Dr Peter White's Blog

Thoughts and comments from Dr Peter White -- political, philosophical, spiritual, musical and more

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Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

I am retired from the Uni. of Queensland, and have numerous interests inside and outside of the uni. I play classical, bluegrass, country and folk guitar (hows that for a mix?) I am a member of the Australian Labor Party and am currently branch secretary of the Mt Coot-tha branch. I'm also involved in developing virtual reality builds and websites. Never bored!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Congratulations Mr Rudd!

Well, the last fortnight has seen some momentous changes in the political arena in Oz. Kevin Rudd is now the leader of the opposition Labor party. Rudd's credentials are impressive, as far as organising and running a government go. It's now the test to see if he can convince increasingly cynical voters to vote Labor back in after a hiatus of eleven years.

Rudd has been a diplomat; he speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, he was head of the Queensland government under Premier Goss in the 1990s for six years. He has been a parliamentarian since 1998. He is also articulate, intelligent, and willing to listen.

Having said all that, my first recommendation to Mr Rudd comes from a story in the Brisbane Courier Mail last week: "Rudd puts teachers on notice".

Mr Rudd, instead of whipping the teachers, please cast your eyes over the conditions in which they work and are trained. Look at the bureaucracies and the increasing load of administrivia teachers have to deal with. Look at the lack of funding for upgrading their skills, for in-service training, for adequate resources to deal with an increasingly difficult student load. Look at the education teachers receive in universities which are near collapse under the strain of diminished funding and a right-wing 'business' mentality that only sees students as cash cows.

Then why not sit down with teachers and find out what they really need and believe, and then try to understand why there is a decreasing number of young people entering the teaching profession -- once an honoured occupation, now merely bureau fodder for governments and media trying to earn a cheap shot.

By all means put education as systems on notice! By all means look at how best to fund our schools and our teachers. By all means see if rampant managerialism can be diminished and the consequent saving in resources can be put to where it belongs -- in the schools.

Then perhaps you can put teachers on notice. Not before. Please do not punish the defendents before they are found guilty. Enough already!

And best of luck on your campaign to be the next Prime Minister of Australia.

Enough for now.

PB White