An Educational Qandary

We see that Monday’s episode of Q & A has an education theme. The panel features Tanya and Adrian and, of course, Eddie the Great. (There’s also a token principal and a token student, who one hopes have the foresight and the intelligence and the courage to be troublesome tokens.)

We won’t watch. We can’t watch. We do, however, have a question about how the show might go:

How long into the show might it be before we have the first dumb question on PISA, and how long until the first dumber answer?

We’ll guess 2 minutes into the show for the question, and 2:30 for the answer.

UPDATE (11/02/20) We had to look up the commenters’ reference to “Jurgen Klopp reply”, but we’re glad we did. It should be watched by everybody with a platform in the media and, in particular, by everyone who appears on Q and Fucking A:

11 Replies to “An Educational Qandary”

  1. Sigh …. Yep, the problem will be the ‘homogeneity’ of the panel and a focus on red herrings.

    A pity that the token Education Minister James Merlino isn’t on the panel (then again, I don’t think he’d be a troublesome token). It would be good to hear again his re-assuring promise that

    “I will … be raising the need for university courses to include prerequisites, particularly in maths, in relevant courses such as engineering”

    (Very worrying that this is not already the case in those university courses, so more power to your arm, James ….)

    I wonder if there’ll be a sanctimonious broken token (some DuLLard, big Mac or SuGa) from a really broken token government department like VCAA.

    I’d love to see some DuLLard trying to defend the crap he’s responsible for.

    And maybe that DuLLard will bring a MAVerick stooge from a commercial organisation whose purported aim is to provide quality educational resources.

    I wish I’d known about this earlier, I’d have put my hand up (certainly to be in the audience). Hopefully chosen audience members will ask some probing questions and won’t accept weasel-worded mealy-mouthed answers.

    1. Thanks, JF. This one is in Sydney, so no particular focus on Victorian clowns. Your faith in the audience is charming.

      1. Indeed. I recorded it and sat down last night to watch it. I pressed delete after about 1 minute – audience question about COVID-19. Spare me. Then Eddie the Great waxing lyrical about how schools will handle COVID-19 just fine using technology. Spare me. I totally agree with SRK (below) – give a friggin’ Jurgen Klopp reply!! (Impossible for some people, I know).

  2. Marty, you seem to seriously lack confidence in the education system. 🙂

    You are not alone !!

    (Hope your family is well).

    1. Geoff, it’s a lot worse than that. Not only do I have no confidence in the education system, I have no confidence in those who have no confidence in the education system. That is why I think it is inevitable that tomorrow’s qanda will be appalling.

  3. I don’t want to watch it either. I will be depressed and/or angered, likely both. I’ll hear about it at work anyway, probably with unicorns, rainbows and butterflies in tow.

  4. I watched it, and in general it reminded me why I never watch Q&A. Very superficial.

    Related to this thread: a question was raised by a Chinese immigrant that Australian students are typically (at least) a couple of years behind their counterparts in Shanghai, and what can or is being done about it. The host then mentioned PISA tests. Eddie pointed out that far too many students are taught by teachers without a university education in mathematics (he gave an argument that only 25% of the audience would be expected to have a teacher with a university level mathematics education for all of their 7–10 years, although I wasn’t convinced). Eddie also pointed towards cultural and institutional differences, although the only (almost) specific point he made was that the amount of face-time between Australia and Shanghai is vastly different (but he didn’t elaborate upon how). No direct answer to the question actually asked was given or even attempted. (A charitable interpretation is that other discussions about fair funding are/were an indirect answer).

    The only panel member who seemed inclined towards presenting even the barest hints of a non-conformist view was the principal of an Anglican school, who suggested that the PISA tests are not a fair, authentic, or accurate assessment of the mathematics education of Australian students.

    Weirdly enough, the main thing the host wanted Eddie to talk about was religion in schools, to which unfortunately Eddie rattled off some motherhood statements and platitudes, rather than giving a Jurgen Klopp style reply.

    1. Hi, SRK, and thanks for taking one for the team.

      The bit about Eddie quoting 25% is pretty funny. AS RF notes, I’ve written about this before. Eddie’s source is likely an incomprehensible (and unsupported) talking point from AMSI clowns, which led a bunch of media clowns to trumpet false and utterly implausible claims about the percentage of unqualified teachers.

  5. That 25% figure has been fact-checked by Marty in this very blog before and it remains, in my opinion, kind of wide of the point.

    PISA is, of course, a really crap means of comparison and the 2 years behind figure needs to be treated with similar suspicion to the 25% figure.

    This is not to say there aren’t massive problems, if there were this blog wouldn’t exist. I just feel the blaming schools response is illogical at best.

    1. Hi, RF. Well, it is possible that there are not massive problems, and that I’m just making it all up. But, no.

      As for the “2 years behind” charge, although the PISA evidence is tainted beyond use, the verdict of “Guilty” is probably correct.

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