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Education reform based on myths

Posted by Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past President on 31 October 2014

The following letter was submitted to The Australian for possible inclusion in the edition for Thursday 30 October 2014 but it was not selected for publication.

Education reform based on myths

Leading education academic Professor Stephen Dinham makes a really important point in observing that significant educational reforms in Australia are often based on myths (“Education reforms ‘based on myths’”, 28/10).

After the Queensland Minister for Education, John-Paul Langbroek, had spoken at a function about 18 months ago, I asked him what evidence there was that the program of independent public schools on which the state had embarked would lead to a net improvement in education.

In reply, he stated that the program sat well with his party’s values and beliefs and that it would be modelled on the one being implemented in Western Australia. He didn’t mention anything that could be considered evidence. His non-answer was very like the one he had given to a similar question in a Radio National interview a few weeks earlier.

It is ironic that teachers are regularly told that their classroom methods must be “evidence based” but politicians conveniently ignore this criterion when they are focused on putting ideology into practice.

Garry Collins

Author: Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past President
About: Garry Collins was ETAQ President from mid July 2005 to 15 March 2014. He taught English in state high schools for around 35 years and now tutors in English curriculum courses in the School of Education at the University of Queensland.
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