Education

Statement from Resistance, socialist youth organisation. See also: Facebook indicates: students and staff oppose NAPLAN tests Teachers' union caves in on NAPLAN tests Resistance calls on high school students to boycott the NAPLAN tests next week. While the Australian Education Union (AEU) has backed down on their plan to not administer the tests, the government agreement with the AEU is a potentially empty gesture.
Thousands of anti-NAPLAN supporters outnumber solitary pro-NAPLAN person! Resistance, socialist youth organisation Despite the Australian Education Union dropping its boycott of NAPLAN testing, protest on the social networking site Facebook shows overwhelming opposition to the tests - from teachers & students alike. One group which has over a thousand supporters is calling on students to "strike" against the tests, which have been linked to the production of League tables to simplistically rank schools.
It had to happen eventually. Kevin Rudd's popularity has gone into decline, and the Labor party now trail the Liberals in the latest polls. According to a May 3 Essential Research poll, Rudd's approval rating has fallen to 46%, down from 71% a year ago. The Liberals lead Labor by 51% to 49% on a “two party preferred” basis according to polling by Newspoll published in the May 4 Australian.
On May 6, the federal executive of the Australian Education Union (AEU) caved in to the Labor government over the campaign against league tables and the National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) ban. As the May 11-13 dates for the NAPLAN tests approached, the dispute over the AEU ban on them heated up. Teachers said the tests could be used to produce school league tables. Australian Council of Trade Unions president Sharon Burrow facilitated discussions between the AEU executive and education minister Julia Gillard.
The Socialist Alliance released the following statement in response to the developments in the anti-league tables campaign. *** The federal executive of the Australian Education Union (AEU) resolved on April 12 to impose a ban on implementing National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests, after damaging league tables were published in newspapers, based on 2009 NAPLAN data. Socialist Alliance supports the principled stand against league tables taken by teachers.
The March 15 banning of two Socialist Alliance activists, Paul Benedek and myself, from the University of Sydney was revoked on April 9, after vice-chancellor Michael Spence received a storm of protest letters. Among the many who protested against this attack on freedom of speech were renowned journalist John Pilger, 15 professors and lecturers at Sydney and other universities, Sydney City councillors Meredith Burgmann and Irene Doutney, leaders of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), students and civil rights activists.

Narrated by Alice Walker, Maestra (Spanish for teacher) explores the experiences of nine women who, as young girls, helped eradicate Cuban illiteracy in the 1961 literacy campaign within one year. 

Fifty years later, the brigadistas reminisce about the independence and self-confidence they gained from the great adventure and the trust the country placed in them. Film by Catherine Murphy. 2013. 32 min.

Chaired by Ian Ellis-Jones, (Green Left journalist and commentator on Cuba)

Speakers:

During the semester break, the $40M restructure continued to unfold at UWA. We saw a shocking announcement about the gutting of Social Sciences- the axing of anthropology and sociology, 16 staff cuts, a shift away from research, and a 35:1 student-staff ratio target.
 
By December, Chakma plans to slash millions from our education. Our courses will be gutted, and our education quality will decrease. 400+ staff are set to be cut. Class sizes will increase, and there will be fewer people to actually make this uni run- from lecturers, to IT, to the admin staff who process our enrolments.

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