Instead of fixing a struggling education system, Gillard and Swan have ignored Australian schools and decided to hand out cash to parents, proving that votes are more important than a school system that is out-dated and falling behind in relation to world standards.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Treasurer Wayne Swan have announced that one million Australian families will receive a cash bonus for each school-aged child that they have.
This bonus is set to replace the existing education tax refund. Families will receive $820 for child that they have attending secondary school and $410 for each child in primary school. The government will also issue back payments for the past financial year in a one-off bonus.
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Do Australian schools reinforce disadvantage and fail to promote equity in education? Cultural-left critics, like the Australian Education Union, teacher academics like Melbourne University’s Jack Keating and, most recently, the Gonski Report on school funding all argue “yes”.
The belief is that instead of providing a ladder of opportunity and overcoming disadvantage, Australia’s schools, especially non-government schools and selective high schools, reinforce inequity and injustice by favouring already privileged and affluent students at the expense of those less fortunate.
According to critics, only the wealthy can afford a good education while poorer students forced to attend government schools are destined to failure. As a result, critics argue, governments must stop funding Catholic and independent schools, selective high schools (where entry is based on merit and ability) must be closed and all students must be forced to attend the same state-managed and controlled government schools.
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The London Olympic Games later this year has focused minds on the place of competition, excellence and winning in sport.
Historically, the Games have allowed various countries to showcase their best athletes and the medal count represents a league table used by nations and their citizens to evaluate success and failure.
Recent events suggest that this might no longer be the case. Research funded by the European based Equity in Sport foundation concludes that not all countries and athletes have an equal chance of success.
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What would it be like to be illiterate in Australia today?
You probably wouldn’t be able to follow medical instructions properly. You’d struggle to comprehend the news. You wouldn’t be able to understand the many important contracts that get put in front of us at key junctures in our lives. And you wouldn’t be able to navigate all the forms you have to sign to access the entitlements you have as a citizen—like getting Medicare and your tax returns.
Naturally, all this would make your quality of life a lot poorer. If you can’t read lines of print then you sure as hell can’t read between them. And there are many more illiterate Australians out there than most of us would have thought.
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