Categories
Opinion/Commentary

New South Wales and Victoria’s premiers promise free pre – K

Children eating at a table in childcare
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In two Australian States, early childhood education could get a shake up.

The Premiers of New South Wales and Victoria are promising free Pre – K for four – year – old children. It will take place five days a week.

Victoria’s Premier, Daniel Andrews plans to implement the change by 2025. However, NSW Premier, Dominic Perrotet won’t implement the change until 2030.

In a joint statement, the premiers said:

It will mean that, in the next 10 years, every child in Victoria and NSW will experience the benefits of of a full year of play-based learning before the first year of school.

The premiers also claim that free Pre – K will not only benefit children, but also working parents.

Pre – K will take place in preschools in both states.

NSW Minister for Education and Early Learning, Sarah Mitchell said the policy was… “the right thing to do for our kids”.

Australian children need better in education

According to Sydney Morning Herald, Australian children aren’t doing well in education.

Australia ranks 32 out of 38 OECD countries in child well – being. Australia ranks 39 out of 41 European Union (EU) and OECD in education outcomes.

Standards in literacy, numeracy and science have been declining over the past decade.

Early childhood education is shown to improve education outcomes. Children can experience these benefits across their schooling.

Education psychologist, Claire Rowe expressed concerns to Andrew Bolt about making Pre-K compulsory.

However, she did point out one positive. Children who come from dysfunctional families will be able to find security and attachment with early childhood educators.

Children who live in poverty will benefit greatly from free Pre – K.

The economic burden early childhood education had on parents

One reason why there’s a push to make Pre – K free is to release the burden from parents. Too often, the cost of early childhood education cancels out any financial benefit of working.

So offering some relief to parents makes sense.

Will it be compulsory?

According to the ABC, neither premier is planning to make Pre – K compulsory. Of course that can change in the future. Frankly, I doubt it ever will be.

Good start, but more needs to be done

I think this announcement is a vote grab for next year’s state elections. Having said that, I don’t have anything against free Pre – K. If it helps children and unburdens parents, then great.

However, I think there are bigger issues facing early childhood centres nationwide. Like children left hungry or given poor quality food in early childhood education centres.

So, let’s get the standards of quality early childhood education up again. Make sure that all early childhood education centres are properly staffed.

The governments need to make sure all early childhood education centres have the resources – including funding for food – that they need.

Let’s not have early childhood educators buried in endless paperwork. Just allow them to nurture and educate the children. And, of course, they need to be paid properly.

What are your thoughts on free Pre -K? Good idea? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Categories
Opinion/Commentary

More people choosing to study humanities despite price hike

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More Australian students are applying for humanities degrees, despite price hikes that the Coalition government implemented in 2020.

Sydney Morning Herald reported a nine per cent rise in admissions for humanities. Some people choose these courses simply because of personal interest.

Australia National University (ANU) higher education policy professor, Andrew Norton criticised Coalitions’ push toward certain courses:

Why would you do something that doesn’t interest you, just to have (A)$10,000 to $30,000 [debt] over a lifetime? Even though it hasn’t changed the choices of prospective students it does mean they’ll have many extra years of HELP [Higher Education Loan Program] repayments.

Coalition raised humanities fees during pandemic

In response to COVID in 2020 – 2021, the Coalition Government shook up university course fees.

The (supposed) aim was for future students to choose ‘job ready’ courses. As a result, degrees fees for courses, including teaching, clinical psychology and nursing decreased 42 per cent.

However, other courses’ fees skyrocketed. Humanities and Communications went up 113 per cent. Law degrees went up 28 per cent.

One of the reasons why fees to degrees like Arts rose so drastically was because Government contribution to the fees had plummeted.

How did universities view the changes?

Opinions on these changes varied among universities. Regional universities favoured the changes, largely because the Coalition Government dedicated 3.5 per cent increase in funding. As a result, more student places were available.

Many universities showed mild concern. However, no university wanted to rock the boat by protesting, due to wanting the funding increase.

Was this an attack on free speech?

Were these changes simply about funding courses based on need? Maybe. I think it was a bit more sinister.

The hikes in fees aimed courses that often explore sociology, culture and politics.

And, university politics are seen as far left-leaning. I can’t help this was part of the reason why humanities and Communications wer hit so hard.

Universities have been pressured by the Menzies Institute to be more ‘balanced’ an$ promote Western values.

Now, I can’t say for sure the pressure from the Menzies’ Institute is directly linked to the rises in some fees, but I still wonder. I mean, why not just decrease some fees, but leave the others? This is why I get a niggling that culture wars were a factor in this decision.

Young people already have enough debt

Man holding master credit card
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It’s almost universal that young people in the West will have debts. It might be a car loan, credit cards, and later, house loan and mortgage. Unfortunately, university fees have become another massive debt.

Financial adviser, Max Phelps told news.com.au that while HELP debt was important, so were others. He said that credit cards and personal loans should be given priority over HELP debt

So, what if HELP loans are never paid back? This would backfire on students, universities and the government, wouldn’t it? It’s a no – win situation.

Going back to what Professor Andrew Norton told Sydney Morning Herald, of course students – school leavers and mature – aged students – are always going to choose courses that would interest them. So, the fee rises on Humanities and Communications were for nothing.

What are your thoughts on the fee changes? Fair? Unfair? Let me know what you think below.

Categories
Media

Gillette ad controversy: is the media and social media trustworthy?

U.S. razor company, Gillette, caused a furore last month for their viral ad ‘The Best Men Can Be’.

If social and traditional media was anything to go by, this was an outrage. They were attacking boys and men — their primary consumers. This was #MeToo on steroids.

Hashtag #boycottgillette trended on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/socalsnowbrdr/status/1095811379741642752?s=21


 

So you’d assume that the ‘anti masculinity’ campaign would destroy Gillette. Well, no. Apparently, the campaign was actually positive.

Many U.S. consumers applauded the campaign

According to Upworthy, two studies showed that most consumers looked favourably on the campaign.

Data collected by Morning Consult found that more consumers believed that Gillette shared their values than before the campaign (42% before, 71% after). 65%of study respondents said they were more likely to buy Gilette products since the campaign.

Over four fifths (84%) of women and more than three quarters (77%) of men were either in favour or felt neutral towards the campaign. Data from Ace Metrics produced similar results.

Is the media and social media out of touch?

I am always careful when it comes to studies, especially on social issues. Too often, so – called ‘studies’ are conducted purely to confirm one’s own biases.

I don’t know the sample size of the Morning Consult study. I am also not familiar with Ace Metrics.

But, lets assume for a moment that both sets of data are a fair representation of Americans’ overall attitudes toward Gillette.That means traditional and social media did not represent mainstream public opinion. And maybe it’s not the only time.

Traditional media still a major source of news for the public

I’ve heard that U.S cable networks such as CNN and Fox are losing loyalty among the public. Meanwhile, independent news sources, including YouTube channels are rising in popularity.

Australians, too,  seem to also have little faith in the media.

A Roy Morgan study showed that journalists are generally not trusted by the public. Inaccuracies left uncorrected and biases were two major criticisms. Out of radio, TV and print news, most people surveyed, (66% for national news, 56% for world news) gained their news from TV. Print media gained the most negative responses.

Social media also deemed untrustworthy

While traditional media has its critics, social media hasn’t faired well, either. 2018 saw a backlash against social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

According to Reuters Institute, Digital News Report found that social media was facing a worldwide decline in both popularity and trust, with the U.S. leading the charge. News item were also not shared on social media as frequently as it used to

Apps such as WhatsApp and email news services are rising in popularity. However, many reported being annoyed at being bombarded with emails and notifications.

Personally, I’ve gotten increasingly annoyed by the number of statuses and ‘news’ articles that turned out to be hoaxes or just untrue. It’s made me cynical about sharing anything and now I mostly ignore a lot of articles I see posted.

I’ve also found that so much on Facebook is heavily biased, often veering to one extreme on the political/ ideological spectrum. People are often hard Left or hard conservative, with very few willing to look at multiple sides to an issue. Look, people can publish what they want. I’d just advise viewers to be wary of articles that are posted. If you read it, Google it and see if the article is factual. Many times, they aren’t.

 

Social and traditional media have issues with trust. To mainstream journalists, no offence, but pull your head in. Your viewers/ readers/ listeners deserve the truth, not just political propaganda.

What did you think of the Gillette ad and do you have any news outlets you particularly like? Let me know in the comments

 

 

 

Categories
Media

The misreporting and omissions in the media on same – sex marriage need to stop

Sunday Herald Sun17 September2017
I think the media plays a role in what side of the same – sex marriage wins or loses.

The debate on same – sex marriage is still going on as the postal surveys are being sent out nationwide.

A win for the ‘Yes’ side is not guaranteed.

Yesterday in Sunday’s Herald Sun a study by ‘No’ campaigners predicted that there was a million vote swing against the ‘Yes’ vote. According to the stats, if that’s the case, the ‘Yes’ vote will still get up, but only just. Only a few hundred thousand less, then it’s gone.

Million vote swing claim in same - sex polls article Sunday Herald Sun
Story in ‘Sunday’s Herald Sun’ reports that poll estimates that there is up to a million vote swing to oppose same – sex marriage

If the ‘Yes’ side doesn’t get up, I’ll personally blame the media.

The liberal/ Left and conservative media have been pathetic during this campaign. Commentary, for the most part, have been deliberately skewed and extremely selective on what they are willing to report, condemn and support.

The earliest example of poor journalism (or in this case ‘interviewing’), that saw the demise of the ‘Yes’ campaign in my view, was The Project’s ‘interview’ with former tennis champion, Margaret Court.

This was the first of a number of extreme media biases that ended up painting the LGBTQ+ community and their supporters in a bad light.

More recently, ABC’s Insiders allegedly promoted Tim Minchin’s parody of Peter Allen’s I still call Australia home, titled I still call Australia home -o – phobic (look it up on YouTube if you want. I won’t post it here). While opit got some praise in the media and elsewhere, there was a fair bit of backlash on social media due to it’s crudeness.

On a more serious note, is the misreporting of incidents between ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigners. One example is Channel 9’s coverage of a standoff between ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigners in Brisbane, in which, a meeting attendee was falsely accused of deliberately using his car as a weapon to mow down ‘Yes’ campaigners, in which protester Jessica Payne — who Today Show interviewed. Andrew Bolt pointed out that Payne was not injured by the driver, but tripping on a gutter.

There was more misreporting by the media on another confrontation happened at a barbeque set by a group of ‘It’s OK to say no’ campaigners. Contrary to the media reports, it was members of  the ‘Yes’ side that was causing the trouble, not ‘No’ campaigners.

Talking about ‘No’ side causing trouble, I’ve been incredibly disappointed about the lack of reporting and condemnation when the shoe is on the other foot. I noticed this for the first time last year when bomb threats were made against Melbourne’s LGBT radio station, Joy 94.9FM. At the time, I looked up multiple Facebook and news sites. There was no article ddon Mamamia, nothing on The Project and, most disappointingly, Andrew Bolt did not mention itvat all, on his TV show, on radio, in the papers or his blog.

There have been other events that haven’t been reported or condemned, for example, a Greek Orthodox priest saying that gays should be shot on Fatger’s Day this year. Another, more frightening example happened in Dubbo, New South Wales where a man was arrested after he threatened a 14 – year – old girl after she posted her support for same – sex marriage. Plus, very few from the mainstream media is pointing out that Madeline’s former contractor, Madlin Sims,  has faced abuse over  the incident with Madeline.

Plus, I’ve also read that parents of LGBTQ+ people and LGBTQ+ celebrities, like Magda Szubanski have been abused on social media. The abuse has been vile, including the false link that LGBTQ+ people are paedophiles. Author, Anthony Venn – Brown recently put his foot down and took to his Facebook page, warning that anyone who suggested a link between being LGBTQ+ and paedophilia were at risk of being permanently banned from his pages.

Screenshot of warning from author, Anthony Venn - Brown
Anthony Venn – Brown often takes criticism and insults on the chin, but has put his foot down when LGBTQ+ people are compared to paedophiles

 

So, from now on, can I make a plea to both sides of the media, please report factually. And please condemn ‘Yes’ supporters when it’s due and don’t ignore when it’s the ‘No’ side. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said that he wants respectful debate. A bit of accurate reporting and fair commentary might help.

Categories
Media

Apologies

Hi all.

I know it’s been a while and I apologise. The cold is going around.

Hopefully, I’ll be back in full swing next week. There’s so much I want to write about including the possible end of Everyday Feminism. As I always ask when media outlets face financial trouble, I’ll be wondering what it means for writers/ bloggers in the future, including left – leaning/ feminist writers.

Although I didn’t watch it very much, I realized that the comedy “Last Man Standing”, starring Tim Allen has been axed in the U.S. What does that mean for free speech, etc.? (More details shortly).

Geelong Council in Victoria raises rainbow flag until gay marriage is legal in Australia. Is that OK? I’ll offer my thoughts.

I might do a piece on the Alan Joyce vs. “Pie Man” saga. That’s another gift that just keeps on giving.

 

Anyway, there’s a few things that I’ve noticed this week. I usually like to keep on top of current events and try to write about them when they’re being talked about, but what are you going to do?

 

What’s been happening with you? What’s caught your attention this week? Leave your thoughts below in the comments section.

 

Categories
Uncategorized

New year, new blog and reflections of 2016

Happy new year!

I hope this year will be good for you. I know there were a few sour notes for many in 2016, and some downright tragedies. It was a year that saw fear, anger and sadness. It held some largely unpredicted events, like Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. Election. I’ve got to say, the reaction from some Hillary Clinton supporters has been appalling, and, if anything, hasn’t done progressive/centre -Left politics or causes any justice.

The backlash against centre Left extended to Australia, with conservative parties like Pauline Hanson’s One Nation winning major influence in the Senate. Things went pear – shaped when Pauline Hanson refused to help Rod Culleton pay personal legal bills. Culleton later resigned.

The same – sex marriage debate dominated the political landscape for a few weeks. So – called ‘respectful debate’ ended up in intimidation against Mercure motel staff in Sydney, and a bomb threat against Melbourne’s LGBT radio station, 94.9 Joy FM that caused thirty staff to be evacuated. Unfortunately, the second event got minimal coverage in the mainstream media, and little condemnation.

2016 in summary

The world had been rocked by terror. The Pulse Nightclub attack in Orlando, Florida hit the LGBTQ+ community hard.It did bring people together and many people did stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. I hope the solidarity continues. Please continue to support and love your LGBTQ+ family members and friends. And, when safe to do so, speak out against queer – phobic violence. That includes media personalities.

2016 saw a continuation of one of the worst human rights and humanitarian disasters in living memory. Reports have claimed that the conflict in Syria has caused the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. The reports, images and footage in the mainstream media and on – line have been absolutely horrific. There wascalls for a cease -fire.

The future

So, what about this year? Who knows. I hope to hear less about culture wars. Even though they are good to blog about, they can be emotionally draining. I really don’t know what else to say about Syria. It’s such a tragedy. I don’t see it ending any time soon, to be honest. I’ll just leave it at that.

On a more personal and a lighthearted note, I’m so glad to be starting this blog. I can’t wait to see what happens with it. Surprisingly, I had moderate success in the three blogs that I wrote before, which I’m grateful for. But I think it’s time to move on. Plus, I have study and other stuff I’ll be doing throughout the year.

 

What are you up to this year?