It Really Is Half Full

January 7th 2018

Have you ever noticed how data always seems to be against education? Seriously, you just have to glance at a news outlet feed to see that the figures espoused relating to education all show losses and failures. The data collectors themselves don’t necessarily call it “failure” outright but, the newspaper and commentators sure do! The information we are inundated with sends a singular message. Education is a regressive profession.

Numbers forever spiralling down. Numbers used to eradicate, torment and extort. Programs are axed on the percentages that find success versus those that enter them. Dollars are rolled out to individual schools on the scores that children and their families get. Thousands of students enrol in educational courses at Universities, more enter than there are jobs for on exit of the degree. Thousands of teachers leave the profession forever before they reach their five-year graduation anniversary. Indigenous populations, another number in the thousands, are no better off for being targeted to close the gap, not even ten long hard years on. Generational poverty has not been overcome by families being introduced to alternative educational pathways. And sadly, 81,000 kids drop out of school completely each year. Do you get the message? It is impossible not to. The message is clear. Numbers and education, when used together always seem to be adverse.

But wait, before we despair the perils of rubbish teachers and useless education let us look at what we aren’t talking about? The silent message if you like. The one that speaks to the fact that education is such a respected profession that, so many school-leavers would want to enter the field. What of the influence great educators must have had on those same students to make them want to be a teacher themselves. That is a compliment to education surely? And what of the people who keep championing for equity in all aspects of education, fiscally and academically in particular? These voices refuse to be quelled or hushed. Even after year upon year of differing governments’ neglect, trickery, foolishness and down-right abuse. Nothing deters those who call for more. Like that infamous little boy who wanted more, they also push forward and hold their hands up for more. Admirably they ask for someone other than themselves, they ask on behalf of those who are most vulnerable, children. How about a message about those people and their numbers?

And let us not forget the thousands of ex-students who have settled wonderfully into their adult life, life after school. Their education most definitely helped to prepare them for the future, if not set them up entirely. And, whilst it is nice to think all students have an opportunity to go on to tertiary study let’s face it, not everyone wants to go to University and, with those rising fees not everyone feels that this is the way to make their way in the world. That in itself is great, we have raised and educated young people to be aware, critical and decisive, this is despite the conforming and conservative nature of schools. We still send out thousands of individuals from schools each year with a desire to be true to themselves as citizens. Not a bad poster for the positives of education indeed.

And what of the dedication of those who are always looking for improvement, innovation and enhancement to bring to their classrooms? Where are the figures and messages being sent out to community heralding the worthwhile and good job that, for the most part, teachers do all around the country?

Family Focus Consultancy just wants to take a moment, before all the back to school mayhem starts. Before all the negative nay-sayers bleat, before all the financial costs of returning to school consume us all before more figures get used as weapons against education to say; job well-done teachers.

Each year teachers show up, willing and prepared to take our children into the classroom and fill their minds with knowledge. Challenge their beliefs with alternatives and let them find themselves through an educational lens. These are the unquantifiable elements that we wish to promote, talk about, focus on and discuss. Figures be damned, in our household, we don’t need numbers to show success or be convinced of wins and losses we just witness the progress of our children. For, as everyone knows, there are many, many ways to measure success and Family Focus Consultancy like to see the glass as half full. Cheers to a New Year!