Tuesday, March 18, 2003

NSW Election 2003: Jails? Health? Education?

PARENTS who want a good education for their children will be wondering why the issue has escaped the spotlight so far in the state election campaign said the Daily Telegraph. "Little learned from party promises" 18 March 03..

But it hasn't said Justice Action's caseworker Mr Gregory Kable. "John Brogden at the Opposition's campaign launch yesterday said, "The Coalition promised to hold a summit to address discipline."

So education is on the agenda. However, the summit to address discipline could be a summit to address a balanced curriculum that includes more social skills opposed to more academic skills."

"Some parents are on the run trying to make ends meet or just don't have the skills to pass onto their children in the first place and that means some 5 per cent of children are behind the eight ball in just trying to relate to the rest of the class."

"Cross-cultural differences also means that those kids who were throwing rocks on the Gaza Strip have a lot to learn about how to relate to others before they can socialise.

Class numbers are important but there is no reason for trying to avoid the crisis in NSW that sends 5 per cent of its children from schools into jails.

"The issues about crime and jail have not escaped the spotlight and the money wasted on building new prisons instead of new hospitals, schools, universities, and community based infrastructure could be an issue if it could win votes" He said.

Aside from the money promised for professional development $800 to $1200 per teacher from the Coalition and $700 from Labor, up from the current $25 detail on how the quality of teaching in NSW schools will be enhanced is sorely lacking.

However both the Education Minister John Watkins and Opposition spokesman Barry O'Farrell were quick to put on record that they believed NSW teachers were among the best in the world at The Daily Telegraph and the University of Technology's 6th Education Forum last Friday.

The evidence comes from an OECD (Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development) assessment of the reading literacy of 15-year-olds. Australia came fourth of 28 countries.

And because NSW comes second only to the ACT, the assumption is that NSW must be near the top in the world. Australia, Finland and New Zealand were the only three countries that had at least 18 per cent of their students achieving at the top level twice the OECD average.

But it should be noted that in half of the OECD countries at least one in five 15-year-olds cannot read basic texts. In science, Australia was beaten by Korea, Japan, Finland, Britain and Canada.

Meanwhile, with no co-ordinated support, NSW schools are individually pursuing the drive to quality teaching emanating from Queensland and South Australia which have specific quality teaching programs.

Labor has committed to setting up an Institute of Teachers which will set standards in NSW exactly how is still a bit vague. The Coalition would appoint a chief teacher, who would make quality teaching a priority in schools. Parents need convincing that either policy will deliver the standards politicians like to boast about, or the support teachers need to get there.

By Social Skills 18 March 03

THE EGG: Industry V's the Community! Now who can do a better job at raising our children a School (community) or a Jail (industry)? You know the answer except the fear of crime and anti-social behaviour promoted by the Carr Government and the Opposition is robbing voters of their real priorities. What about self-preservation for the younger generation?

Unless you think that you raised your children to spend the rest of their life in prison then you have to get your priorities right. Prevention is better than the cure.

By insisting that you get more support by preventing and deterring your children - through better education away from crime - and the political exploitation by some politicians - and onto the ever growing jail industry - than support for prisoners who are stuck in industrial - privatised prisons. Now is the time to get your priorities right.

By the same token - how do people learn if they're not healthy and can't be provided with emergency medical care?


Teachers welcome Oppn's discipline stance but is discipline the answer? What about changing the ratio between academic skills and social skills in schools? A caseworker at Justice Action Mr Gregory Kable said, "To get to the root of why children misbehave is to find out why these children don't relate to others - including the teacher. In order to socialise one needs to relate - and to relate one needs the skills - only then will you get the social atmosphere so very necessary to enable children to go on learning and to stay out of jail" he said.

Getting Justice Wrong DPP make full admissions
Back in May 2001 Nicholas Cowdery QC made an error at law by giving a speech called Getting Justice Wrong at the University of New England, Armidale Thursday, 31 May 2001. Sir Frank Kitto, Lecture now published at the DPP website. At page six, paragraph 3 under the heading:

NSW education professor warns further commitment needed
The author of a report on the New South Wales education system has urged the major political parties to do more for education in the election campaign.

Coalition proposes to exploit children
The Coalition says it would reform juvenile justice in New South Wales to require the courts to "get tough" on juvenile crime.

Take crime talk beyond the bars:'lobby group'
A coalition of academics, crime experts, welfare and church groups is preparing to launch an intensive pre-election campaign aimed at refocusing the attention of NSW politicians from harsh sentencing reforms to crime prevention strategies.

Fiona Stanley, the children's crusader
It is all about prevention. As Fiona Stanley sees it, with one in five Australian teenagers experiencing significant mental health problems, there are just not enough treatment services to cope with the demand.

NSW A-G moves to stop criminals and ex-criminals selling stories
From next month criminals or ex-criminals who try to profit (earn a living for paid work, like writing a book etc..) from their crimes in New South Wales will have the proceeds confiscated.

Dropouts face life of poverty,say CEOs
At least 80,000 young Australians likely to leave school early over the next decade risk forming an underclass who face long-term unemployment and poverty, business leaders have warned.

Parents call for feedback on social skills
Parents are calling for the same level of feedback on their children's social development as on their academic progress, according to a national survey.

Australian prisons are fast becoming the new asylums of the third millennium. The prison industry is booming, while Australia spends far less on mental health services than similar countries.

The punishment: Is the 'crime'
The punishment is the crime according to retired chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia Justice Alistair Nicholson. "Smacking a child ought to be seen as assault".

Mr. & Mrs. Mandatory Sentencing
Well congratulations to the bride and groom. Could you please be upstanding and raise your glasses for Mr. And Mrs. Mandatory.

Call to update suicide prevention strategy: study
A four-year study of suicides by people under the age of 18 in New South Wales, has found little difference between rates of suicide in rural and regional areas and cities.

NSW police cracked up on antisocial behaviour
Hundreds of extra police will be on the streets of Sydney from this afternoon as part of a major blitz on crime and activities as "antisocial behaviour" says the ABC online last Fri 24 May 2002.

The Seed
Respect, you only get out what you have put in. What about Life Skills, Communication and Conflict Resolution. Evolution, perhaps some children and adults miss the whole or part of the course. I did, and so how surprised do you think I was when I realised my parents missed the course as well. Things like Compromise, Win Win, Empathy, and Love. Invisible energy and other skills like public speaking, how to Relate, Assuming, Blaming, Forgiveness, Freedom and Discrimination. This is how I learned respect. If you don't know what it is then how do you relate?

Youth Suicide
I would like to suggest firstly that starting at the root in a holistic pattern so that everyone in our community is included and a seed is planted to prevent our youth dying.

The Tree of Dreams
Come make a wish. I know it will come true, it did for me...