It’s no secret our education system is one of many government institutions at breaking point. Our children are the ones who are suffering with student academic results showing a steady decline and an increase in youth mental health presentations. Staffing shortages and unprecedented violent attacks are at the forefront of the crisis.  

I have worked in the system implementing my performing arts programs witnessing firsthand where its failings lie. An overhaul is long overdue. A holistic approach needs to be taken to policy with the priorities of supporting our teachers, protecting our children, improving their academic outcomes and bridging the equality gap for socioeconomically disadvantaged children. Parents need to be given more school choices and the opportunity to take their power back.

The author, Caroline White, with one of her students.

Australian families have begun homeschooling their children, 30,000 at last count, in response, citing philosophical reasons as the main motivation behind their transition.

Curriculum at a local primary school includes assignments on the LGBTQIA+ mob. The transgender industry is worth billions to big pharma and, with the Government’s new conversion bill in Victoria, it’s illegal to deny your child treatment as child mutilation becomes suddenly “safe and effective”.  

My 9-year-old son is enrolled at his second primary school after a tough decision to move. He wasn’t the only child uprooted due to a teacher’s incompetency. Underperforming teachers seem commonplace and they are safeguarded by unions which just enables detrimental impacts to our children’s progression, health and wellbeing.  

I believe good education is the answer to a lot of problems in our society and is undeniably a vital part of our children’s social development. My suggestions for education reform to improve our school’s culture and student outcomes include:   

  • Introduce Charter Schools
    The United States has charter schools, privately-operated, government-funded schools with flexible staffing arrangements. If introduced in Australia, I’d like to see them have the ability to opt-out of the National Curriculum. Studies have shown charter school students have improved academic performance compared with their traditional public school counterparts, creating healthy competition in a country’s education system.
  • Scrap School Zoning
    Zoning restricts schools with specialist programs. Students with rare talents are, by definition, drawn from a wider geographical catchment. Zoning thwarts this which, in turn, makes it hard for schools to keep their specialist programs running. The Government, in effect, is stifling the market. So parents are restricted from selecting a school that is the right fit for their child. Solution? Scrap school zoning.
  • Arts Training & Specialist Classes
    Statistics show that children who consistently participate in arts education are four times more likely to be recognised for academic achievement, especially in maths, science, and English language arts. Including specialist classes creates happier children, helps them identify their talents faster, and relieves educators with the extra time they need for class planning. 
  • Grant the Authority to Hire & Fire Teachers
    Why should poor quality teachers become a responsibility of the State? Allow principals to recruit and terminate teachers.
  • Teacher and Principal Performance Reviews
    Let’s institute KPIs so high-quality teachers and principals grow professionally. Weed-out those who don’t care or are ill-suited to education.
  • Greater Professional Development
    Here’s an idea whose time has come: Mandatory professional development and ongoing training of all teachers in evidence-based practices in line with current pedagogical research to provide our teachers with every opportunity to succeed. Let’s upskill our educators.
  • Performance Pay
    Giving good teachers financial incentives to stay, and encouraging more good educators into the profession. It works in business. Let’s do it in education.
  • Cut Red Tape
    Streamline compliance and policy paperwork to take the burden from teachers so they can spend more time nurturing their students.
  • Camps Are Part of the Job
    Scrap teacher’s time off in lieu payment arrangement so that schools can afford to take children on camp again.
  • Investigation into Spending
    Victorian schools are sites for blowout big builds not fit for purpose. Our public system is becoming another bloated government cesspool open to corruption. While new facilities can enhance education, money in the sector should be spent where it’s needed most.
  • Back to Basics
    A school’s main purpose should be delivering structured learning of fundamental academic subjects. We need to focus on getting this back on track.
  • Opt-Out of Curriculum
    With the government determined to use schools to push its social and political ideologies, content transparency and the option to opt-out of certain topics if it doesn’t align with a family’s values is essential. Children are receiving information they are not developmentally ready to process which is a cause for great concern.
  • Parents Know Best
    School councils and parent-teacher associations are being marginalised more and more. Parents deserve a say in how their child is educated and how their school is run.
  • Reasonable Behavioural Standards & Respect
    A rigorous culture of high expectations implemented using structured, predictable and accountable disciplinary measures (including handing phones in to a homeroom teacher at the start of each day) is proven to have better academic performance and achievement outcomes particularly for disadvantaged students.  

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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  1. Hi Caroline,

    Thanks for the article – I thought your solutions were mostly very sensible.

    One I’m not convinced by is mandatory professional development. For me this entire industry was created purely as a gateway to control. In healthcare (I expect other industries too) it is linked with licensing and registration, run by unelected regulatory bodies employing virtually no ‘healthcare professionals’ (I struggle with that description now!)
    Much of the ‘education’ provided as part of CPD is thoroughly token, and evidence-based anything must surely have a huge question mark over it after the nonsense of the past three and a half years.
    I also believe something is only mandated when the rationale is weak. (The very word makes me shudder even more these days!)
    Skills and knowledge should be encouraged to develop organically.

    I hope you plan to write further about each of your suggestions – there’s a lot going for them.

    Cheers, Andy


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