Bookmarked QandA:‘what works’ in ed with Bob Lingard, Jessica Gerrard, Adrian Piccoli, Rob Randall,Glenn Savage (chair) by Glenn Savage
On November 6th, I hosted a Q&A Forum at the University of Sydney, co-sponsored by the AARE ‘Politics and Policy in Education’ Special Interest Group and the School and Teacher Education Policy Research Network at the University of Sydney. It featured Adrian Piccoli (Director of the UNSW Gonski Institute for Education), Jessica Gerrard (senior lecturer in education, equity and politics at the University of Melbourne), Bob Lingard (Emeritus Professor at the University of Queensland and Professorial Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University) and Rob Randall (CEO of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority).
Glenn Savage chairs a conversation with a varied group of voices discussing impact of evidence, Think Tanks and NAPLAN on education.


We can’t rely on a medical model, where RCTs come from, for something like classroom practice, and you can see this in John Hattie’s very influential book Visible Learning. You just have to look at the Preface where he says that he bracketed out of his study any factor that was out of school … there’s no RCT on the funding of elite private schools, but yet we do these things. (Jessica Gerrard)

The think tank usually has a political-ideological position, it usually takes the policy problem as given rather than thinking about the construction, I think it does research and writes reports which have specific audiences in mind, one the media and two the politicians. (Bob Lingard)

NAPLAN is the King Kong of education policy because it started off relatively harmless on this little island and now it’s ripping down buildings and swatting away airplanes. I mean it’s just become this dominant thing in public discourse around education. (Adrian Piccoli)

Liked The History of the Future of High School by Audrey Watters,Kitron Neuschatz,Lia Kantrowitz (Vice)
Masking the real history of high school in America also helps the DeVoses of the world obscure legitimate problems the education system has always faced—problems that have been deliberately created and maintained. Funding inequality and racial segregation are rarely the focus of these sorts of stories about an ever-unchanging educational system. The dominant narrative instead tends to point to teachers or curricula, or even bells and early start times, as the reason schools are “broken” and that students aren’t being adequately prepared for the future.
Replied to Building the Windmill (or knocking it down again?) by Darcy Moore (Darcy Moore's Blog)
It is easy to be wise after the event but it was clear to everyone in education at the time what this kind of standardised testing (soon to be turned into pseudo-league tables) would do to our schools and communities. Now, we are all about to embark on the next iteration of school reform with many of the same players in place and the same kind of flawed, grand educational policy about to start afresh. One can only hope we do not forget the lessons of Animal Farm for those of us who have to carry out the real work of planning for the never-ending rebuilding of The Windmill.
It feels like people are picking and choosing the bits that they like in the new Gonski review, I wonder though whether we can have the collaboration without the newfound accountability?

Anyway, off to push the rock to the top of the hill once again.

Bookmarked Gonski’s new plan to reinvent Australian schools for the future has this one big flaw by John Fischetti (EduResearch Matters)
The glaring contradiction in the report, as I see it, its that it asks for massive changes to an assembly-line reality by advocating for more assessment assembly-lines. Ken Boston in his recent commentary speaks to this by advocating that this is a “evolution not a revolution.” What is missing from this argument for learning progressions is the assumption that learning can be standardized across children. Chunking a NAPLAN component a day or week turns teachers into test givers and paper pushers rather than gifted learning scientists negotiating each child’s journey through the curriculum so that they are engaged and inspired, not lab rats.
Another post adding to the conversation on #Gonski2.
Bookmarked Professional learning and collaboration: Where have they Gonski and where are we going? (the édu flâneuse)
As teachers are asked to increasingly use data, be aware of research, collaborate, and engage in ongoing professional learning, workload remains an issue. Collaboration and professional learning take time. Professional learning, in particular, often happens in teachers’ own time, and using their own funds. Time and resourcing are important considerations influencing to what extent teachers are able to collaborate and participate in effective professional learning.
Deborah Netolicky reflects upon the need for time and collaboration called out in the recent Gonski review. I have been a part of the introduction of Disciplined Collaboration in my previous school, as well as the development of collaborative presentations for conferences. I think that this comes back to the challenge of funding associated with such endeavors. Even if various administrative tasks are taken from teachers, they need to be done by somebody and that is still a cost.
Listened TER #112 – Perspectives on Gonski 2 – 13 May 2018 from Teachers' Education Review

With the release of the “Gonski 2.0” report, there have been many conversations about just what is the ideal vision for the future of Australian education. But in considering the many recommendations included in the report, what would it even mean to implement them? And is there broad agreement that they do actually represent the best vision for the future of education in Australia?

For this special episode, we bring together 4 different perspectives on the report and its findings, including:

This is an intriguing conversation and provides a number of perspectives on Gonski from academics who has been following the topic for several years.
This call for a ‘review’ has sparked a range of responses. One of the focuses seems to be strip the curriculum ‘back to basics’. I am interested in Professor Geoff Masters role in leading the review:

The NSW Education Standards Authority would engage Professor Geoff Masters from the Australian Council for Education Research to lead the review.

He said the review would look at implementation issues and look for ways to declutter and simplify the curriculum.source

Time will tell what this review will actually provide. As a Victorian, it is interesting to watch from afar.

Replied to Gonski 2.0: Promoting a deficit view of Australian teachers (the édu flâneuse)
Of course we can and should improve Australian education. Of course we should have high expectations of students and educators. Of course we should develop our knowledge of effective teaching, learning and leading. Of course we should continue to develop our engagement with research and evidence. But Australian education is not a factory model of mass education production. It is not a calamitous problem to be solved, a bunch of broken individuals to be fixed, or a commercial opportunity ready to be flooded by corporate solutions. Australian teachers, school leaders and schools deserve trust, respect, support and involvement in policymaking.
I am really interested in your point about rhetoric. Another interesting read on the topic of testing and improvement is National Testing in Schools. I was really struct by the influence that NAPLAN has had on the way we speak about learning and education as a whole, especially Nicole Mockler’s chapter. It feels that this report continues some of this.