In Australia,we follow both British and U.S systems and traditions, and a few we have created all by ourselves.
Of course,we make the necessary changes so that they become what we consider workable within our society. This is well highlighted if you examine the history of our school system(s).
Our schools originally based on the British school system, have American influences that have crept in to create a mix of the two, producing the N.S.W system the QLD system etc etc etc.
An exception to this of course are private schools; which primarily held onto their British identity and traditions much longer than the public system and, to some degree still do, as far as the very generous government grants they now receive will allow.
As you would expect we pay more out of pocket expenses for our child to attend a public school than we did in the past.
For example,all I was sent to school with was a pencil case, a few exercise books and my lunch in a brown paper bag.
The biggest cost each year (that I can remember) was a new pair of shoes and a couple of uniforms along with the ugliest school bag ever, you know the bags that were real bags? The mini suit case people will now pay a fortune for as decorator items.
They say that ones mans rubbish is another mans treasure. Well, it also holds true for time as one decades junk is another decades gold. How many times have you heard, if only I knew then what I know now? And who has tried to impart that knowledge onto their children only to find their “junk” as trashed as yours was.
But I digress, my point was, under our school system when I was a child the government would supply, pencils; lead and coloured, rulers, text books (all of them) dictionaries etc etc.
The public service was a different animal back then too, and they never really got the hang of making sure supply controls were adequate; so many pencils were being used that they could have assumed some great works of literature were being scribed by half the children in the country.
There was no end to the supply; I know this because I was just one actively testing this by constantly requesting more and more. I’m sure that if you looked in my bedroom as a child I could have supplied a small school with pencils for at least a year or two.
This was not the only thing that amazed me, for every pencil had Commonwealth of Australia printed on it in gold lettering. Really? Was this necessary, cost effective, and, was their an inspector somewhere that was out checking for pens and pencils belonging to the government.
Did you notice I mentioned pens? Yep they were supplied as well just not to primary school kids but high school students and public servants were rolling in them.In fact I don’t think you could walk into the home of a public servant and not leave without a free pen when you were a kid in Canberra.
I can’t even imagine how much stationary costs were allocated in the federal budget each year however, It would have been enough to keep a number of companies alive and possibly became the foreign aid budget once the buy ya bloody own system was introduced, to claw back a budget deficit without raising taxes; which would have been much more unpopular. Although, there is always the possibility it was just revenge during a time when unions were at their strongest and demanding and getting greater pay rises. Now the unions are much weaker and it seems pay rises come when our biggest companies want us to pay more for everything.
The government continues to get its revenge on the generation of stationary thieves by making sure the book list is not only bigger each year, but also requires more exotic and specific items, apparently our children now need a scientific calculator and iPads in primary school!!
What was wrong with number blocks? I say bring back the abacus, and the sentence maker.
I must admit however I spent most of my time in maths asking why don’t they just teach us to use a calculator, which just goes to show I was way ahead of my time or possibly that the education department of today have only just caught up with the ideas of a primary school child of the 70’s. That one I will leave up to you to decide.
Needless to say under the now normal system my child has a collection of pencils, pens, calculators,etc that fills a large box, this does not include the old txt books and partially used exercise books that in my opinion were a just incase we can fit them completely into the curriculum items.
The fact is most of the work these days is done on work sheets downloaded while drinking a glass of red the night before and printed on the multiple reams of paper also purchased by us the parents.
I wonder just what the government does pay for, teachers wages that are obviously too low to keep the good teachers teaching, and maybe the electricity, and the odd new building and library book. However, I then have to wonder what the voluntary contribution and other fees are for? Is the government actually paying for anything other than the staff?
“The revolution” I now understand the education revolution, it’s a revolution against the people and the school system itself and it never started in the 21st century it just continued.
All it needed in the 21st century was new camouflage to convince the public they could continue to believe a quality education available to all; and they can, but what do we now call quality? Because I believe that has changed dramatically over the years.
I certainly hope that a move to create a national curriculum will be a move we can all be happy with. It will be interesting to see if it levels the playing field when funding individual schools, and allows teachers the freedom and ability to change locations and remain in an education system they are well trained for.
Honestly, the education system I went through was much better than is currently being delivered in the so called “age of technology”. And I believe in free pencils, pens and exercise books. I believe the gestetner machine was great at producing worksheets that were created with love and attention to detail, they smelt great and got me out of class on more than one occasion to turn the handle for the teacher.
I think it’s true to say that teachers enjoyed teaching much more in the past than they do today. I believe we have lost so much that was good in trying to prove that the next generation could run the system better, we need to admit they couldn’t, and take a few steps back.We need to get the older teachers back into the system that they created and ran so well for so many years.
What I believe is that we have created a situation, where we can never expect to go back to a place & time I thrived in. A place that needed the corruption fixed not the system. A place where I felt part of the future and not just a vision of the past.