoples, January 26 represents the beginning of invasion, dispossession, disease, stolen children and the deliberate elimination of language and culture,' Cr Byrne said.

The mayor said he wanted to be respectful to Aboriginal people and 'reflect it's a day of sadness for them.'

The review comes about nine months after a proposal was put forward to completely remove Australia Day celebrations from January 26.

Security had to be increased after the Council meeting as far-right nationalists threatened to 'declare war' on the council if the idea gained support, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council CEO Nathan Moran said that a separate day to acknowledge the date of federation, the sorry day speech, or the start of reconciliation week would be more appropriate.

'We find this development of nationalism or patriotism is bizarre at best and alarming at worst of how Australia in such a short time has somehow turned it around to make this day a national day of celebration or significance when in early 90s not even all states had a public holiday for it,' Mr Moran.

The Federal Government removed the right for Byron Bay Council and also two Melbourne councils to conduct citizenship ceremonies after they tried to ban holding them on Australia Day.

Events planned for Australia Day 2019 at Enmore Park in Inner West will proceed as the community consultation will only affect events from the following year.

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Dutton to strip convicted terrorists of Australian citizenship

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has unveiled plans to strip convicted terrorists of their Australian citizenship.

Mr Morrison said the proposed new laws would allow a minister to strip Australian citizenship from a convicted terrorist if they were “reasonably satisfied” the person was entitled to citizenship in another country.

That is a departure from the current policy of stripping citizenship only from dual nationals, who are definitely citizens of other countries.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is also pushing to speed up the process for new laws to allow police to access encrypted communications used by “paedophiles or terrorists” such as WhatsApp messages.

Speaking on Thursday afternoon, Mr Morrison said: “Terrorists have violated everything about what being an Australian is all about.

“It’s a crime against our country, not just against other citizens, and this is something that can’t be tolerated and permitted.

“And for those who have engaged in this sort of activity, if they have citizenship elsewhere, and we reasonably believe they do, well they can go, that’s our clear message.”

According to The Daily Telegraph, the new plan would apply to Aussies who have parents or grandparents from different countries thus allowing them to obtain citizenship somewhere else.

The government will review the backgrounds of some 400 terrorists being monitored by ASIO to determine whether they are dual-citizens or are entitled to acquire a foreign citizenship.

It raises the possibility of some people being deported who have no other citizenship but Australian.

Unlike now where a six-year custodial sentence is needed for citizenship to be revoked, the planned legislation would merely need someone to be convicted for them to stripped of their right to remain in Australia.

The PM also wants to introduce “temporary exclusion orders” of up to two years for foreign fighters returning from conflict zones in the Middle East.

Based on a UK scheme, they would block a proven terrorist from returning to Australia for up to two years, unless a special permit was provided.

“We’re determined to deal with those individuals who have done this as far away from our shores as is possible,” Mr Morrison said.

Once back in Australia, the person would be subject to various controls including reporting to police, adhering to curfews and complying with restrictions on technology use.

“Failure to comply with the terms of that temporary exclusion order would be also an offence and subject to penalties for that citizen,” he said.

Earlier, the Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Migration Jason Wood also called for residents, who were born overseas, but later became Australian citizens, to be immediately deported if they engaged in extremism.

“As far as I’m concerned, if you’ve put your hand up to say you uphold the rights and responsibility of Australian citizenship, but the next minute you want to talk jihad all day, it’s a breach of contract and you need to go,” Mr Wood said.

The plan comes the same week three Melbourne men — brothers Ertunc Eriklioglu, 30 and Samed Eriklioglu, 26 and Hanifi Halis, 21 — were charged with allegedly planning a deadly terror attack on Melbourne.

Victoria Police later confirmed the men had all had their Australian passports cancelled this year and were of Turkish background.

Mr Dutton has said passing a new encryption law should be done sooner rather than later.

He said the heads of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and Australian Federal Police had already given evidence to the committee.

“The evidence there is overwhelming that we need this change. We cannot have paedophiles or terrorists using encrypted messaging apps,” Mr Dutton said.

The minister said paedophiles were directing sex scenes through the messaging apps, which were also used by terrorists.

“We are in a situation where we have terrorists who are using encrypted messaging apps to plan attacks and ASIO and the Australian Federal Police have no sight of that,” Mr Dutton said.

“It’s unacceptable, particularly given the current risk environment.”

Labor has warned against rushing the committee, while denying Mr Dutton’s claims they are against increasing authorities’ powers.

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Schools accused of failing us on basic Aussie knowledge

You might travel down Macquarie Street in Sydney’s CBD every day but do you know why the thoroughfare is called that? How about Sydney itself? Or Brisbane and Melbourne?

The truth is, many of us don’t know the history behind our Aussie cities.

Controversial shock jock Alan Jones says it’s simply not good enough that Australians can’t answer these questions and something needs to be done to fix our education system.

So how would you go with these 10 questions?

1. How did Sydney get its name?

2. How did Brisbane get its name?

3. How did Melbourne get its name?

4. How did Macquarie Street, Sydney, get its name?

5. What river is Mackay on?

Do you know how Australian city names came to be?
Do you know how Australian city names came to be?Source:istock

Those questions were what Jones said we should know but we added a few extras while we’re at it:

6. What is the Great Australian Bight?

7. What is the highest mountain in Australia?

8. What is the longest river in Australia?

9. What is Australia’s most easterly point?

10. When did Australian become an independent nation?

(Answers at the bottom)

Jones said if you went down the streets of Mackay with a megaphone saying the Pioneer River was flooding, anyone between 12 and 40 would not take notice.

“They wouldn’t know it’s on a river,” he said. “Kids have got to be told and taught why Brisbane was called Brisbane. They don’t know any of that.”

The 2GB radio host said people should be able to tell the difference between a full stop and an apostrophe.

Jones said people would not drive a car if they did not understand the basics of how it worked, so language should be no different. “How can you drive the language if you don’t really understand how the language works?” he said.

Jones said he asked an 11-year-old what he was learning about at school and he responded, “Is Donald Trump going to blow up North Korea?”

He said useful lessons taken from literature were being denied to young people.

“Shakespeare’s too difficult. Charles Dickens? Forget about it,” Jones said. “The great works of literature, that’s all too difficult to teach primarily because there are many teachers who aren’t capable of teaching them.

“Where did it go off the rails? At the end of the day the losers are the kids. I’m surprised parents aren’t marching the streets.”

Jones made the comments during the launch of Dr Kevin Donnelly’s new book, How Political Correctness is Destroying Education and Your Child’s Future.

The pair said children were being taught more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history than Western culture.

“If today it was established that we had dropped a pile of rubbish in Cooks River, prosecutions would take place because we are upset over pollution of the environment — who is prosecuting over the polluting of minds of young people?” Jones asked.

“There’s significant dissatisfaction with what’s happening but no one really at the end of the day has the capability to do anything about it.

“It’s all very well to pretend (political correctness) doesn’t exist but it’s alive and well and strong — it’s rampant. What hope have we got?”

Jones and Dr Donnelly said teaching was once a noble profession but standards had slipped.

“We’re not even in the top 20 in the world (for academic standards) — this is too serious an issue to ignore,” Jones said.

“This is serious, serious stuff, yet you talk it to any education minister and they will tell you education is fantastic, wonderful things are going on in schools.

“It has to change. It’s not an education system without discipline and content. I can’t see that at work. The classroom is quarantined from appropriate review and sanction.”

Jones called for school inspectors to be returned so classrooms could be held to account.

ANSWERS

1. Arriving in Botany Bay in January 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip, commander of the First Fleet, set out to look for more water. He found a settlement he intended to name Albion, the poetic name for England.

However, he quickly changed his mind and named the bay Sydney Cove in honour of Lord Sydney, the Secretary of State for the Home Office. The settlement itself later became known as Sydney Town. Lord Sydney, aka Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney was a prominent politician, yet he never visited Australia.

2. Brisbane came into being long before the state of Queensland was established, when intrepid Surveyor General John Oxley named the river he discovered after the Governor of New South Wales, Thomas Brisbane, in 1823.

3.Melbourne was briefly named “Batmania” after one of its founders, John Batman. Other proposed names included Bearbrass, Bareport, Bareheep, Barehurp and Bareberp. In 1837 the town was officially granted a seal of approval and in 1851 the colony of Victoria was formed and formally separated from NSW.

The colony was named “Victoria” after the reigning English monarch Queen Victoria and the main town ”Melbourne” in honour of Lord Melbourne, Queen Victoria’s most dedicated Prime Minister William Lamb.

4. When Lachlan Macquarie, who had a great interest in town planning, arrived in the colony in 1810 he gave early attention to the state of the roads, ordering alignments, reformings, widenings and the demolition of encroaching buildings. He also tried to stop names being duplicated — often on streets quite close to each other.

Lachlan Macquarie was governor of NSW from 1810-1822. Many streets had their beginnings with the First Fleeters including Argyle, George and Bridge street.

5. Pioneer River — the name Mackay River didn’t survive very long, as it was soon changed to Pioneer River, to avoid confusion with a river of the same name flowing into Rockingham Bay. Pioneer was derived from the Government survey ship HMS Pioneer.

6. The Great Australian Bight is a bay off the central and western portions of the southern coastline of mainland Australia.

7. The highest mountain in Australia is Mount Kosciuszko.

8. Australia’s longest single river is the Murray River, which stretches 2508km across NSW and South Australia.

9. Australia’s most easterly point is Cape Byron in NSW. The furthest points in Australia are Queensland’s Cape York to the north, South East Cape in Tasmania to the south and WA’s Steep Point in the west.

10. Australia became an independent nation on January 1, 1901. It couldn’t have happened without the “Father of Federation”, Sir Henry Parkes, a master politician who was elected premier of NSW five times.

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 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here