Queensland schools

April 4, 2006

Education Queensland did what the other states have been doing for years yesterday by releasing a 'league table' of sorts, ranking secondary schools in Queensland according to the percentage of students who received an OP of 15 or better in their senior year. For the uninitiated, OPs are equivalent to TERs, ENTER etc scores in other states. An OP 1 is good, 25 is bad.

Most private schools and some of the top public schools in Queensland already give out this information in school newsletters and reports, presumably to give parents an objective idea of how the school is fairing academically, as well as trying to attract future enrollments.

Back in my days at Brisbane State High (ranked 50 – highest public school in Brisbane), the first newsletter of the year will always give a run-down of the school's senior academic performances from the previous year. It often included the destinations of students, listing the major universities and TAFEs around the region and the percentage of students who were offered a place there.

And it's not just the good schools that are doing it. Earlier this year, I remember seeing the big newsboard situated outside Centenary State High (ranked 189) saying – 'Congratulations seniors, three OP 1s!'

Which is why I got the shits when I read that principals and teachers tried to distance themselves from the report, claiming that the table is meaningless and parents should not pick a school for their children based on these results.

Shut the fuck up. It is OP scores which tertiary institutions look at when selecting students for enrolment, not bullshit like whether the school had a good rowing program. It seems to be more the case of shit schools not wanting people to know that they're shit rather than good schools not wanting to promote themselves.

While not perfect, OPs are the only objective indicator of academic performance across schools. Releasing this information provides a wealth of information for parents and educators to base their decisions on. More of the same, please.


It’s been a while…

April 4, 2006

…since I've blogged. Not that many people seemed to notice. It wasn't exactly a conscious decision I made to stop blogging, rather I just kept putting it off and then just forgot about it altogether.

I guess working pretty much full-time and completing a traineeship during the holidays didn't help, along with the fact that I've also seemed to develop something resembling that of a life during this time. So blogging was always gonna take a break.

But now that uni's back in full swing and as the procrastination and boredom which originally prompted me to start blogging sets in again, I suppose I might give (semi-regular) blogging another go. Also nods to Lee and his comment which reminded me that I once had a blog.

Let's see how long before I give it up this time round…


November 17, 2005
“I’m sick of us saying, ‘When are we going to qualify for the World Cup’? When are we going to win the World Cup? … Call me a dreamer.” – Johnny Warren

Do it for Johnny!

November 15, 2005

A rather amusing ad in today’s newspapers from the good people at Nike:


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The Soccero… uh, Football-roos

November 15, 2005

There are only two occasions when Australian soccer receives anywhere near as much media attention as the other football codes. That time every four years when we reach the final hurdle in the quest to qualify for the World Cup; and whenever ethnic hooligans fight each other. With such a strong sporting tradition it’s a shame that the ‘World Game’ gets so little attention here.

There are some obvious and not so obvious reasons for this. Soccer has to compete with the big four of Aussie rules, rugby, league, and cricket, but this is no reason why it can’t succeed here. Indeed, soccer has already won in the sense that more kids play the round ball game than any other sport. The trouble is trying to keep these kids playing soccer when they get older, which isn’t helped by the lack of opportunities in Australia. Geography is the main reason for this, exemplified by the fact that the last few ‘home’ games for the Socceroos were played in London.

Many soccer clubs in Australia have also traditionally been ethnic based, usually founded by groups of postwar immigrants from Eastern Europe. It was common during the old NSL days to see fans waving a few Greek or Croation flags at games, and still is today around the various state leagues. Perhaps this ‘ethnicity’, and the view that only wogs play soccer has turned a lot of would be mainstream fans away.

One may also examine Australia’s sporting record in general. We only seem to be good at the sports only a handful of other countries play. There are ten countries that play test cricket, and half of them are shit. It’s a similar story for other sports we generally consider ourselves among the best in world at – league; rugby; netball; and to an extent, swimming.

Hopefully this will all change by the end of tomorrow night. Or if not then, at least in four years time when we’re part of the Asian Confederation and take part in a ‘real’ qualification campaign instead of the Oceania farce we have to go through today.

It’s Time


Intelligent Design

October 25, 2005

The issue of teaching intelligent design along with evolution in the classroom seems to be getting quite a bit of media attention recently (or at least on the letters page of the Australian for the last three days).

Personally, I don’t ever remember being taught evolution in high school science, but that’s obviously because I never did senior biology. Somewhat ironically, my exposure to the theory of evolution came in logic class (read: discrete mathematics + psychology + philosophy).

Scientists claim that ID is not science, and is nothing but a ploy to get God in the classroom. ID supporters say kids should be exposed to both theories and make their minds up for themselves. Some say that scientists also make a ‘leap of faith’ when they think they can understand the world around them.

I’m not a scientist, and I won’t comment on the science behind ID, but I do know a few things – The theory of evolution has been around for around a hundred and fifty years. It has undergone extensive research and scientific evaluation and review, with tens of thousands of books and journal articles being written on it. This is why it is being taught in classrooms.

ID on the other hand, has been around for less than fifteen years. The amount of research and analysis into ID in the form of books and journal articles pales in comparison with that of evolution (are there even any credible journal articles on ID?).

Whether or not we are able to understand the world through science is irrelevant. If ID supporters really want to get their theory being taught in schools – do the research. Have a real debate with scientists over the science behind ID instead of hiding behind that leap of faith/let the kids decide crap. Shut the hell up otherwise.

Stupid Australians

October 24, 2005

One doesn’t have to wander far to know why Nguyen Tuong Van is hardly a household name in the country, despite having spent the last three years on death row in Singapore for drug possession.

Nguyen Tuong Van is neither white, nor has any tits, which of course means he’s of no interest to the mainstream-tabloid-reading Australian public, and is probably guilty anyway. Plus, ‘Our Tuong Van’ just doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as well as ‘Our Schapelle’.