Opinion & Media

Links to occasional opinion pieces I have written for online or print sources, and articles I have provided comment to the media.

The Trouble with NAPLAN: Professional Voice Magazine, April 2019

In May this year, the NSW Minister for Education, Rob Stokes, called for the “urgent dumping” of the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) (Baker, 2018). The surprise call was rejected by the then Federal Minister for Education, Simon Birmingham, who argued that “parents like it”...


Teacher Quality Discourse Needs Discussion: Australian Teacher Magazine, April 2019 (Staff Writer)

Nowadays it seems everyone from politicans to parents has an opinion on teacher quality...


What's Good Evidence-based Practice for Classrooms?: EduResearch Matters, March 18, 2019 (With Dr Meghan Stacey)

Calls for Australian schools and teachers to engage in ‘evidence-based practice’ have become increasingly loud over the past decade. Like ‘quality’, it’s hard to argue against evidence or the use of evidence in education, but also like ‘quality’, the devil’s in the detail: much depends on what we mean by ‘evidence’, what counts as ‘evidence’, and who gets to say what constitutes good ‘evidence’ of practice...


It's Time to be Honest with Parents about NAPLAN: EduResearch Matters, May 15, 2018

You know there is something going wrong with Australia’s national testing program when the education minister of the largest state calls for it to be axed. The testing program, which started today across the nation, should be urgently dumped according to NSW Education Minister, Rob Stokes, because it is being “used dishonestly as a school rating system” and that it has “sprouted an industry that extorts money from desperate families”...


TeachING Quality is not TeachER Quality: How we Talk about 'Quality' Matters: EduResearch Matters, May 11, 2018

The language we use to discuss the work of teachers in the public domain matters. It matters to our shared understanding of education as a society and it impacts on teachers’ work both directly and indirectly. My research at the moment focuses in part on the notion of quality in education, specifically how issues of teacher quality are represented in the mainstream print media. As part of this work I decided to look more closely at the use of the terms teacher quality and teaching quality in mainstream print media.


Explainer: What Makes a Good Teacher? Fairfax Media, February 2017



















Teachers and Professional Judgement: EduResearch Matters, January 16, 2017

The role of the teacher in an Australian classroom is changing, and not in a good way. As I see it, the relentless pressure for schools to perform well in NAPLAN, the demands of various mandated curriculum and the ubiquitous concerns about ‘quality teaching’ are making teachers lose confidence in their own professional abilities...


What's a Good Education System Worth?: EduResearch Matters, June 20, 2016

The Turnbull Government’s education election manifesto, Quality Schools, Quality Outcomes claims (several times over) that when it comes to the funding of schooling, it matters less how much is spent and more how the resources are spent...


Three Issues with the Minister's Intervention: EduResearch Matters, August 31, 2015

Many thousands of words have been written about Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli, intervening to stop Burwood Girls High School screening the documentary film Gayby Baby in school time...


More measuring, Few Solutions: EduResearch Matters January 15, 2015

The long-awaited report of the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG) was released last week, with the catchy title Action Now: Classroom Ready Teachers...


Manufactured Panic Around Teacher Quality Obscures the Bigger Issue: EduResearch Matters June 16, 2014

Politicians of all persuasions use the language of panic and crisis to whip up fear about the ‘quality’ of teachers, and their teaching. The consequence of this deliberate attempt to shape public opinion, is that ‘quality’ has effectively become a smoke screen, obscuring the real and serious educational equity problems we have in Australia...


Building a Profession: The Conversation, August 9 2012

Finally, perhaps the time has come. The Australian Charter for the Professional Learning of Teachers and School Leaders and the Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework, both signed off by state and federal education ministers on Friday, have the potential to support a significant rethink of teacher development and learning in Australia – a rethink that is well overdue...


The Smell of NAPLAN in the Morning: Online Opinion, May 4, 2011

The beginning of Term Two heralds the start of NAPLAN season in Australian Schools. Like educational napalm, it can have the effect of killing off much of the actual learning that might otherwise be taking place around where it lands...


Superman Brings More Inconvenient Truths: Online Opinion March 30, 2011

Waiting for Superman, the documentary about education from the makers of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, was released in Australia last week.  While a doco about the American public school system isn’t likely to have the same level of popularity in Australia as its climate change sibling – it has a very limited arthouse release in capital cities – the film raises some interesting questions about current trends in Australian education, especially given the fondness of our current PM for educational ‘borrowing and lending’...