The Victorian Auditor General has released a report, Improving our Schools: Monitoring and Support. The report highlighted that support for schools had improved in a number of areas, 'including improved processes for identifying schools needing support'. It reported that 'targeted initiatives had been developed from a sound evidence base, and more intensive support for schools was provided by the Department’s regional offices.' See media release 10 October 2007 from the Auditor General. See also media statement 10 October 2007 by Victorian Education Minister Bronwyn Pike and commentary in The Age 13 October 2007. The article states that 'underperforming principals could be removed and high-performing ones given financial incentives to work in struggling schools'.
Legislation to support the South Australian Government’s $54.5 million revamp of South Australia’s high school certificate has been introduced into State Parliament. The legislation will provide a foundation for the governance and management of a new South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE). Senior school students in Government, Catholic and Independent schools will begin the new SACE from 2009, with the first students graduating in 2011. See the South Australian Premier's media release 27 September 2007.
The 14th Annual Curriculum Corporation Conference is a timely opportunity to participate in the debate about the future of curriculum in Australia. At a time when national attention is sharply focussed on the education agenda, the Curriculum Corporation Conference will assemble national and international experts in education who have initiated and led large-scale curriculum reform to provide their views on the shape of 21st century curriculum. The Conference will be held on 12-13 November in Sydney. With limited places left, register at http://www.curriculum.edu.au/conference/2007.
Low income Catholic families feel shut out of 'the increasingly middle-class Catholic school system', according to an analysis of census data described in an article in the Sydney Morning Herald October 13, 2007.
The Australian Government has formed a new working group to investigate the safety of social networking sites and the danger they pose to Australian children. The taskforce will look at sites like MySpace and Facebook and see how paedophiles can infiltrate them and use the internet to get closer to young people. The Social Network Consultative Group is part of the Government's $189 million NetAlert program. See ABC News report 13 September 2007. In New York, State Attorney-General Andrew Cuomo says his office has subpoenaed Facebook, accusing the social networking site of not keeping young users safe from sexual predators and not responding to user complaints. See article in The Age 25 September 2007, and see also the feature article in the current edition of Curriculum Leadership.
The Australian Government is inviting community feedback on how it can utilise new Internet technologies to enhance its processes for facilating consultation with the public.
Daily television viewing for two or more hours in early childhood can lead to behavioral problems and poor social skills, according to a study of children 2.5 to 5.5 years of age conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. See report in The JHU Gazette 1 October 2007 and commentary in The Age 2 October 2007.
In South Australia, the school completion rate for boys has fallen while the number of girls remaining at school has increased to its highest level in 10 years, according to an article in The Advertiser 15 October 2007. The article reports Education Department Chief Executive, Chris Robinson, as stating that the figures do not account for students moving between schools and do not highlight the range of choices students make.
In August, the Senate voted for the Australian Media and Communications Authority to provide a report to the Australian Government on: '(i) strategies to prevent and/or reduce the sexualisation of children in the media, and (ii) the effectiveness of different approaches to reducing the amount of sexualisation that occurs and ... ameliorating its effects'. See Journals of the Senate 15 August 2007 p13. See also see commentary in Online Opinion 26 September 2007. In the USA, a taskforce of the American Psychological Association has published a report entitled the Sexualization of Girls expressing concern that the 'proliferation of sexualized images of girls and young women in advertising, merchandising, and media is harming girls' self-image and healthy development'.
Almost half of Victoria's new state secondary school teachers have taught a subject in which they are not qualified because of teacher shortages, according to an article in The Age 14 October 2007.
Sponsored by Australian Government Department of Education, Science and Training, the Judith Leeson Award is open to primary and secondary teachers involved in delivering a career education program. Nominations must be made by principals. Questions can be directed to Cameron Picton, (03) 9207 9600.
On behalf of the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA), Curriculum Corporation is conducting a survey of Australian school libraries for the Educational Lending Right (ELR) Project. The data collected by schools is used to recompense Australian authors, illustrators, editors, translators, compilers and publishers. If your school has been chosen to participate this year, your time and a prompt response would be greatly appreciated. For further information contact the ELR Project Officer on (03) 9207 9600 or 1800 337 405 (free call outside Melbourne metropolitan area).
Over 40 community groups and organisations have agreed to form a new national peak body to advance rural and remote education in Australia. The new national body will be formed by expanding the membership of the Rural Education Forum Australia (REFA), and will function as an alliance. The new body is to be officially launched next year. See REFA media release.
A 234-unit housing project specifically for educators is being developed in New York. The project, backed by a teachers' fund, could become a model applied in other cities where the cost of living is high. See report from Associated Press 14 October 2007.