Values to be included in NZ curriculum
The New Zealand Ministry of Education has drawn up a list of values for inclusion in the national curriculum. Schools will be consulted on the list next year, with inclusion in the curriculum set for 2007. Values education is already occuring in many schools. See article from The Dominion Post (stuff.co.nz), 18 August 2005.
New support for physical activity in NZ primary schools
The New Zealand Ministry of Education and Sport and Recreation New Zealand (SPARC) have announced 18 new support staff to promote physical activity in primary schools. New professional development materials, activities and school/community planning ideas are also available. See article in New Zealand Education Gazette, 8 August 2005.
New project to strengthen professional learning in NZ
The New Zealand Inservice Teacher Education Practice (INSTEP) project, launched in July, aims to support teacher educators' professional learning and practice. Initially it will focus on school support service advisors and resource teachers in the areas of learning and behaviour, literacy and Maori education. See article in New Zealand Education Gazette, 8 August 2005.
E-learning framework for NZ schools
A selection of schools and other stakeholders in New Zealand will be contacted in term three for feedback on the new Beyond Digital Horizons (e)learning framework. See article in the New Zealand Education Gazette 8 August 2005.
Discontent with No Child Left Behind law grows in USA
A total of 21 states in the USA have introduced legislation containing implicit criticism of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the country's cornerstone federal law on schooling. The discontent is described in a new study by the Civil Society Institute, a nonpartisan advocacy group in Massachusetts. Critics refer to 'the rigidity of the law', which requires high-stakes, standardised testing and penalises schools deemed as failing to make adequate yearly progress. Critics also describe a lack of funding to pay for the testing and the remedial services needed to ensure students make the grade. See report in Christian Science Monitor 19 August 2005. See also the nonprofit group NCLBGrassroots.org.
Costello alarm at anti-US teachers
Left-wing teachers have created a 'dangerous anti-American bias' in Australian schoolchildren, and could leave Australia and the world generally vulnerable to terrorism, according to Australian Government Treasurer Peter Costello. He said that many teachers trained during the 1960s and 1970s carried 'ideological baggage' that is passed on to students. See report in The Age 22 August 2005. Michael Spurr, Executive Director of the History Teachers Association of Victoria, has accused Mr Costello of using teachers 'as an easy target to score political points at a time when Australia's relationship with the US was being widely questioned', according to a later report in The Age 23 August 2005. See also The Age editorial 23 August 2005, and article in The Australian 23 August 2005.
Victoria leaves canteen food policy to individual schools
With child obesity tripling in the last 20 years, the World Health Organisation is calling for state regulations on school canteen food. New South Wales and Queensland are establishing such healthy canteen regulations, while the Victorian Government will leave this to the discretion of individual schools. See article in The Age, 21 August 2005.
Tasmanian school holidays may change
The Tasmanian Government will consider shortening the Christmas school holidays by one week, and adding this to the May vacation period. If adopted, the change will not take effect until at least 2007. See report on ABC Online, 20 August 2005.
Grants for school and community projects in ACT
The Australian Capital Territory Government has announced grants of $56,000 for the Schools as Communities (SAC) Strategic Projects Initiatives. The funds will support 16 projects designed to build links between families, parents and communities in support of young people. See ministerial media release, 12 August 2005.
Australian Government 'to force AWAs on teachers'
The Australian Government wants to ensure that state schools, TAFEs and technical colleges offer Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) to teachers. Vocational Education and Training Minister Gary Hardgrave has flagged a push to impel state schools to offer all teachers Australian Workplace Agreements before the next funding agreements, which are due in 2008. See report in The Australian 22 August 2005.
Nelson backs phonics approach to teaching reading
Australian Government Education Minister Brendan Nelson has praised a phonics-based reading program in a Perth primary school as the model for others to follow. See article in The Australian 24 August 2005.
WA resists delay to Year 11 and 12 overhaul
The Western Australian Government is to proceed with an overhaul of the Year 11 and 12 curriculum, rejecting calls from Australian Government Education Minister Brendan Nelson for a delay. See report in The Australian 19 August 2005.
Reforms to teacher education flagged
Fran Hinton, Chief Executive of the new National Institute for Quality Teaching and School Leadership, has announced plans for a system of national teacher accreditation affecting the content of teaching courses. See article in The Australian 18 August 2005.
Victoria rejects Australian Government call for ranked student reports
The Victorian Government has announced a new report card that assigns students grades of A to E. The report card does not include rankings within each class, from the top 25 per cent to the bottom 25 per cent, which the Australian Government has demanded as a condition for school funding, worth $570 million a year to Victoria. See report in The Age 24 August 2005.
Teachers' strike suspended in SA
In South Australia the Australian Education Union has suspended the deadline set for a strike over pay, due to 'productive' talks with the State Government. See report in The Advertiser (news.com.au) 25 August 2005.
New networking and disability resources for music teachers
To combat the isolation often felt by music teachers, the Northern Metropolitan Region of the Department of Education and Training has created a music website that facilitates networking and access to news and professional development resources. The Department has also introduced a new web-based curriculum for disabled students, with musical arrangements, drama and keyboard activities, to complement the existing SoundHouse Special Access Kit and Banana Keyboard. See media release on Invest Victoria, 5 August 2005. See also articles Education Times, pages 3 and 9, on 11 August 2005.
New inquiry in Victoria on skills shortages
A survey commissioned by the Victorian Government has found that a lack of fully skilled workers in Victoria is limiting employment and growth opportunities for thousands of Victorian companies. The Minister for Education and Training, Lynne Kosky, said that the survey flagged a looming problem and that she had ordered a departmental inquiry into the better ways to refine the current system to grow the economy. See Ministerial media release 21 July 2005.