Daily Archives: December 15, 2008

2008 in review 11: what did I post about in October 2008?

As I have said more than once, I don’t have a memory but I do have a blog! 😉 Now to see what I can’t remember… I do note an avoidance of too much angst, partly a result of the awful attack on my blogs the month before.

Floating Life 

Boring geeky navel gazing etc 2 began the month celebrating a bit of a record; I also posted A different take on the current financial crisis – disclaiming any authority on the matter. On 2 October was Catching up on the October "Monthly" and a couple of other items. Australian poem 2008 series #21: Adam Aitken led 3 October, with response from the poet. Other posts were VP debate on now: depressing and Picture hunting in Surry Hills. Revisiting The Book of Laughter and Forgetting began the weekend, with Spelling on Sunday: found in Elizabeth Street and Another Sunday lunch at the Shakespeare… on 5 October.

A commendable lack of pontificating in all…

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Posted by on December 15, 2008 in 2008 in review, blogging


2008 in review 10: what did I post about in November 2008?

As I noted here, I am now going in reverse order, finishing in April 2008, and adding December in the new year. That way the months are published in a more logical order. Shame about January-March, but not a tragedy… Of course I now have three blogs to epitomise.

Floating Life

Saturday 1 November brings you The Howard Years on ABC; on 2 November Sirdan and his mum at Chinese Whisper includes one of my best photos, and in the afternoon I wrote Place and voice spot on: Peter Corris, “The Big Score” (2007).

Last episode of SBS’s “First Australians” and a must see anthology on 3 November reminds me what a good year this was for documentaries on TV; The Chemist’s Tale is a story from Redfern. New to read – local and national on 4 November is about the South Sydney Herald; The real education revolution… is among my better posts; Promoting Ninglun’s Specials… explains itself. 5 November was a memorable day: I believe something is happening right now in the USA…; Tribute; Meanwhile in Indonesia…. Next day began with A reminder we could all do with and then US election via George Negus, and the language of religion; the day after I posted On assignment! about a photo job I was given, and Trounced by Thomas! That brings us to the weekend. On Saturday I wrote The good oil on Barak Obama; Sunday was And that’s another thing that really gets on my goat… followed by With Sirdan and his mum at the Chinese Whisper again…

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Posted by on December 15, 2008 in 2008 in review, blogging


Ken Boston outsources, falls on sword…

I will give Ken Boston some marks for integrity, to judge from Australian steps down as Britain’s exams chief after marking debacle. Ken Boston is a familiar name to any of us who were teaching here in NSW in the 80s and 90s. As the article explains: “Dr Boston, 65, was instrumental in delivering many reforms to the NSW education system during the early 1990s under Dr Terry Metherell. He has headed the British authority since 2002.” Here is what happened, according to the Sydney Morning Herald:

ONE of Britain’s most highly paid and powerful public servants, the former NSW education chief Ken Boston, has resigned his £328,000 ($873,000)-a-year post after a chaotic round of national curriculum tests.

Dr Boston, who began his career as a teacher in Victoria and was in his sixth year at the helm of the British schools testing watchdog, announced that he believed in public officials "taking responsibility when things go wrong".

Thousands of British children aged 11 and 14 received late – or incorrect – Standard Assessment Test results this year after the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority outsourced their administration to an American company, ETS, which signed a £156 million contract for the job. The British Government sacked the company in August.

Known as SATs, the tests are given at the end of years 2, 6 and 9 and are designed to measure children’s progress in comparison with peers born in the same month. The mess led the Government to drop the tests for 14-year-olds and there has been debate about scrapping the tests for 11-year-olds.

An inquiry by Lord Sutherland was launched into the disastrous round of SATs three months ago and is widely predicted to contain serious criticisms of the authority. The report is due to be handed down in London tomorrow…

He said at the weekend that the performance of ETS had been "quite unacceptable" and repeated an apology issued to the 1.2 million students who took the tests and their teachers at the end of the summer term in Britain.

Criticism of Dr Boston has been tough since the disastrous results and he has come under pressure about his salary package, which includes the use of a £1 million apartment in London’s fashionable Chelsea district as well as six business-class flights a year back to Australia. London newspapers have also made an issue of his ownership of a yacht in Sydney…

Our measurement fetish – and theirs in the UK, and ditto in the USA — really needs to be looked at in the light of these events, not to mention the perils of outsourcing to private concerns. The same mob did our Adult Literacy Survey under Howard in 2006: Australian Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey 2 (with comments by Jim Belshaw).

I wrote more on the Educational Testing Service a year ago on English/ESL: Email about the Educational Testing Service.

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Posted by on December 15, 2008 in Australia, awful warnings, Brendan Nelson, curriculum, education, exams and assessment, future schooling, Jim Belshaw, John Howard, literacy, London



Before and after a good Sunday lunch and a few red wines with Sirdan at The Porter House and then The Oxford, I ferreted around in some parts of Surry Hills I had been before and quite a few I had not. The results of that are appearing on the photoblog under “Loving Surry Hills”: five pics are up already, and each day I will add one or two more.

It was indeed a windy day, but the light was excellent.

dec14 044

That was on the corner of Elizabeth and Devonshire Streets as I returned home.

But I didn’t go to the Christmas do in Ward Park, preferring after my red wines to sit and watch the Schools Spectacular on ABC-TV.

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Posted by on December 15, 2008 in Australia, Australia and Australian, local, personal, Sirdan, site news, Sunday lunch, Surry Hills