With the proposal to introduce standardised assessment of reading, phonics and numeracy at Grade 1, linking teacher salary progression to demonstrated competency and achievement and provision of annual reports to parents that identify literacy and numeracy attainment against national standards focusses education on outcome based methodologies in a fairly narrow target area such as STEM subjects. This simply builds on creating an economically efficient and measurable education system, that will maybe create more economically efficient people – but will this enable future generations to think laterally and solve critical issues that are effecting us such as climate change, family violence, gender disparity, poverty and disadvantage?
This obsessive focus on purely outcome based achievement levels neglects and negates the development of creative thinking, the ability to connect through meaningful relationships using the creative arts and the development of people based skills including Emotional Intelligence, self and social awareness. It is vital that we balance our education system needs with emotional and humanistic subjects that teach the ability to develop healthy and positive relationships, to resolve conflict peacefully, self and social awareness.
Daylesford Dharma School is a regionally based primary school with a low socio-economic population and consequent low fee base the Gonski funding has certainly enabled us to provide better programs in all areas. The Federal Budget 2016 fails to match the final two years of funding and is likely to adversely affect our capacity to deliver the programs we currently have. On top of this the extra accountability, recording and reporting requirements that are likely to come out of the proposed conditions will only serve to put more pressure and the need for greater resources in administration which takes away from our core business of educating children in all facets of life not just literacy and numeracy.
Our communities need a generation of creative, innovative problem solvers that can really tackle the world with which we are leaving them. Not just inventing technological and medical breakthroughs, but who will break down emotional barriers and social fears, understand the consequences of their actions and be able to truly connect with one another with kindness and compassion.