School attendance should be tied to child welfare payments in Indigenous communities in a bid to improve their education, according to a report by the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS). The report calls for the Australian Government to use its new shared responsibility agreements to push for better outcomes in health, housing and education. See article 'Tie welfare to attendance, says think tank' in Campus Review 15 June 2005.
A new think tank to foster ideas and drive educational and social policy and practice has been recently launched by the Queensland Government. Combining research, policy and practice, Eidos will focus on building innovative learning environments and professional education capabilities and increase funding for educational organisations. Eidos is the collaborative effort of a number of education, social policy and research centres, independent researchers and eight universities. Eidos replaces the Institute for Educational Research, Policy and Evaluation. See article in Education Views 27 May 2005.
Western Australia's Department of Education and Training (DET) is to introduce a new Education and Training Sector Record Keeping Plan (RKP) for schools and District Education Offices (DEOs). The RKP will help staff meet requirements for keeping accurate, complete and reliable records under the State Records Act 2000, in line with increased public awareness of freedom of information, and Parliamentary reporting and accountability requirements. Online induction and training workshops on the RKP and related issues for schools and DEOs are expected later this year. Western Australian educators can access information at http://detweb/operations/records_management. See article in School Matters 27 May 2005, p 9.
The South Australian Government has received a report on school fees. The report, by consultant Graham Foreman, found that the fees system had become more complex and was 'poorly understood by parents and a costly administrative burden on school resources'. The report also raised concerns at 'inequities arising from students being excluded from particular curriculum offerings and activities'. South Australian Education Minister Jane Lomax-Smith has said the Government would adopt '95 per cent' of the recommendations, but would not act on the report's call to give school councils power to charge higher fees without parental approval. See article in The Advertiser 27 June 2005.
Over 13,000 South Australian teachers from 1,000 schools went on strike on July 5, protesting the State Government's offer of a 14 per cent pay increase over three years. The Australian Education Union (AEU) is seeking a 16.5 per cent rise. See article in The Advertiser 6 July 2005.
A 400 pupil state school in Wellington, New Zealand, has allowed a Bible studies group to recommence lunchtime meetings, overturning its earlier demand for the group to cease meeting. The group was started in 2002 by parents and grandparents, and requires written permission from parents for children to attend. See article in The Dominion Post 7 July 2005.
Peter Macdonald, a Crown-appointed schools manager in New Zealand, is calling for a review of Tomorrow’s Schools, the policy which transferred the management of schools to elected boards of trustees. The policy, which has been in effect since 1989, is seen as causing financial and employment difficulties for schools, particularly in low socioeconomic areas. Mr Macdonald suggests establishing a volunteer pool of business leaders to provide the business management and employment law expertise that boards may lack. The School Trustees Association (STA) argues that existing support measures, which include a free-call help desk, regional personnel and industrial experts, already provide sufficient support for boards of trustees. See article in The New Zealand Herald 6 July 2005.
Technology teachers from the USA's National Education Association (NEA) are calling for greater depth in computer science education, and a curriculum that integrates computer science through every grade. Pointing to the basic content and optional nature of courses available, teachers want to see more students training in software development, hardware design, language programs and database management to meet increasing work force needs. The call comes after a 60% decrease in enrolments in computer science degrees in the USA between 2001 and 2004. The Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), a newly formed advocacy group, will be promoting a model curriculum with an integrated computer science component. See article on CNN 5 July 2005.
The Australian Capital Territory Government has introduced the position of Children and Young People Commissioner. The Commissioner will consult with children and young people to promote their participation in decision making; investigate complaints about services for children, young people or their carers, and establish processes for the resolution of complaints; ensure that the Human Rights Commission is accessible to children and young people and sensitive to their linguistic and cultural backgrounds; and work with other Commissioners to defend the rights and interests of young people. See Ministerial media release 30 June 2005.
More than 70% of college students in the USA use the Internet more than the library, a recent study has found. In response to this trend, a consortium of universities and the Educational Testing Service (ETS) are creating a test to evaluate 'Internet intelligence' in terms of ability to use search engines effectively, and evaluate and credit information found online. Some universities plan to use the USA's Information and Communication Literacy Assessment as an entrance test, with remedial classes for those who don't demonstrate adequate skills. See article in USA Today 3 July 2005.
Two new web-based courses funded by the USA's Department of Education will provide professional development for elementary and secondary maths teachers. The Seeing Math courses have been developed by the Concord Consortium to help establish a base of teachers 'highly qualified' in core subjects by the end of the 2005–06 school year, as required by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The programs will help teachers update their knowledge of content and develop teaching abilities by providing an outline of teaching strategies, online discussion groups and videos of suggested class lessons. See article on eSchool News (registration required).
The New South Wales Government has announced that all private and public schools in the State will be required to provide annual performance reports. The reports will contain information on student attendance, staff qualifications and rentention, educational targets and student performance results in several state-wide tests, including School Certificate and Higher School Certificate. Comparisons of each school's performance with the state-wide average and with other similar schools will be made publicly available. The Government will trial the reports next year, with plans to have all schools using the system by 2007. See article in The Sydney Morning Herald 1 July 2005.
A new online cataloguing service for all New Zealand school libraries will provide students with quality information about the resources their libraries hold. The online facility, provided through the School Catalogue Information Service (SCIS), is being introduced this month as a joint project by the New Zealand Ministry of Education and the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mâtauranga o Aotearoa. It will provide quality cataloguing information to all New Zealand schools. See Ministerial media statement 12 July 2005.
A study into the workload of New Zealand secondary teachers, conducted by the Australian Council for Educational Research and the New Zealand Council for Educational Research, has found that while secondary teachers spend increasing amounts of time on work-related activity, this was comparable to time spent by secondary teachers on their work in other countries. The New Zealand government is nevertheless considering strategies to address the issue of teachers' workloads. For more information see the Media Release, 13 June 2005, and the Report on Secondary Teacher Workload Study.