There’s a bit of a kerfuffle at the moment, with NSW planning to appoint a chief behaviour advisor, to advise on school discipline issues. It is not an issue we think much about. For us, if you’ve given up on kids sitting still and facing the front, attending to a teacher teaching, then you’ve already conceded the Mainland and you’re simply fighting over the Outer Territories. Nonetheless, we can appreciate the practical importance, and we’ve read a number of good articles by Greg Ashman and others.
Today, Ashman has written again on the NSW kerfuffle, a response to an SMH opinion piece by journalist and ANU academic, Jenna Price. Price’s article, titled, A behaviour tsar for schools gets an F by every measure, is a full bore attack on the NSW plan:
The appointment of a new behaviour tsar for NSW schools is the most bone-headed idea ever. It’s an exhausted concept borrowed from a British education system run by second-rate conservative bureaucrats appointed by a third-rate British government which changes leaders as often as the rest of us should change our telecommunications providers.
That ending, too-cute clause demonstrates that Price is more interested in the sound of her own voice than in making a cogent argument. Price’s piece doesn’t let up, and it doesn’t add up. In particular, Price’s attack on the UK’s “behaviour tsar” Tom Bennett is remarkable in its gratuitousness and viciousness. We won’t go into details here; Ashman has covered it admirably. We shall point out one aspect, however.
Price quotes two people to support her piece. One is Linda Graham, professor of inclusive education at QUT:
“There’s been an enormous amount of money thrown into training student teachers how to run a room – but that’s not where some of biggest problems are coming from,” [Graham] says.
Um, well if you’re in the room with a disruptive kid, who is screwing it up for all the other kids, the biggest problem then and there is probably in the room. Whatever. Ashman writes about it, and about a previous run-in he had with Graham.
The second person Price quotes is Monash University’s Dean of Education, Viv Ellis:
British expat Viv Ellis, the dean of education at Monash University, sees the appointment of Bennett (and the appointment of tsars more generally) as pointless. He says it is tokenistic and bad behaviour won’t be solved by that individual. And, he asks, who knows what credentials that person will have?
That’s why we’re here. We wrote about Dean Ellis last year, also inspired by an Ashman scuffle. We wrote then about an absurd and nasty article by Ellis, which also took a conscious sidestep to slime the very same Tom Bennett. It seems as if Ellis has been feeding Price some of her slime-lines.
One of the notable aspects of the do-good Left is how nasty they’re willing to be. They are far from alone in that, of course. But the nastiness combined with the unceasing sanctimony is nauseating.
Also, a quick word on Linda Graham. Graham does not appear to be as nasty as Price or Ellis, and we framed the above post accordingly. Nonetheless, Graham apparently found Price’s nastiness highly amusing. Graham also ain’t that nice.