To whom is the MLC Board accountable?

The MLC Board vs Rosa Storelli stoush raises some interesting questions regarding governance of our large private schools.

I was a parent of daughters at MLC for eleven years and I never got to terms with how the Board was appointed. (Although I must say I had absolutely no qualms with the board at the time.)

I know of a colleague who, as a parent at another large private school, was approached to join the board. From what I understood of the situation, the Board itself chose replacements when a vacancy occurred. I stand to be corrected about this, but that’s how I understood it.

It makes some sort of sense in a way.

I am currently in the process of setting up a “company limited by guarantee.” This company will be a not for profit organisation to provide educational services as it happens.

To form the company we need a group of people who will be members. We COULD say the members are the directors or another group of people altogether. Whatever, we would have to have some mechanism for replacing both members and directors when one of them ceases to occupy the role for whatever reason.

We could do what it appears the other private school discussed above. Whenever a member leaves, the remaining members could appoint a replacement. The members then appoint directors.

There is no in principal minimum number of members apart from the legal requirement of (I think) 2.

There is no reason MLC could not do the same thing. Just because it administers tens of millions of dollars each year makes no in principal difference.

So it is possible the MLC Board is accountable to no one but itself.

We don’t know. But given we, as taxpayers, give the College millions of dollars each year we should know.

Education standards are falling?

Do you think education standards are falling?

I would hazard a guess that almost everyone reading this completed Year 9 (of Form 3) Maths (or Math is some countries.)

Here are some questions from the 2009 Year 9 NAPLAN Numeracy test. See how you go. You’re welcome to tell me what you think the answers should be in a comment on this post. I would be interested to know.

NAPLAN Arrow Question.jpg

NAPLAN Graphy Question.jpg
NAPLAN Area Questions.jpg

Human Potential and Hope

I came across this piece by Marcia Devlin this morning.

The first part of her post reminded me of my Grade 6 teacher. (A Mr Horn, if I remember correctly.) Now I liked Mr Horn very much. I thought he was an engaging teacher who always made us think. But I do remember him one day looking around the class and saying, quite seriously and matter of factly, “I don’t think any of you will go to university.”

I now have four degrees and I know one other member of the same class has a PhD.

Predictions are not really very useful. I could go on about that but the part of Marcia’s post that really caught my attention was :

I’m a bit taken lately with human potential ideology and hope theory. The former moves away from deficit models to models of human potential and the latter promotes the generation and pursuit of goals. (links added.)

I was excited by just the thought of these concepts. How would it be if we were to move away from all this talk about (inherently self-limiting) standards in education and moved towards finding the potential in each child in our care? That instead of focussing on all that is wrong with our world, we were to move towards generating hope.

Our previous prime minister was famous for saying he wanted Australians to be relaxed and comfortable. On reflection, this sounds like an opium for the masses. It sounds a long way from finding the potential in every member of our society and generating hope.

Education is currently dominated by standards. What if it were dominated by potential and hope?

Business leaders are evaluated on achievement against “key performance indicators.” What if they were evaluated against the extent to which they developed their organisation’s potential? What if they were evaluated against their achievement in promoting hope, both within their organisation and in the wider community?

Lot’s of questions I know. You didn’t really expect me to provide answers did you?

Further reading:

The Dangers of the Human Potential Movement.

Education at Election Time

It is election time here in Victoria with Steady Steve and Big Ted fighting out to see who will govern our state for the next four years.
On just about our favourite topic of all time — Education — it’s heartbreaking to see the two main political parties treating the future of our children as a political football. Their philosophy seems totally dependent on whatever will win a few votes on Saturday: “many mourn the passing of technical schools, let’s bring them back”; “selective schools have popular appeal, we’ll have more of them”.
Imagine a minister for education who spent all their energy on, and instilled in every member of their department, one single-minded goal devoid of ideology: improving the quality of education for every child in the state. Forget polls. Forget federal-state fiefdoms. Forget short-term political appeal. Just ensure that every teacher and every school administrator does whatever it takes and uses every ounce of imagination and creativity to give every child their right.
For one brief foolish moment, I had hoped that Ted Baillieu might, just might, be the leader to bring such passion to education. How deluded I was.