WITH the past 10 years given to NAPLAN appliance, and results just received by schools and parents, education notables and some state education ministers have seen little gain in the task, so lauded by the then education minister Birmingham. One eminent principal, Dr John Collier of Sydney's St Andrew's School, deemed it a “serious distraction, spawning anxiety among parents and students, creating a whole industry of NAPLAN coaching guides” (‘Top principal says test must go’, Sun Herald, 9/18).
Standardised measures of literacy and numeracy levels from the texts of qualified educationalists have been followed for decades. Immediacy of findings are acted upon where necessary to the benefit of each child, contrary to the current five-month unknown NAPLAN showing. Present NAPLAN adherence espy the reported year 3 and year 5 reading score advancements accredited to NAPLAN. The blending of “whole-language” and phonic approach to the reading pursuit, for a particular needs approach, is the outcome; and been on hand in infants/primary well pre-NAPLAN.
Boundary guideline lessening has seen the encroachment of a 'school shopping' practice intrusion to the detriment of enrolment numbers in several Sydney school feeder zones especially. Evidence of NAPLAN outcomes have added to this.
Successive NAPLANs have revealed disproportionate numbers of year 9 students found wanting; pupil demographics and home background being factors showing the most need for resource funding.
Political intrusion should not be a NAPLAN resolve, though strong human resource need is obvious, especially in the secondary schools sector.
PEOPLE are truly concerned about the Greater Newcastle Regional Plan released this week. What a dud of a plan from our elected representatives in Sydney! With due regard to the wonderful city of Newcastle, this is hardly a “regional” plan when almost all the mooted growth areas are in Newcastle itself! The area Glendale/Cardiff was thrown in at the last minute for the largest city, Lake Macquarie, and little mention of the need for jobs and transport connections in the growth corridors around Morisset/Toronto and Maitland/Cessnock.
Our local politicians are also not listening. Five hundred people attended Tuesday’s Newcastle City Council meeting to try to get the council to drop its inane plan to cut parking for the hugely successful Regal Cinema. Meanwhile Lake Macquarie City Council pushes ahead with the six-storey high rise right on the Toronto foreshore, dismissing the 500 people who attended the public meeting and voting against it!
It is not about being anti-development. Far from it! It’s about development that works with community opinion and in harmony with our environment and our winning assets for the good of the whole Hunter Region. It’s time for our elected politicians to start listening.
PEOPLE, unknown (at this stage), have been, for a number of years, furtively trespassing onto land owned by Maitland council, and land leased by Bloomfield Colliery. They have cut down about 50 mature ironbarks in what has been listed by the NSW government as an Endangered Ecological Community: the Lower Hunter Spotted Gum and Ironbark Forest. They have then stolen select pieces of these trees (‘Patrols ramp up after trees illegally cut down’, Newcastle Herald, 19/9). This illegal behaviour was reported to Maitland council in February 2013, September 2016, and August 2018. The Office of Environment and Heritage has recently visited the site, and had discussions with Maitland council, Bloomfield Colliery, and the police.
The question that has to be asked is: what can be done to stop this environmental vandalism? The amount of wood being removed suggests to me this is a commercial operation, with an estimated value of tens of thousands of dollars. Stolen! The method being used to illegally remove the timber from several locations over a number of years suggests it is the same person. This Forest provides sanctuary for threatened plants and critically endangered birds. One thing that is certain is that other people will know who is doing this. These criminals are having a devastating impact on this vital environment. If someone is committing an act of vandalism, the community has the opportunity to help by reporting the offence.
IN a Newcastle Herald article Robert Monteath points out global transition to renewable energy has been slow, but now renewables are the cheapest forms of electricity generation, the rate is accelerating rapidly (‘We must base power plans on sense’, Herald, 18/9). The AEMO, who operate the National Electricity Grid, have developed an integrated system plan (ISP) for it which sees the future of power generation as renewables with storage, pumped hydro, and flexible gas-powered generation. No mention of nuclear or new coal. Germany, a leader in renewable energy, agrees. While the rest of Europe may be planning to build 15 new nuclear power plants, they intend to replace their 17 such plants with renewables by 2022. Robert claims renewables work only 15 per cent of the time in Australia, but a 2018 Windlab report shows Australia’s 50 best wind farms have capacity factors ranging from 45 per cent to 25 per cent. My experience with rooftop solar is, while output varies with time of day and cloud, operating time is far greater than 15 per cent. And hydro can be 24/7 renewable.
IS it a sign that I'm getting old or what? I know I share this complaint with at least one other person. A friend recently visited a fast food outlet (Subway) and, upon placing his order, was bombarded with a succession of questions. What type of bread, what type of cheese, toasted, what salads, what sauce, salt and/or pepper, a drink. By the time his sandwich was lovingly assembled he was quite exhausted from the inquisition. But never mind. There is an $8 special on today. You get a free cookie. “What type of cookie would you like?” “I don't want a cookie, thanks,” replied my friend. “Oh, but you must take it.” “I don't want it.” “Then give it away.” “OK, I'll give it to you.” “What type would you like to give me?” “I don't know, you're eating it, what type do you want?” “Oh, I like the cream ones.” “Then a cream one it is,” replied the friend. “That will be $10, thank you.” “But I ordered the $8 special.” “Yes, but the cream cookies are an extra $2.” I swear this is a true story and I suffer from the same condition, an allergy to acute questionitis.
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