Dan Reade, Ocean Shores
Mandy Nolan’s ‘Soapbox’ claim that schools have remained unchanged for the last 200 years, seems only informed by her own personal experiences. I would like to suggest that she visits some local schools to actually see what has changed over recent years, let alone the last 200 years.
Of course she will still see some disaffected and disengaged students, but she may also see many content and engaged students, succeeding and wanting to be there. Schools strive to extend engagement for students, tackle discrimination, bullying, sexism and racism, but these behaviours are deeply rooted outside school also.
Mandy’s comments are offensive to those who work tirelessly and passionately to improve outcomes, engagement, safety and achievement in schools, whilst always being constrained by government policy, curriculum and gross under-funding.
Working in a local high school, I saw all the things that Mandy calls for – community learning, personalised learning, nature studies, life-skills, cooking, growing food, animal care, water conservation, making fire, Indigenous cultural education, environmental improvement and waste reduction, amongst many other activities beyond the government-endorsed curriculum.
Mandy, and other school sceptics, please go and have a look; look with fresh eyes and you may be surprised. You may even be able to report on some positive things happening in our schools!