Opinion: A ‘Lucky Country’ needs a solid foundation

The Crow, aka Billy KerrSouth Western Times

Australia has long been regarded as the Lucky Country and it is a tag we willingly accept although there are many in our communities that would not necessarily agree.

Our education system does OK in the scheme of things and essentially has underpinned our development for over 200 years.

It does not rock the socks off the international top 10 list but it does OK.

Our Government schools take on all comers and don’t have the liberty of discriminating against its clients and while public education especially in the upper years does not always get good raps, you do not have to scratch too far below the surface to discover some quite extraordinary things happening.

Take Newton Moore Senior High School for example, a school that for a long time people were not exactly crawling over broken glass to get into.

Arguably this school has one of the best Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) set-ups in the country and you have to go no further than Jade Warrington, the 2017 Secondary Teacher of the Year, to see what innovative thinking and practice can deliver.

This young mother of two epitomises everything that is good about public education and she is also representative of the emergence and impact of contemporary men and women in classrooms.

Jade is the product of a carefully thought out, well-designed and strategic initiative put into place over the past decade that has seen it emerge as a school of some distinction.

This school and people like Jade and her mentor Lorraine Ellis, have led this charge and as a collective the school has taken the whole STEM thing by the horns and applied it in teaching and learning across every subject area.

It has listened to the demands of young people and what they want to gain out of an education system that reflects their needs and not the needs of the ancient ones.

This is a school that forcefully embraces the future – a place that many of us are afraid to go.

This is a school where young people work side by side with teachers, exploring, inventing, and challenging their levels of thinking and embarking on meaningful and real life research projects that are delivering dividends.

People like Jade Warrington should take a bow because it is the work they do in schools with the kids of today that are going to make sure that not only are we the lucky country but a very clever country as well.

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