Friday 7th of October 2022

The Culture in Education

On the news yesterday I heard about the little 8-year-old boy who was being bullied by teachers to the point where he considered committing suicide.

For over 5 years my family have been making written formal complaints to the Department of Education of systemic bullying, misconduct and corruption. These complaints are “not accepted�? and are being covered up and as a result my children remain targeted, vulnerable and not protected. The Department has unfairly ruined my reputation and the reputation of my children so that nobody is required to listen to us or address the issues.

The issues flared up in the Year 2000 when a teacher started publicly humiliating my daughter and bullying her after I complained about her treatment and the inappropriateness of her education. I made formal written complaints and in desperation I wrote to the media about the neglect of gifted children.

An article appeared in one of the major Newspapers. It didn’t help our situation as the person who wrote the article wrote that the “Principal of the school wasn’t very smart�?. The Principal recognized herself and was not impressed. It discredited her intelligence and the school’s reputation so, in return, the system set out to discredit my children’s intelligence and ruin our reputation in order to preserve theirs. It’s the culture.

Those in the system have since the Year 2000 to date have deliberately, relentlessly and mercilessly neglected my children’s identified educational and emotional/social needs and manipulated my children’s test scores in order to discredit them and keep them out of schools for gifted children and in order to discredit me so that nobody will have to listen to what I have to say. I appreciate that these are serious allegations and I take full responsibility for making them, but I have an alarming amount of documents and evidence that shows without a doubt that we are justified in making these allegations and we want to present the documents openly.

My four children have suffered serious psychological and emotional distress, neglect, depression and serious physical problems as a result - and it continues. We have been denied Procedural Fairness and Natural Justice.

We sent some documents to the P & C and asked the P & C for assistance and protection for our children The P & C responded with “although we appreciate your concerns, it is beyond the scope of the P & C". The Shadow Minister for Education responded with “although in opposition at State Level I am limited in what I can do as the Minister has the responsibility in a situation such as this�?. When I wrote back to her saying that the Minister had been told a total misrepresentation of the facts and the matter had been closed on the basis of a tale presented by those that we allege are responsible and that as a result correspondence from us to the Minister is filed without acknowledgment she responded with, “as Opposition spokesperson for education I have no power to investigate individual complaints,�? and once again referred us back to the Minister. The response from our Opposition Leader was to say that they had been advised that the issues had been addressed and that the matter had been closed and they hoped it satisfied our enquiry! They all then ignored our requests to come in to show them that the Department was not telling the truth and they all refused to see us. Nobody will see us personally in relation to the matter. They prefer to take the word of those responsible. Sadly I know of other children who have been dealt with the same way and who have also seriously suffered.

I am seeking any advice, assistance, direction and support as my family do not know how to make the Department and Government investigate and address these allegations fairly and properly so that my children can be protected. It should be our right!

Title

Jolanda

Hi Jolanda,

It seems that you have really tried everything. The only thing I can suggest which may seem a bit left of centre, is to perhaps contact Bob Brown of the Greens.  Whilst he wouldn't be in a position to fix the problem for you, he is the type of person that genuinely cares about people, and if he's able to provide any assistance or suggest an alternative course of action for you he will.

I wish you luck.

Grief in Education

HI Sally,

Thanks for your response.  I tried Bob Brown. I have tried everybody. Not enough resources they tell me, cannot investigate individual cases, not their responsibility. Nobody cares. It seems that somebody has to either commit suicide or do something drastic before anybody is required to take any notice. It appears that somebody actually has to die before the matter is taken seriously.

And Hamish I wasn't repeating, I was adding to it as that was yet more instances over and above what I had said as the amount of times this has been done to us is alarming and excessive. It doesn't matter. I do appreciate that I have had a chance to at least vent somewhat on this site, but to cut half of my post because you think I have already said it is in my opinion unfair.

And Len, you seriously should get some help.

Reply to Jolanda

I will indicate in my next post to Webdiary that I am replying to you here.


I am somewhat at a loss to advise you as to what to do since I have not seen nor do I have a way of seeing the correspondence and the case file. You seem to feel that your children have been victimised by DET . In my long experience with the education system I have seen a few incidents where children have been unfairly treated but in most cases, especially in the last few years,  disputes and conflicts have been satisfactorily resolved.

 

There are procedures in place in all schools to address issues such as bullying and harassment by students. In addition teachers are well aware of their responsibility to treat students professionally, fairly and equitably.

 

Sometimes there has been a communication breakdown between parents and the Principal. In these cases someone from the District Office will be called in to mediate. I have not seen or heard of any cases where legitimate parental complaints in which it is patently obvious that the school is at fault have not been dealt with appropriately. 

 

I am not necessarily going to bat for DET. I know they can be slow to respond sometimes and sometimes aggrieved parents think that their response is inadequate. Nevertheless I can assure you that similar procedures with almost identical pathways and outcomes operate in the Catholic system as well. 

 

On the issue of OC classes...they are very hard to get into but studies have shown that children are not necessarily advantaged by having been placed in one. There are many students who do not seek or gain placement who later achieve outstanding results in the HSC. Your local primary school in any case should have a Gifted and Talented programme operating.  

 

No one in DET "manipulates" IQ test results. Counsellors administer the tests and record the score on the Pupil Record Card. The actual test sheet itself is retained by the Counsellor. A School Counsellor would be in serious breach of his/her professional ethics (they are qualified psychologists) if they took such action.

 

The main value of the IQ result I have found is to see if there are discrepancies between a child's ability and their performance. This can indicate a learning difficulty which can then be further investigated. Schools could use that information along with other indicators to grade students if there is a policy of graded classes in a school, but in most cases they use the child's classroom performance and feedback from teachers to grade students.

 

The main responsibility of providing for a child's emotional and social needs lies with the family. Schools are not replacement parents. They have a specific mandated function. As part of performing their task they provide pastoral care and in some cases specialist counselling for individual students experiencing difficulties. If you think about the number of children in schools who daily deal with poverty, neglect and abuse in their homes or who come from NESB or indigenous backgrounds and may face extra challenges, or who are disabled, then Counsellors will have a large caseload. In the end though most children  have a fairly smooth passage through school. . 

IQ and Giftedness; Reply to Dee Bayliss

This is a difficult forum to discuss the issue that Jolanda has raised, given how public it is and how heartfelt the issues are, and for reasons that Dee has raised, it is difficult to engage with the specifics Jolanda's experience - I don't blame her for not wanting to go through it all again. I am posting on an issue of general relevance to the topic: that of the IQ test and it's relationship to giftedness.

I am of the understanding that both pedagogy and psychology see no such relationship - it is a dud test. In fact, it's been widely critiqued within psychology as being useless for just about anything. As an example, I was tested for 'giftedness' when I was 7 or 8 years old. The test given me was one designed for an adult. I scored 140 - well above average for an adult doing the test, let alone an 8 year old. The twist is, I recently did an IQ test as part of a job interview process and received a score (not quoted as a number) of 'average'. Quite a disparity! The reason for this as far as I can see is that my developmental energies have been spent very differently in the years preceding each of these tests. Prior to the test when I was eight, I was mastering symbolic manipulation, pattern recognition and logical process (both linguistic and mathematic) - all things that bear relation to IQ tests. My developmental energies in the last few years have been focused on spatial and relational skills - things tested poorly by IQ tests but legitimate and (in the case of relational skills) pre-eminant in regards to giftedness. It is of concern that the Department of Education is still making decisions on the basis of a 1950's technology such as the IQ test. There are specific tests laid down by educational theorists in this area that make much more sense to me.

Jolanda, there are networks and associations of people who've been through all this - the Queensland Association of Gifted and Talented Children is the one I can remember, although my impression is that it's changed a bit since I knew it. In addition there are private individuals who consult in the area who also do advocacy and counselling work. You are not alone!

Serious problems in Education.

Dee Bayliss, this is a case that has not been handled or dealt with properly!  People don’t usually see these types of cases, because they keep them within themselves and  cover them up. I am not saying that my children's IQ scores were manipulated, all my children’s IQ results show obvious extremely gifted children. 

I am saying that the English, Math’s and General Ability test scores that applicants sit and which they use to determine placement in relation to their Opportunity Class and Selective Schools were manipulated and tampered with and not just once, three of my children have been affected numerous times and I know for a fact that they have been manipulated because on one occasion  they accidentally sent me a copy of my daughters data file stuck by its paper clip between two letters sent relation to two of my  children that were put in the same envelope. That data file shows the changing of the scores to a much lower score under the guise of an error in calculation. The changing of the score under the guise of an error in calculation did not form part of the documents produced under the FOI Act. The lower incorrectly calculated score was however presented to the selection panels as my daughter's score on which to determine placement and base their decision. The documents produced under the FOI Act showed a much higher score (approx 30 points more)  yet the lower incorrect score was presented to the panel and used to determine placement. The lower score has been incorrectly calculated, presented then deleted and the  process was tampered with and flawed. They did a similar thing to my son's Selective High School application: the wrong score was presented.

In relation to one of my sons Opportunity Class placement tests I requested certified true and accurate copies of my children's test results from ACER, the external markers. What people don’t realise is that the papers are marked externally and then the results are sent by computer to the Department of Education who then scale and moderate the marks. So essentially they have access to do whatever they like with the marks. The Department sent me what they said were true and accurate copies of my sons tests results from Acer. The document was on plain paper and not on ACER  letterhead and  showed numerous inconsistencies and errors, including 61 answers to 60 multiple choice questions. When I questioned it they said that my sons second initial inadvertently slipped onto the next line and formed part of the answers.  Problem is that my son doesn't have a second name and he therefore doesn't have a second initial. I can see exactly what they have done.

I asked for answer checks on my children's tests and for the tests to be retained as my children wanted to check them, it was all part of an FOI Application but the tests were destroyed a few days before the matter went before the Administrative Decisions Tribunal without doing an answer check. There is so much more.

That is not dealing with a matter properly or fairly!  Trust me, those people at the Department have the access, safety net and opportunity to do anything that they want with the scores. If you don’t believe me then I am happy to show you what I have as what I have detailed above is just a few instances there are about 13 more and they are alarming.

Sure some children don’t want or need Opportunity Class but when your children are very highly gifted and depressed at school and are suffering physical and psychological problems and are under the care of medical specialists  as a result and they are obvious identified very highly gifted and they are waiting to get to Opportunity class/Selective High Schools where they hope things will be better and you have been writing to the Department for years in relation to it, wouldn't it be RIGHT for the Department to place them in the schools that they have designed for these children especially when it is blatantly obvious that these children are gifted and the system is failing them and given that their Policies and Research and even the Senate Report on Gifted Children confirm that these children have special needs and if their needs are not being met they suffer  boredom, frustration, underachievement and psychological distress as a result. Its culpable neglect!

When they have selection procedures that are so grossly unfair, how can they do this to truly gifted children without having to answer to anybody. The documents are alarming and those in the Department are humans and humans are capable of discrimination, bias and corruption. The complaint has not been allowed to go outside of those that we allege are responsible – how can that be considered fair.

You are right the main responsibility for a child’s emotional and social needs lies with the family. That is why my family is fighting this on behalf of our children  because our children are being neglected and targeted and they don’t deserve to be treated so poorly and with such lack of regard for the identified needs, health and well-being. If you don’t believe it then you must believe that I am crazy or mistaken.  The Department relies on that,  its very easy to discredit a parent, especially a parent of gifted children. My children are very highly regarded by their peers, their problems are with the adults in the system!

It amazes me how without seeing anything everybody automatically thinks that the Department wouldn’t do anything like that. You just have to listen to what’s happening in the news in Health and in Immigration.   The system is capable of anything and it  does not deal with matters and complaints properly and fairly especially if they are the ones that are to blame.

At the moment in relation to my daughter her Public High School has agreed, given the situation and documents,  to  photocopy  all her external tests and internal tests that will not be returned in their entirety  and they are verified and placed in the school safe so as to verify her answers when the results come back as other tests have come back with errors and inconsistencies so at least my daughters school is trying to protect her at school level but it has taken a long time to get to that. The District office does nothing. It's all a farce. My other daughter's school, non public, has agreed to do the same. Everybody can see that it is wrong, its just that those that have the power to do something about it want to cover it up and its easy because people prefer to believe them and blame the parent.

Wondering...

So why would they single out your three children among all those in the State at both government and non-government schools who sit both the OC Test and the Selective Schools test to discriminate against?

Retribution?

Hi Dee,   Its a long story but the problem started because back in the Year 2000  I made public  complaints in relation to the serious neglect of the education of gifted children, I took the matter to the P & C.  On the night that the issues were going to be addressed at the P & C  the parents that had urged me to bring the matters up as their children were also unhappy and that had agreed to come to the meeting to support the issues (some had gifted children themselves)  all chickened out and stayed home,  they were later to tell me that they were too scared to come because they feared that if they did their children would be targeted.   Without anybody there to support the issues,  the school just humiliated me in public and made me out to be a pushy mother who already had children that were achieving highly and just wanted more.   The migraine lasted a week.

Problem was that I had children who thought they were going to school to learn and they craved to learn it was intensity that they needed to feed and they became very depressed as the days are long, boring and draining when you already know everything that you are going to be taught for the next 3/4 years up.  The school would not differentiate the curriculum to meet my children’s obvious educational needs.    My life was a living hell, my children always sick with headaches, stomach aches, joint pain, lethargy, depression, they enjoyed their friends but hated school and they didn’t want to go.  The way that they were being treated by the teachers and the school hurt them and distressed them so much that it caused them psychological and physical problems.

I also wrote complaints to the District Office and to the Minister for Education.  Three schools in the local area were audited for their provisions for gifted children as a result.   The audit was a farce. The Department of Education was not impressed with me..

I also wrote a letter to Maralyn Parker of the Daily Telegraph and she did a piece on it.  Everybody in the local community recognised who we were because my children are obvious gifted children and there are 4 of them one of them from kindergarten was affectionately referred to by the parents as a “freak

Gifted Education

Despite constraints in staffing some individual schools do offer programmes for gifted students as shown.

I do not believe parents of G and T students are "targeted" as a matter of policy. I do however know that some parents can be obsessional and pushy about their own children to an alarming extent, thus causing emotional distress to their children from the relentless pressure. 

There was a philosophy around in the fifties which was big on "socialising" children which seems to have trickled down into this century, especially at the primary level. If you did not "fit" some stereotype of what a kid at a particular stage should be doing then teachers would spend a large amount of energy trying to get you to "fit". A very small number of G and T kids are social loners, particularly if they are on the autism spectrum. The vast majority of identified G and T kids though are very socially adept and often display competence in non academic areas such as sport and debating.

I think also that even if there is resistance from some in the union, mainly because of the staffing and funding issues (because the unions would feel disadvantaged students should have a higher priority if there are extra resources on offer ), individual teachers are generally very keen on developing programmes for the gifted and talented which would be also available to other interested students. The use of technology offers some exciting ways in which G and T students could access learning materials via a learning contract  without the need for constant teacher supervision which presents problems in staffing, especially in primary schools. The IEP/ITP model used for special needs students could be used here, where these students could have a "management plan" (for instance allowing these students to visit a Learning Centre in the school for individual research or accelerating students in subjects where they are particularly strong)  but again often this is subject to resource avaliability. You need someone in the school who can monitor and co-ordinate programmes. This often does not occur even with special needs students. Acceleration means timetabling issues in secondary schools though it can be more easily accommodated in primary schools provided the accelerated kid is not just dumped one or two grades higher without a specific programme.

As a parent you can play a crucial role. I do not mean a rigid programme of after-school repetitive work over and above normal homework and study. I mean identifying areas your children are interested in (and these could be "obsessions" like dinosaurs or programming in Perl or Renaissance art....or they could be a number of areas or they could be interests which change over time), talking about these with a child and giving them tools to do their own research and reading (Internet, local and State library access etc) It does not mean relentless parental supervision either. G and T kids should be, or have the potential to be, independent and questioning learners from an early age. If they are not and are still heavily teacher-dependent at adolescence then they are not G and T.

Don't fall into the trap of "coaching colleges" who aim to relieve anxious parents of large amounts of money and which provide little lasting benefit.

Remember too that kids change over time and a kid who is coasting at school will often suddenly take off once they are in tertiary studies (University or TAFE)...this can potentially apply  to all kids not just those who are identified G and T.

Here is a research paper from the 2003 ASPA Conference which may interest you


 

 

Negative attitudes towards giftedness

Thanks DEE for your comment, it really helps!   “I do not believe parents of G and T students are "targeted" as a matter of policy. I do however know that some parents can be obsessional and pushy about their own children to an alarming extent, thus causing emotional distress to their children from the relentless pressure

Gifted and Talented

The full Senate Report (1988) is here.

The addenda from the Senate Employment, Workplace Relations, Small Business and Education Committee (1992-2002)  is here for those people who wish to look at them in more depth.

Of their nature such committees receive both anecdotal (subjective) evidence and professional observational (objective) evidence. Senators are not necessarily experts in the field and receive advice from  consulting with people who are. In addition the Federal Government has limited or no jurisdiction over curriculum, staffing and organisational matters in schools so can only make recommendations which fall within its constitutional ambit. 

There is also dispute in the research community as to what constitutes educational giftedness though all agree that students who are high achievers and who demonstrate advanced insight and understanding are most probably somewhere on the "gifted spectrum". The problem is in measuring and quantifying this and in subsequently  providing appropriate services. It stands to reason that if the experts disagree on the nature of intelligence and giftedness they will also disagree on the ways to recognise and provide for students who are gifted.

The quotes from the Senate reports you post are restatements of material on submissions from a variety of interested individuals and groups, and one piece of anecdotal evidence which I presume forms part of the Senate report  in italics. One report of research is posted but there is no citation i.e. no indication of the author of the research or where and when it took place.

Schools are somewhat limited in that they can only realistically offer GAT extension programmes which lie within their mission i.e. extension to academic programmes. 

This article is from DET's website. It sets out a number of strategies being pursued in schools for gifted students. Some of those strategies may be appropriate for your children.  It is two years old but you may need to contact the person whose name appears at the end of the article. If she is no longer in the position then you need to speak to the person who currently holds the position. If you feel you have a legitimate complaint you need to approach the issue methodically without emotion. Governments respond ultimately  to factual and objectively verifiable information, not to perception and feelings. Your own opinion of teachers and of your local school is irrelevant unless you have hard evidence, usually written.

If you do not receive satisfaction then your next recourse is to your local member of Parliament.
 

Acceleration

Dee, I got carried away with my last post and I didn’t really respond to you in relation to acceleration and in relation to contacting the person noted on the link you provided.

Two of my daughters have been accelerated one year.  It wasn’t easy to accomplish, we had to change schools and at the end of the day it made little or no difference to their situation.    My younger daughter skipped kindergarten, she just point blank refused to go to school.  She was reading fluently before she was 3 years old.  Everyday she came home angry and upset as she felt like she was totally wasting her time. In Kindergarten she came home with hands on hips, hair in pigtails demanding I tell her exactly why she went to school. She said “Mum, they are teaching me the alphabet when I already know how to read, we are doing Ants in the Apple a a a

Distance Education

Hi Jolanda,

Having read your posts with interest I am quite horrified and disgusted that the system could  allow a situation to deteriorate to such a level. For the powers that be to simply say that the issues are no longer open for discussion is infantile. It is behaviour one would expect to find in a pre-school  yard at recess.

I noticed  you mentioned home-schooling for your younger daughter and could not help but think possibly there is a solution in that. My last experience with Distance Education in relation to primary and secondary schooling is some twelve years ago. So in reality I have no idea how the system works now. However, we had to take my youngest son out of school, for health reasons, when he was in year 6. He completed year 6 and continued his entire secondary schooling including the HSC by distance education through Karingbah High School at Quenbeyan. He worked entirely at his own speed. He would complete his course work send it in and the next lot of work would be dispatched to him. It was all very civilised and the teacher support was absolutely tremendous when  required, which more often than not was simply because he bleeding well didn't agree with what the course work was saying. There was never any retaliation from the teachers - they appeared to enjoy the challenge and would debate it out without any rancour. It was great.

The decision to take him out of school was not an easy one but given his health at the time there was not a lot of choice. With the advantage of hindsight,  having watched him over the years since, it was the right course to take. He completed the HSC at 16 continued  with Distance Education through Deakin University and completed a dual major degree in Computer science and Information Technology. By this time his health had improved such that he was able to enter mainstream employment. He is currently in the final month of completeing his MBA at London Business School. The only drawback for my son was, that due to his health, he was isolated and missed the social interaction that goes with interfacing with your peers. From what I can gather this would not be an issue for your children.

Jolanda only you and your family know the true trauma and impact of what you have all been  through and I agree whole heartedly with you that no one deserves to be treated in this manner. If I may be so bold as to say you can only keep ramming your head against a brick wall for so long before something has to give. To find a way to circumnavigate the situation you are in is not backing down,  giving in or giving up, it is simply restoring some semblance of balance to achieve the  quality of life  you and your family are entitled to.

Distance Education

Hi Heather. It's so good to hear that your son has done so well through distance education. I am sure that it wasn’t easy as I know how negative attitudes can be in relation to issues to do with teaching children from home.

We came from a background where home-schooling was just not something that you really considered. Children went to school; its just the way it was. Now-days things are changing in that regard. People are becoming more aware. It was difficult even for the short times that three of my four children were home-schooled while we tried to find a better environment for them as the negative attitudes.

The gossip and the criticism was abundant. Our family name has been dragged through the mud.

Problem is that my husband and I run a small business and we have four children. When we set it up it was for both of us to work in it. Because of all the issues, I have been unable to work in the business full time and during different times we have had to employ people to do what I should be doing which means that money that should be staying in the business was being paid in wages. It makes it difficult to make ends meet. I have been trying to get all our children settled into school so that I can go back to full time work as we cannot afford to have me unable to do full time work any longer. Every year we have borrowed on our loan just to get by and we can no longer do it.

We have a son with a disability, Erbs Palsy that costs us a fortune. It’s only a physical disability that affects his left arm, shoulder and spine and the amount of therapy he needs financially drains us. I need to go back to full time work.

The other problem is that my older children don’t want to be home-schooled. They have been in school for too long and they are very popular children, leaders and very good in sports etc, so they would miss the friendship aspect of school and they only have a few years left.

The one that absolutely despises school is 7 years old and he begs me to home-school him but I really need to find a school where he feels safe and happy as we truly need to get ahead financially and I also feel that my son is so emotionally intense and so sensitive that if I keep him home I truly fear that he will become a recluse and that he will never want to walk out his front door again.

.

Editing posts

I guess I would have to enquire why my whole post in response to Heather's post was posted and then why half of it was taken off and deleted. That wasn't my full response.

I appreciate that what I was stating are serious allegations and I have made them formerly and in writing to the Schools and to the Department.   Everything that I say can be verified.  Everything was backed up in writing and I have documents to support every single thing that I allege has happened.  Why can't the truth be told about what is happening in the Education system and what is being done to my children and family? Not allowing people to say their piece just ensures that those in the system can get away with what they are doing. I take full responsibility for what I say and what I allege.

There is no such thing as freedom of speech not even on Your Democracy.  It's all a farce. I don’t know why people protect the Department instead of the children.  It  just  ensures that the system can do whatever they like  and as a result children continue to be discriminated against,  neglected, targeted and treated unfairly.

My children don’t deserve it and my family does not deserve it. I truly hate what is being allowed to happen in our society. Every time this sort of thing  happens and our voice is cut off -  it’s another knife in our back.

Hamish: I kept the response to Heather but you merely repeated things you have said many times here and on Webdiary. With respect, for yourself and for the content of your concerns, I don't think your claim that you are not given a fair go at stating your case on this site is fair.

one man's solution

Usually only come here to read the toons but the amount of posts in this thread made me look here too.

Len Heggarty is a drone and is typical of most cheerleaders in fora;  you can safely ignore him.

Dee Bayliss is running the professional  line and has already judged you as a "pushy parent"; easy to ignore such empty advice. 

Here's my own experience with the mighty state school system in NSW:

I got nothing except disdain and sarcasm from most teachers who couldn't handle my questioning.  It seems to be a general human failing that people are not comfortable with being shown publicly to be less than they want to appear. I didn't have enough social skills to realise that this was the effect that my honest questioning was having.  I got through primary school with a scarred left palm from so many cuts and a reputation as a stirrer, and an idea that there was something wrong with me.

Having parents who were not interested in my discomfort with the powers that be - "do what you're told and bite your lip" was their advice - I tried playing hookey for a while and spending my time reading and collecting snails (my obssession then), but I missed my school mates a lot.

So after a year or two of only turning up to do tests - which the teachers spelled out to me was all they wanted to see me for - I returned with a buttoned lip, a pile of books to get through in each period (I  negotiated this with each teacher separately and only one refused to play the game - so I didn't have to attend calculus classes - ho ho ho)  and became a drama and music leader for the last 3 years of high school.   My formal education was esssentially complete by the end of 2nd year, so I spent the spare hours outside school in reading at the Fisher and State Libraries. I enjoyed my self-education very much. Books are great teachers because one always passes you on to another.

In this way I really enjoyed my forced lip-buttoning and kept up with all the school socialising which is actually the most important part of school; things like the 500 games (extremely serious those games) the he said, she said gossip and of course all the great flirting. 

 Do you think that I am less sensitive than your kids?

I don't. I think your kids will be ok despite the powers-that-be if they button their lips to teachers and ignore stupid put-downs. There are a few mind exercises which I used to do during boring periods which they can invent for themselves.  The mind is a great escaper.

You tell them to buckle down to the project of getting through the state school system.  They  need you to tell them that not everything is always going to go their way. They will respect you for that kind of advice.

Send them to the local Uni library for their 'extension' and forget about seeing them as gifted. Tell them to apply for Mensa membership.  I have a few good friends there. The net is good news for Mensa,  but I find most of the members to be up themselves most of the time ;-)

Teach them that everyone has to accept a bit of irrational discipline in life and that they can look forward to University/tertiary education with great pleasure as a reward for playing the game in school.

They will be ok if they have their mates.

I ended up with a nice double biology/computing qualification but couldn't get over my early bad attitude to authority well enough to put up with the PhD factory.

No loss. I get plenty enough to live on, have 4 kids with attitude problems and still go to the library for my  continuing education. And I still refuse to have anything to do with the hacks in the dept of education.  They are irrelevant.

Win all round. 

ps. on standard IQ/ability testing as instrument for streaming:

I've only done three formally, all required at various stages of school, and was only given the result of the one which all students were made to take before going to high school. I can't remember the number but it was 2nd percentile and caused my parents to have to think about finding the extra money to send me to an opportunity school - 2 hour's travelling and a loss of my mates.  Not interested because I couldn't  trust any teacher by then to be different than my experience.  Numbers mean zilch without being integrated into society.

Play a musical instrument, even if you do it badly it is a great release.

la la la.

 up and at those kids' attitudes now lass!

If you have a case

Jolanda if you have a case then test it in court. There are a number of writs you can issue which cover  the situation you seem to find yourself in. You need to see a solicitor. It will not be cheap because I doubt if you would be eligible for any sort of legal aid, though you might be able to do something if one of your kids is the nominal plaintiff (they would not necessarily have to testify). But be sure to have verifiable documents and evidence because no legal practitioner will touch it without one. Lawyers quite justifiably like to have a chance at winning.

There is also ICAC.

The burden of proof is not as rigid in civil and administrative cases as it is in criminal cases but that does not mean that vexatious litigation is necessarily tolerated. So see a solicitor. A good one who specialises in this type of case. Ironically solicitors who specialise in WorkCover and injuries may be suitable, or may be able to refer you on.

Delseylass we all have gripes about the education system. No one had a 100% smooth passage through school. Your mention of the cane gives away your age. That is just one of the bad things that has disappeared.

When you were at school teachers who physically and sexually abused students usually stayed hidden in the system. This is no longer the case.

With the best will in the world organisations cannot deal judicially with perceptions. They can only deal with hard evidence. For instance anti-discrimination laws in the workplace are a good thing and can be very powerful if you have evidence they are being breached. But if you do not have that evidence then you are going to have an uphill battle in proving something occurred. No tribunal can be expected to respond to "So and so did such-and-such because I said so." If they do then justice flies out the window.

Things have changed.  Not perfect but they are better. Teachers are better educated too and schools are more responsive to individual differences. For instance kids on the autistic spectrum were not catered in mainstream schools  because it was assumed autism meant mental impairment.  A lot of people with Asperger's Syndrome could relate to your account Delseylass.

These days the best education is the one people get for themselves.

All they need to do is to learn how to learn and to have access to learning materials.

And I have not stated what my occupation is and do not intend to so do not make assumptions.

Legal Representation

Dee,  we do have a case in relation to three of my children and we do have the evidence and for sure we can't get legal aid.

We have been to see a few Solicitors.  Every one of them has said that my children have been denied natural justice. It seems that people don’t want to get involved with the Department of Education in relation to an issue like this and I cant understand why! They say its not their expertise or they just don’t get back to us.

One solicitor told us that  we would have no problem proving negligence but that because it would be so hard to put a price on it that it wouldn't be worth our while (because it would cost so much as the Department would just drag it on that in the end we would end up losing because we would come out behind financially).

But we just want Justice for our children, and our children want justice so that they can be vindicated and our name cleared and so that  my children can be protected for the future.

We have  a Solicitor at the moment dealing with the FOI aspect of the matter but even that gets dragged on and on and already we have to borrow large sums and spent so much money that is already financially draining us.

At this point I was advised that it was the cheapest way to try to have the matters addressed was through FOI as the Department keeps withholding documents and refusing to give us things or pretending that they already have, not that we don’t have enough evidence but they refuse to give us the actual manner of calculation of the scores and the files that were presented to the Selection Committees and other things.  They didn't even honour their agreements from the last time the matter was put before the ADT. We hope to address the issues as part of the FOI applications that is being put before the ADT and force them to act, but I fear that nothing is going to happen and  that we will not be refunded for the large sums of monies that we have spent trying to get the issues properly and fairly dealt with and addressed, monies that we will be paying back for the next 20 years.

It causes us so much stress and despair because we keep asking what about procedural fairness, what about the fact that they have breached their own Policies.   

You know it doesn't matter what evidence you have if nobody is required to look at the evidence that you present! Even the anti-discrimination board wouldn't look at it because "its not against the law to discriminate against gifted children."

I just wish I could find a Solicitor who would take on the matter on a "no win no pay" basis. I know that we would win, the evidence is alarming and excessive, and even if all that we got was Justice, vindication and enough to pay the Solicitors - we would be happy and satisfied.  It shouldn't have to be like this you shouldn't have to have enough money to be able to sue to get Justice and protection for your children. It really isn't fair or right.

As for ICAC, they use the same procedures as everyone else. They didn't investigate on the basis that they didn't believe that there was a motive and they therefore thought it was unlikely that it involved corrupt conduct and so they just closed the matter on the basis of that without investigating it. The evidence that I provided was irrelevant because they didn't have to look at it! Even when I forwarded them what was said to be "certified true and accurate copies of my children's test results" from the Department that showed inconsistencies and errors that confirmed what I was alleging, my correspondence was filed away without acknowledgement.

It's the process that the entire system uses and so long as they all play the game - they are safe.

Hi Jolanda.Very sad to see

Hi Jolanda. Very sad to see you missed the main push of my post. I most certainly didn't mean to imply your kids are not socially ok. I just assumed that they would still benefit from school, even without formal recognition of their talents, because of their mates - because you say they like the social part of school in some few places in this thread. Therefore I tried to illustrate a few ways to get through the sausage grinder for you. After that, I don't believe that a dud University entrance score will impede their progress in life for more than a year. As crooked as Universities may be, no faculty will refuse entry to a screaming talent. For the rest of your quandary: I have nothing to offer because I have no idea of how to force someone to think my way without having a fortune or an army to back me up. Good luck with it all. Hi Dee, You will have to go and do that Comprehension unit again. Running a professional line doesn't imply qualifications on the speaker's part; it is simply spruiking on behalf of professionals. The rest of your egregious remarks, labelling people and professionals, continue that spin nicely. Feh. Back to the toon.

Hi delseylass, dont know why you think its sad

Delseylass.   I don’t know why you would find it so sad and think that I missed the main push of your post. Your comments did make me believe that you thought my children’s actions were contributing or causing  their problems and my attitude was also a problem. You say Dee saw me as a pushy parent, well how then did you see me if not the similar?

My children don’t ask countless questions in class, nor have they ever been rude or disrespectful, they are very quiet, very polite and well behaved. Every single report on my children will attest to that, as a matter of fact they are often referred to as being too quiet. They have high morals and are highly respected and regarded. They don’t deserve what has been and is being done to them. Maybe your situation was different given your personality and attitude and your parents felt differently and that’s why they told you to zip up. I cant tell my children to zip up as it will make no difference because they are being targeted without saying a word and it has been like that for many years and it is coming from those higher up inside the Department. Why do people find it so hard to believe that my children are innocent victims? Surely you hear the news and hear what is happening in the Military, in Immigration in the Hospitals etc. There is a lot of bad out there, a lot of bias, discrimination, a lot of prejudice, a lot of misconduct and a lot of cover up.

Yes I did assume that you that you thought my children had social issues, your comments made me think that way!.   Goodness you even told me  how sensitive you believed my kids were and told me that you somehow knew my children were no more sensitive than you and that they would be okay  because you were okay. Trust me my children have a totally different personality than you! Even though all the research says to the contrary, you survived so that means that if another kid doesn’t, then its what,  their fault as they should have had a different attitude, or maybe their mothers fault as she should have taught them to accept being treated like a piece of dirt.    Well, I would ask – “How do you know?

Complaint handling procedures

One of the things that causes me extreme distress and despair is the fact that when complaints are not handled or dealt with fairly or properly it gives the impression that  there isn’t any real evidence and that it is just the word or belief of the complainant. It is a way of defaming and discrediting a  person.

I just want to point out that I have set out above a number of instances and given examples in relation to discrepancies, deletions, omissions, changes in scores  and issues with the documents and unfair manner in which my children’s applications  have been dealt with. There is so much more!   There are formal complaints and allegations in relation to applications and Appeals made  for Opportunity Class placement and Selective High School placement in the Years 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 in relation to 3 of my 4 children. Despite the fact that I have made formal serious allegations of bias and misconduct against certain members of the Department and formerly asked that they not be permitted to be involved in my children’s applications or appeals or involved in the handling of  the complaint as it is a conflict of duties, these people have continued to form part of the Selection Committees and Appeals panels in relation to my children’s applications and been permitted to continue to deal with the handling of the complaints and as a result my complaints and allegations are “not accepted

Education update, Should I be hopeful?

I just thought I would update you all on the matter.  On the 9th May I wrote to Mr. Brendon Nelson once again in relation to my children's and families matter.  I asked him why he was able to publicly comment and take action in relation to children who are failing and being marked up so as to not fail yet not be able to get involved or comment when its children being neglected, marked down, humiliated and denied opportunities on a systemic and continuous basis.

I received a response today from Mr. Alan Trudge it said:

Thank you for your letter of 9th May 2005 to the Hon Dr Brendon Nelson, Minister for Education, Science and Training, seeking his assistance in bringing your allegations against the NSW Department of Education and Training out into the open and having them investigated.  The Minister has asked me to reply on his behalf.

I note your previous correspondence and the matters brought before the Minister in your recent letter.  While the Minister is sympathetic towards your feelings of dissatisfaction and disappointment about your children's experiences in schools in New South Wales, he is unable to directly intervene in matters which fall within the responsibility of the NSW Minister for Education, the Hon Carmel Tebbutt MP

I have written to the NSW Minister's Chief of Staff to request an explanation concerning the procedures adopted to address the issues you have raised, and to see if there are any further avenues available to investigate your claims.  I will write to you again once I have received a reply from the NSW Ministers Office.

The FOI aspect of the matter is also listed for planning hearing on 9 August 2005 at the Administrative Decisions Tribunal and we will be Legally represented.  I am still unable to get them to acknowledge or accept the serious allegations of bullying and misconduct at this point - as far as they are concerned if they dont accept them and acknowledge them then they dont exist -  they just don’t want to know about it.

We will see what happens,  I hate it when I get my hopes up as then the disappointment is so much more severe.

RE: Rights - do they Exist!

Delseylass. If my previous post hadn’t of been changed and chopped my children wouldn’t have appeared to be socially inept. My children do not have social problems with their peers. They are very popular with their peers and very highly regarded by their peers, they are good role models and leaders, and they are also very competitive in sports. My daughters play the piano – they are very talented. They are not these stereotype nerdy gifted children with social problems.

All of my children’s peers know they are gifted (I truly hate that word) as it is obvious and they are always wanting to know what marks they get in order to compare their marks and that is where it causes my children so much humiliation and grief. When you are gifted and you are a high achiever and your external tests come back low and everybody is asking you for your mark it’s humiliating and very upsetting especially when you know that you produced quality work.  By the time you challenged your mark and found that it was wrong, its time for the next test.  My children live in fear of their results. When everybody is so sure that you will be successful in a place in a Selective School as it is obvious that you are gifted and you miss out its humiliating and extremely upsetting and because everybody knows that it is wrong it causes people to ostrasize you. The system is targeting and discrediting my children and my children want it fixed as they don’t want their younger siblings to have to suffer what they are suffering. My children are also in fear of their UAI being tampered with in the future and they have justifiable good reason to worry. They fear having to deal with the consequences of that.

 

My younger son suffers at school not because he doesn’t have social skills or he has an attitude problem but because he is very kind and sensitive and so many of the children at school are so rough, aggressive and wild, they seem not to care about who they hurt and who gets caught in the fall out and cross fire.  Its not personal to him, he just gets caught up in it because there is so much push and shove happening.  The teachers are also always screaming and getting angry at the class because they cannot control them and that distresses my child and gives him headaches and makes him feel sick as he feels unfairly punished as he is part of the class  and he isn’t doing anything wrong and it causes him to become physically unwell. My children cannot help the fact that when they are bullied and treated unfairly it affects their FEELINGS!  How do you sever a child’s feelings without breaking their spirit and without sending the message that is not okay to be who you are?

As I stated in my last post, my children now expect to be treated unfairly so it doesn’t have the same serious impact on their health, although it still hurts them and embarrasses them and humiliates them and join that with the normal problems of being a teenager and it creates a situation. What I can't understand is why everybody seems to only be able to see one side of it and tell me what I can do! What about the Department, they are the ones that are responsible for what is happening. Best interest of the child should always be of paramount concern? Surely we live in a country with Laws.  Isn’t it against the Law to tamper with documents and manipulate test marks in order to do harm? Do we not have a human right to be treated fairly? Why is it that bullies seem to not have to answer to anyone no matter how much harm they do and how many times they do it.

The system and process of complaints  is set up to protect bullies and everybody just accepts it turns it around on the parent or the victim. For goodness sake when are we going to realise that bullies need to be stopped as people have feelings and when feelings are hurt and people are neglected and targeted and nobody cares that’s when mental illness occurs.  How many people have to die? It's no wonder there is so much mental illness in our society and so many people opt out.

The alternative is to stop feeling and caring. I fear that that is what is happening and that is why there is so much bullying, hostility, war and problems in the world as nobody has been taught or is expected to stop to think about the victims and the fall out and to do what they can to protect them.

I think that the world could be a better place if only people were required to care enough to be fair.

The post was cut

The post was cut, the post was split and that was it, oh for a sit. Why was it so, she had so much a go, but cut to a bloody blow. The post was cut, thank God for thut, it was a pain in the butt, The post was cut, and given the axe, Shamish lots of thanks. The post was cut, smashed to splinters, lots and lots of splinters. Now what is left, a lot of wood, and if I could, Burn the lot, including the cot, that's the shot, for I have just got, An education, I don't need in this one nation that we are raisin'.

Individuals neglected by the system.

Dee, I agree that schools in their present state are limited in what they can do for extremely gifted students as the classes are often badly set up, schools are under-resourced, under funded, understaffed, the facilities in many schools are appalling, morale is low and unfortunately there are very negative attitude in the system towards gifted education because of this.   I do feel for teachers, it’s not an easy job in the present system and they, like the students deserve better.   I also realise that some schools are doing good things for their gifted children despite the difficulties.  Unfortunately my family has not come across those schools and we have  been black-marked, I have been branded a trouble maker and nobody is required to care about my children or family.

 

My children could cope with being educationally neglected if the teacher was nice to them, but not all teachers are nice!  Some years are  better than others but the years that are bad were a living hell.   My children cannot however cope with being targeted, bullied, marked down, put down, humiliated and treated unfairly on a systemic and contionous basis. 

 

You know that I didn’t make any complaints about the neglect of the education of my children until my daughter was in Year 3; even though my children were complaining and suffering I tried to teach them strategies to make their days more bearable.   Year 3 didn’t start of well as although the school had to put together a 3/5 composite and I had automatically assumed that they would put my daughter in it, as she was obvioulsy gifted and when she was in Year 1 at age 7,  she was professionally tested and her reading was assessed at high school level, she hit the ceiling of the test better than 12.6 years with 95% comprehension,   the 3/5 composite would have been a better environment for her, as she would have at least been exposed to the Year 5 work.    They put her in a straight Year 3 class instead     I was too scared to complain because like all parents I knew that if you speak up, the environment becomes hostile for both you and your children.    My daughter is a very mature,  very serious introverted child and the teacher was very sarcastic and my daughter did not find her sarcastic remarks funny and the teacher took a dislike to my daughter and was always putting her down, her answers were never good enough, her writing was never good enough – not at a high enough level for a child that was supposedly so gifted that is!  My daughter started not wanting to go to school, becoming very sick we were going from doctor to doctor, she was suffering and always complaining.  At half yearly report time the teacher made some comments on my daughters school report that really hurt my daughter and confirmed to me what my daughter was saying was true.  I was very upset so I wrote to the school in general about the neglect of the education of gifted children including my daughter and as a result the teacher started publicly humiliating my child about her intelligence making sarcastic comments in front of the class and even went so far as to pull her outside the classroom and told her very aggressively that “I hope you know that I am getting into trouble because you are bored in school!

All special

I believe that all children are special and as such should all be given an equal opportunity to allow each and everyone to shine in the particular field that is their gift or talent.

Re: All children are gifted

You know Heather I truly do believe that all children are gifted;  to different degrees and in different areas and scopes.  Everybody has a strength.

My children tell me that there are so many kids in their class who are very smart, but they dont know it. They think they are dumb. Some are just bad spellers or have bad handwriting. They don't realise that they are smart because in their areas of strength they are taught at average level or not at all. Everything is focused on their areas of weakness;  areas  that they struggle with and don't enjoy. So they actually don't go forward at all. They get frustrated and unhappy and they are hardly ever happy to go to school or while at school. Many misbehave, some get depressed. 

You know that I actually don't agree with the Selective schools like the ones that they have now. Children should all go to their local school and their local school should be geared to cater for everybody. I don't agree with testing for entry into high paced classes. Children should just apply and try as those that do better in an entrance test will be those that have had more exposure in the first instance and that's an advantage and it isn't fair. If the Department of Education after having the students in their care for 7 years dont know how to recognise their gifted students and they need to do a multiple choice test then that is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. 

Coaching totally mucked up the identifiying process for Selective Schools. The Department has set up a system that compliments certain cultures and gives unfair advantage. How can the Department seriously try to make people believe that coaching or practising for a test doesn't make a difference to the test results? If that's true then we may as well not send our children to school as it should make no difference to their outcomes in the tests . 

Imagine how much money would be saved not having to ferry children all round to schools miles from their home. Imagine how much easier it would be to catch a bus, train and to get around by car. Local schools, if properly managed can cater for all children they just need to be run properly, resourced properly and the teachers, like the students, need understanding and support.

So yes you are right, all children deserve to be given an equal opportunity to reach their potential.

unfair treatment in education

I truly believe that the Government hides behind this mental illness and uses it as an excuse to cover up. They can discredit a person without question or challenge.

I have been having issues with the Department of Education since the year 2000. Recently I had reason to call the Department of Education to chase an FOI Application that was overdue. I had an issue with the lady that I spoke to as she said it was sent to weeks ago and she wouldn't look or chase to check to see where her letter was, she told me to ring back after 2.00pm and she would give me the number and that I should chase the letter, when I questioned her about it being her responsibility to chase the letter she sent it she made a sarcastic comment about knowing all about “me

Advice, assistance, direction and support (I hope)

Jolanda, surely your local member would be a good contact point. If their advertising material is to be believed, they are to chat to and to represent you. S/he should be able to advise you on your best course of action and/or represent you as necessary.

Seems like it has gone on a bit, but have you met with your children's teachers/headmaster in person and discussed your concerns in a civil manner? Obviously your children are what is most important here, so don't let personal pride get in the way of reaching a settlement.

All the best with this.

RE: Thank you

Hi Joel. Thank you for responding - I do appreciate it. I tried the local member. He just wrote to those responsible at the Department and they wrote back with a tale that was a total misrepresentation of the facts and then he sent me a copy of that letter from the Department saying he hoped it satisfied my enquiry.

When I went in to see him again and took with him a letter from the Minister for Education that said that an investigation was to be commenced and that I would be contacted in relation to same and advised him that nothing had happened and that nobody would talk to me about it and showed him new evidence that supported my allegations he told me that he would write to the Department and ask them for the report on the investigation etc, as they were supposed to have done one. I then got a letter back from the Local Member enclosing a copy of a letter from the Department saying that extensive enquiries has been undertaken by the Department and that the matter had been deemed closed!. Our local member sent me a copy of that letter saying that because the Department had deemed the matter closed that he could not help me. Case Closed. The investigation has never taken place, the matter was closed internally by those responsible before any investigation took place and before the Department honoured the agreements that they made at the Administrative Decisions Tribunal. It's a cover up.

I have tried talking to the Principals. Trust me I have never been aggressive or demanding. I have always been civil - this problem started at school level but we left that school a long time ago. The problem is at Departmental level not at school level - I feel the schools feel helpless, they are all very understanding but say there is nothing that they can do. I am by nature a very civil person. I was told by a Principal of one of the schools that the matter had been deemed "outside the guidelines of the schools" and they could do nothing and were not allowed to get involved.

I can't reach a settlement or have the issues dealt with because they have closed the matter without addressing the issues and even new complaints of fresh instances of victimisation, vilification, bias, misconduct and bullying that come with an alarming amount of documentary evidence are filed away on the basis that they refer to the same issues already previously dealt with. My children are not protected.

Any ideas would be appreciated. Again thank you for taking the time to respond.