Gonski, Barry O’Farrell and the Case of the Missing iPod

Imagine for a second you had an iPod. Ok, it shouldn’t be that hard to imagine. Missing-ipod_240

What if last year, your dad Barry – again use some imagination if need be – decided that you didn’t need an iPod.

In fact he couldn’t believe that you’d been trusted with such technology in the first place, and took the iPod away from you.

He felt that there were others who could make much better use of your iPod, despite your favourite Uncle David telling him that taking iPod away from kids wasn’t the thing to be doing right now.

How would you feel then, when Aunty Julia finally persuaded your dad Barry to give you back your iPod.

You’d obviously be happy, but would you feel that Barry was a hero? Would you run around telling anyone who’d listen that your dad Barry was the best!

I doubt it. But this is exactly how Barry O’Farrell has been portrayed in the media for performing exactly the same sleight of hand with education funding.

Last year, the NSW government slashed $1.7billion from the education budget.

Ignoring the irony that he was doing this at a time when David Gonski was making a very well stated case that more money was needed for education from all levels of government.

Fast forward to this afternoon, and I’m reading tweet after tweet and headline after headline praising Barry O’Farrell for signing up to – albeit a watered-down version of – Gonski. Even the teachers unions are smiling!

And you’ll never guess how much the NSW Government have to stump up….

$1.7billion. 

He’s just given us our iPod back, and we’re running around as if it’s the most magnanimous gesture any Premier has ever made.

I’m all for increased spending in education of course. I just dislike politicians using education to score political points. Especially when their policies and actions seems so counterproductive.

Take for example the ludicrous scenario that will see the Federal Government stripping money away from tertiary education to fund schools.

I’ve not had the time to reflect on this properly, but Gonski has – and he no like! He says:

I fervently believe in and will continue to advocate that increases be made in funding the university sector.

If I hear, “We want better teachers” come out of the mouth of a politician again I’ll throw something.

How do you suppose we train these better  teachers if we starve the universities of cash?

Maybe we could just put an instructional video up on YouTube. That should do it. That’s 21st Century teaching after all isn’t it?

We want better teachers! Pfft.

We need better politicians!

0 thoughts on “Gonski, Barry O’Farrell and the Case of the Missing iPod

  1. Tom Reply

    Have any of the number-crunchers looked into the economic feasibility of funding Education in NSW by reducing the salaries of our over-paid politicians?

  2. dskmag Reply

    This is so true. But it’s worse. Higher Education also saw $1bn taken away in the same time period and many staff have been cut or had their jobs (read pay) revised down considerably. In addition, Buffa also said today that to pay for it, TAFE (hit hardest by his reaping last year) would INCREASE costs to students (presumably the ones who don’t go to Uni and can’t get a loan).

    Gonski has quickly distanced himself, and the same people who blew $3bn on the DER (what a game changer that turned out to be) will be the same office-dwellers who have already carved up where this money is going. No new idea, methods, cultures … just more assured funding (which they will also no evaluate).

    What is happening to ‘quality’ is simple. Those at the top, who really don’t understand global economics or social change wish to remain at the top. To do this, they remove full time staff and jobs, allowing them to offer short term contracts and conduct short term experiments – based on commercial persuasion. The biggest people to benefit will be the oh-so entertaining imported edumcation experts who feed off the ‘slippery slope’ fallacy. The same ones who told us exactly what the DER toolkit would do – but it didn’t.

    It’s a sad day really, everyone lost and yet clowns over at the Telegraph are tweeting to Julia and offering congratulations on being the first and bringing hope. I threw up at that point.

    Education is has massive under-employment of talented people and over-supply of people whom believe the masses need managing and herding – playing to the fantasy notion of Australia that rolls around in the head of people like Bob in the Hat.

    Great post, and points which, for some reason the Pres of the Education Union seemed to have missed entirely today when he said “don’t get in the way of reform”. What reform – where it written down. It’s not Gonski – no one knows what it is, apart from a political campaign.

    Rant over.

  3. Kathryn Reply

    Love it when someone states the obvious. Starving universities means a dumbing down of the nation in the long term. Too many short term decisions being made by poll driven politics. People also need to stop blaming teachers for things parents should be doing. Takes more than 6 hours a day to educate a child.

    Thanks for the voice of reason.

  4. david olin Reply

    The $1.7B cut from the NSW budget was achieved through reducing staff numbers at the Dept of Education headquarters at Bridge St in the city (550 administrators to be exact – saving $430M a year over four years worth of budget forecasts). As a public school teacher this has had no effect on me. I am hoping that when the $1.7B flows back into education it makes it to the schools and not head office. That would make all public school teachers smile.
    As for Barry and Julia – public school teachers are just happy that more $$$ will flow into our schools.

  5. banphrionsa Reply

    I’m in my final year of education at the moment, and while I welcome any advances in the education system, I also am getting to witness first hand what funding cuts are doing to universities. Many of my classes have been either moved online or timetables slashed so we have very little face to face time (two of my courses this year are only weeks long for 3 hours a week – and they are really thick and heavy. I actually wish I had the other 5 weeks of semester on them to really get the most out of the course). Our assessments have been slashed since we no longer have the class time to learn applicable content – meaning more of our marks rest on two assessments (which is quite stressful when you don’t do great in something). It also has seen many lecturers trying to push students to seek out additional information on their own time and of their own initiative – even though these resources are really helpful to the topics at hand. I’m really glad I only have one more year of this because out of all of them, I think this ones been the hardest and most strenuous simply because I need the face to face guidance that I am no longer receiving. And don’t get me started on the calibre of candidature based on last years extremely low entry levels to the university I am at… A high majority have dropped the course because it was too hard for them – but was all they could get into so it became a fallback.

    Starting to get sick of the university politics – looking forward to moving into the school politics!!! Especially if there’s some much needed change on the way!

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