With perhaps the exception of The Godfather Part II and The Empire Strikes Back, sequels rarely receive comparative critical acclaim as their predecessors. Sequels often offer little to enhance the story, in many cases only serving to confuse or infuriate the audience.
My School 2.0 is an example of another disappointing sequel.
It still relies on NAPLAN scores to sustain its plot, but this time funding is introduced to the script to add further substance.
TV news reporters and newspaper journalists have been quick to expose the fact that independent schools spend more money on their students than state schools. Was that the twist in the story? Did we really not see that coming?
Federal Minister for Schools, Peter Garrett, heralded the launch of My School 2.0 as, “A great day for parents around Australia.” He also added, "We're now going to see parents, schools, the community, the media and others really start to have a deep discussion over the next months. That's a good thing."
A deep discussion about what? Certainly not improving education.
In the weeks since the launch of My School 2.0, league tables have been published, the validity of the data has been questioned and warnings have been issued about placing too much value on the NAPLAN results and “teaching to the test.”
Even Larissa Treskin, principal of NSW’s top performing school, James Ruse Agricultural High School, says the tests are useless in gauging student improvement at selective schools.
But it has been the slanging match surrounding funding that has stymied any possibility of real discussion.
So let’s be honest; there is nothing about My School 2.0 that promotes discussion about really improving education.
My School 2.0 follows the logic that by being armed with two crucial pieces of information, parents can make informed choices about their child’s education. Particularly with regard to public education, this is simply not the case. In many areas, schools are zoned, which means parents are not at liberty to send their children to any school they wish. The notion of choice is only open to those who can afford school fees and/or transportation costs should the school be a considerable distance away.
Moreover, the very foundations of My School 2.0 are flawed. Evaluating the effectiveness of a school based on NAPLAN results and money is as simplistic as choosing a car based only on its price and fuel economy, which also coincidentally, fails to reflect actual performance in “real-life” conditions.
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