Saturday, September 04, 2004


The major Leftist opposition party in Australia, led by Mark Latham, is remarkably responsible by Leftist standards. They mostly manage to keep their loony Leftists on a leash. Their latest schools policy is an example. A policy that stresses incentives for good teachers, promises to tackle discipline problems and guarantees a high level of Federal funding for non-government schools is probably about as good as can be expected from a Leftist party without totally alienating the Leftist teachers who form a big part of their base

MARK Latham has pledged that "the best" teachers will be paid around $70,000 a year to work in poorly performing schools, but warned the ALP had no plans to reverse the trend of parents choosing private schools.

Unveiling the first instalment of his election pitch on education, the Opposition Leader yesterday announced details of his plan to find 750 "great teachers" and pay them above current salary scales to teach in schools with low retention rates or literacy levels and areas of high unemployment, truancy and poverty.

Mr Latham pledged his $315 million plan would also tackle out-of-control kids and ensure that "better values" and discipline are taught.

Saying he had never wagged a day of school, Mr Latham said the ALP would find teachers who specialised in improving the results of vulnerable students and pay them extra money to teach.

"We are talking about schools with low retention rates and literacy levels, disadvantaged communities, high levels of poverty in surrounding districts and a high number of students with special learning needs," he said.

Mr Latham has pledged to guarantee overall spending on private schools but redistribute money within the sector and increase spending on public schools. However, he declined to say yesterday which private schools could face funding cuts in favour of low-fee independent and Catholic schools.

Asked if he wanted to reverse the switch to private schools, which teaches 30 per cent of students, Mr Latham said: "We don't have a target for changing the distribution between government and non-government. We have policies aimed at better schools in both sectors."

More here


"More than six of every seven delegates to the July 3-7 Representative Assembly of the National Education Association (NEA) supported the recommendation of U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) for president of the United States. The 86.5 percent endorsement margin falls short of previous margins for Bill Clinton and Al Gore, but nevertheless constitutes a pretty firm alliance between NEA's most active members and the Democratic Party. Two weeks later, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) also approved a resolution endorsing Kerry for president at its July 14-17 convention." More here.

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