Weekend wrap: Giving a Gonski, rethinking homework and boosting teacher morale

Making news this week, The Gonski campaign fires up, the impact of homework is questioned and a new campaign takes aim at teacher morale.
Gonski Week provided the campaign for better school resourcing a much needed shot in the arm this week. Merrylands High School principal and NSW Secondary Principals Council (NSWSPC) president, Lila Mularczyk told The Educator that through committing to an “internationally recognised” funding model, the Federal Government could show good leadership and be a global example. “PM Turnbull and Federal Education Minister Birmingham have the opportunity to lead the nation – and indeed be an example globally,” she said. “The NSW education funding reform model, political and education community leadership is strongly recognised internationally. Australia as a nation could be too.”
The Educator spoke with former principal Adam Voigt, who said homework may be doing more harm than good to student outcomes. He added there was a growing perception among many parents that homework – while once a big part of their own educational experience – no longer has the relevance it once did. “Homework is something that some parents jokingly call educational fairy floss, in that they look back on it glowingly, but the truth is there wasn’t a lot of nutrition in it,” Voigt said.
Earlier in the week, Steve Francis, founder of Happy Schools, warned that a perfect storm is brewing in Australian education and is likely to have a major impact for years unless our teachers are given better support. Implementing a strategy he had used as a principal, 15,000 teachers across Australia will receive a handwritten note of encouragement from their principal to mark World Teachers’ Day on October 30. “People don’t really get mail in the post much anymore, so it makes a huge impact when they receive things like this at home in their letterbox,” Francis said.

Finally, The Educator explored the benefits of school-community collaboration following a shocking report into education opportunity, released by the Mitchell Institute. Dr Sara Glover, director of the Mitchell Institute, told The Educator that the education system should be “redesigned” to hone in on the skills students will need to thrive at school as well as beyond. “We need to redesign our education system to better support students at their points of need, and equip them with the skills and capabilities to thrive in and beyond schools; skills like creativity, problem-solving and communication,” Glover said.