Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Tale of Two Schools

I was on a tram, as I often am. It was a Toorak tram, a posh area tram, if you like. Two school girls, I think from Merton Hall, were standing near me. The were typical private school girls, with the particular speech patterns and vowel sounds that such young lasses have. One appeared quite bored as the other recited a history of Vietnam from when the French arrived to when the Americans left. I listened intently and I could not fault her on her knowledge. She had the dates, the place names, our entry into the war,  in fact all the details down pat. I was so impressed, I wanted to say to her, well done you, as I left the tram at the station.

What an education. What a pity such excellent schools are not available to to everyone.

Groups of students are often seen around the city but this group stood out to me. Firstly I noticed that they did not have uniforms, although they were clearly in secondary school. Their clothes were generally not as most young people dress. They would be quite at home in Brunswick Street, with an older, say twenty years old plus, way of dressing. You know, they looked a bit artistic. Where on earth might that school be? Curiosity got the better of me and in a friendly, hopefully not creepy manner, I asked one of the students. Princes Hill, he replied. Right, Carlton. Well, I wasn't far off with Brunswick Street. Princes Hill is a government school and is probably educating some of our future artists, writers and actors.

Just two schools out of many that are educating Australia's future leaders, workers, performers and 'non-performers'. Thank goodness there will be some non performing types who will pay their tax as it is deducted from their wages. Someone has to pay tax to pay my old age pension.

19 comments:

  1. Makes a nice change from the more regular comments about schoolchildren travelling on public transport.

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    1. Victor, en masse they can be a pain, but individually they are pretty good.

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  2. Colin8:05 am

    Interesting - the scenario of your views on the two schools - private and state.
    Here it would appear that uniforms are being re-introduced into the state schools, all kids seem to be in uniform albeit that some have no idea of how to tuck in shirts!!
    I think uniforms give the kids more of a sense of pride and belonging to their respective schools. Anyhow the few who live in this street, private and state schools, always look neat and smart on their way to lessons. I think my lot here will pay taxes - so you will have pension funds to look after you in old age, Andrew.

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    1. Colin, I would agree with you generally about uniforms and I think almost all secondary school kids wear them, but this is a bit of an alternative school, well the students are, so I would not insist for them.

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  3. Proper history education in school? YES PLEASE!

    In my irc channel one day a young Australian was saying that she had never heard of the Vietnam War; that it had nothing to do with Australia. I suggested that not only did we participate up to our necks and lost hundreds of young men, but that the war convulsed and changed society back in Australia for ever.

    Her answer: Well, how would I know? I wasn't born yet.
    My response: Well, I wasn't born in 1066 but I still know about William the Conqueror and the Norman Invasion.

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    1. Colin1:13 pm

      Brilliant response Hels.
      I have a nephew who got a BA (Geography) - didn't happen in my days, otherwise I am sure I would have a Phd. on that subject.
      The nephew had never heard of the Amazon River!!!!

      Now on a matter close to my heart!
      Mme. "QLD FLAUNT" - yeah, victory.
      This morning, 4 sturdy yellow bollards have been put where Mme. parked. There will be no more of a car, registration # QLD FLAUNT ever seen in that car park, and the others are already full. The good has triumphed over the wicked - about time. Now the Station Master and I will be endeavouring to get more presence of the law, to visit the station of a night and catch the vandals. Clint Eastwood - " You have made my Day" - yippee.

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    2. Lol, nice retort Hels. The Vietnam war and its impact on wider Australia is terribly important. All kids should know something of it. I think perhaps it changed Australian society more than both the big wars did.

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  4. This is so refreshing to hear. I doubt that we have a truly decent school in this entire state since Oklahoma ranks 42 out of 50. Ah well. It would be nice to have more emphasis placed on education here.

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    1. Rubye, some students in some schools or areas just are not up for formal education. That they can learn basic skills is perhaps some achievement that is worth while.

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  5. Colin2:55 pm

    So true RJ!
    I am convinced over many years, 6 US trips, that in the USA, geography revolves around the 4 squares - Seattle - Northern Maine - Key Biscayne - San Diego and then back to Seattle. It is appalling, and even then it is not very good, even within the 4 Square syndrome.
    There are other countries that should be taught about other than the US. If you get out into the midwest, then Australia becomes if you are lucky - Austria, people are totally amazed that you speak English and not German.
    Thank God I do have Austrian heritage, otherwise I would have blown a fuse!
    I think the only reason that some of these people know where Austria is - they saw "The Sound of Music" film.
    As for World history, the less said on that subject the better. The World is NOT the USA!
    Cheers
    Colin

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    1. Yes Colin, but in other ways the American education system seems to excel, public speaking and expression seem to come to mind. Or perhaps I see too much tv.

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  6. I'm in favour of school uniforms (and education too), I think wearing it fosters pride in your school which in turn leads to more respectful behaviour when wearing the uniform. Well, that's what out French teacher said when she insisted all girls wear berets and thick brown stockings. I agreed with her, but hated the thick brown stockings. I'm impressed at the girl knowing so much of her History.

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    1. Also River, it stops students with richer parents wearing expensive clothes that other kids then aspire to. So you got into the role when learning French. I wish we had, we could have smoked Gauloises and drank cognac.

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  7. Anonymous12:23 am

    I was educated in the '70s and I never wore a school uniform, except for sports. Personally I don't like uniforms and don't think they necessarily result in more respectful behaviour. I'd much rather students be allowed to wear what they want (within reason) and be taught to be respectful at all times, regardless of what they're wearing. V.

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  8. V, you went to P High? One good thing about uniforms, you don't have to decide what to wear, surely helpful for especially female students.

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  9. Anonymous12:11 am

    Nah, I went to the tech. Do you really think I pondered over what to wear each morning?! : ) V.

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    1. No V. With your confident self assurance, I am sure you did not worry too much. But some do, I am sure.

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  10. The school really does make the difference - and parents usually know this...for most its what you can afford and some really bright kids would do so much better if their parents could afford it - and then again some parents couldn't care less...
    a school where curiosity is seen as a learning gift and not slammed down would be what I would choose for kids -

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    1. MC, an alternative to parents having to pay private school fees for a good education is for them to find a good government school. They vary greatly.

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