IT was no surprise to read that NAPLAN results were below average in moderately disadvantaged or disadvantaged suburbs. (‘Location has influence on test results’, Newcastle Herald, 28/11). Ask any teacher in these suburbs and they will tell you that.
Rent and house prices are cheaper out of the city, so people who are in low-paying jobs or are unemployed will live in those suburbs. More often than not in these circumstances, education is not highly valued in the home and this attitude passes on to the children. Other factors at play will be homes where children are worried about situations at home and this will affect their ability to get to school, let alone how they perform once there. I stress that this is not always the case and I speak in general terms.
There are many other facets to school and education that are equally as important as literacy and numeracy skills. Placing unnecessary focus on NAPLAN and similar testing is certainly not going to change their home circumstances, nor their attitude to education and school in general. It is more likely to foster a negative attitude to education and lower their self-esteem.
All that has occurred is a fostering of unhealthy competition between schools and rising prices for homes in areas that are perceived to be “better”. In other words, further fostering the divide between haves and have-nots and creating a society that is no longer egalitarian. NAPLAN must be relegated to history as a disaster to education.
Jayne Sharpe, Maryland
TRACKING A TOURISM BOOST
I THOUGHT I'd leave my opinion piece until after all the serial nay sayers had their expected whinge about the Supercars. Once again, I attended the event for the three days, and was happy with the transport arrangements and new track accessibility, where you can walk the complete surrounds.
Another positive was that the event is specifically bringing new tourists to the region. This was no more evident then on three separate occasions we had conversations with people from other states who it was their first time to Newcastle to see the race, and were staying for a week to visit the Hunter Valley etc.
More importantly was the shock at how beautiful our city and beaches are was to them. Yes, the water over the weekend was ridiculously clean and blue! Asked if they'll be returning, they replied with a big yes.
Tony Mansfield, Lambton
THEY COULD CRUISE ON IN
NUATALI Nelmes and Ryan Palmer (Letters 26/11), you say Newcastle is appealing to visitors due to the Supercars and other events held here, and you celebrate the critical role that the airport plays. Well, then, what about the cruise ship terminal?
It would play a massive part in Newcastle getting bigger and better, thousands of people would be coming to Newcastle weekly if it was built.
Colin Geatches, Mayfield
STAND BY THE VULNERABLE
CONGRATULATIONS to Daniel Andrews and the Labor team for their win in the Victorian election. The Liberals ran a campaign promising to unwind some of the social policy changes this government have brought in Safe Schools program, safe injecting rooms and assisted dying legislation. They now know the consequences.
Victoria is the only state to have assisted dying legislation for the terminally ill, with Western Australia close to enacting similar laws from July 2019. There are many Victorians waiting to have their suffering ended by choosing when to die surrounded by the people they love. Imagine their distress had the Liberals won and they faced having this options taken away.
Laws around this issue have overwhelming public support every time a poll is conducted, and yet the Liberal Party in Victoria promised to defy the will of the people and in doing so show no respect for our democracy.
These laws came into place after an extensive research period with heartbreaking testimony from the state coroner. As a society we can do better for those who are at the end of their lives. The Liberals now seem to inhabit some universe that abandons its most vulnerable. A society is more than an economy. Victoria is now considered a progressive state leading the way in supporting policies that really change peoples lives. The federal Liberal party would do well to take note. Most of us live in this century and expect politicians to put aside their own views, listen and learn.
Sarah Taylor, Merewether
NOISE ISN’T ROCK’N’ROLL
The NSW Liquor Act entitles all citizens to seek relief to stop or reduce undue noise and disturbances from alcohol outlets. Of course, I believe, if the AHA and Newcastle council had their way such legal protections may be immediately removed as unnecessary impediments to the profit-making process.
Jeremy Bath (Letters, 26/11) appears an exuberant supporter for licensed premises and 24/7 noise in the CBD “noise in a city, day and night, is a good thing”. In his support for less noise controls for the new Station liquor license, he relies upon a questionable comparison of the noise of the former Newcastle train station to that experienced by long established residents and families living in close proximity to late trading popular pubs and their patron migration routes. This includes the offensive screaming, brawling, vomiting and burn-outs associated with highly intoxicated patrons leaving those sites.
I believe Mr Bath’s characterisation of local residents who seek relief from actual and potential excessive noise and alcohol related disturbances as a “select few who chose to live in the CBD” is disrespectful and divisive. Equally, businesses seeking to establish within any existing resident zones have a legal and moral duty to consider the amenity and safety implications of excessive noise and alcohol-related disturbances.
The answer is not, as I believe council has done (‘Council moves on with night strategies’, Herald, 29/11), to unilaterally change the rules to placate powerful alcohol related business interests and a very small percentage of our population who are demanding loud live music in other residents’ front yards, every night into the very early hours.
Tony Brown, Newcastle
ACT ON THE MESSAGE
WHILE it is only fitting and well deserved, the address by our political leaders on the passing of indigenous activist Bonito Mabo, wife of the late Eddie Mabo (ABC 27/11) does reek of political hypocrisy owing to their point blank rejection and refusal to take serious the elders statement from the heart and give them a say in the costly and miserably failed numerous attempts that consecutive governments have had in closing the gap.
Allan Earl, Thornton
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