Last week, the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported on the NSW Government’s decision to open a new selective school in South West Sydney is what is known in politics as a ‘Captain’s Call’. Unfortunately, Premier Berejiklian has made the wrong call on this one. More selective schools makes for a good sound bite, but it’s not sound policy.
As stated in this article (“’Complete surprise’: new selective school Berejiklian captain’s call”), the selective system favours advantaged students. Surely the schools we need now, and in the future, won’t equate student worth to a test score that can be manipulated through practice and coaching? We’re so much smarter than that.
Repeating dated approaches to schooling falls short as a response to the needs of students today. Just because we’ve done things like this in the past doesn’t mean we need to in the future, especially when the evidence just doesn’t stack up. The real test is what makes the most difference to outcomes for students.
So what does make the most difference? It’s not bricks and mortar but really effective teaching, supported by investment in professional learning. Wouldn’t it be great to see the NSW Government intervene to get the best teaching to students who really need it most? Now that really would be a good call, Captain.
Greg Whitby AM KSG
Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta
(Originally sent to SMH as a letter to the editor Friday 7 June 2019)