Friday, March 21, 2008

Will Someone Please Sit on This Man's Head?

Preferably while he's prone, but supine will do - as long as it stops Laurie Ferguson getting pronouncements like this out of his mouth:
"People fear there is a monoculture in some suburbs. They believe there is an over-dominance of some cultures in schools, which is denigrating the quality of education," Mr Ferguson told The Age [through its earpiece, reporter Jewel Topsfield].

"So they are withdrawing their kids from government schools and sending them to religious or selective high schools. This leads to further concentration of marginalised communities in government schools and the further stigmatisation of these schools."
Through the rest of the report Laurie is given ample opportunity to demonstrate seven shades of stupidity. Calling for refugees to be housed across a wider spread of suburbs sounds reasonable - until you ask the question, and where are these people going to find the community supports they need to get themselves settled, even integrated to a degree, in their new environment. And in the following statement, Laurie takes off into cloud-cuckoo land with his finger pointed in the general direction of a possible scapegoat:
Mr Ferguson told The Age [through its earpiece, reporter Jewel Topsfield] more needed to be done to avoid children from places such as Africa, who had grown up in refugee camps and had limited education, being so heavily concentrated in some areas and schools. "Deliberate policy decisions" needed to be made about diversifying the location of housing for refugees and humanitarian entrants.

He said settlement workers should also try harder to find private rental properties for their clients in a broader range of areas, rather than simply dealing with the same real estate agents. (emphasis added)
What makes him think that settlement workers aren't trying hard enough to find private rental properties for their clients? Hasn't he heard of the current housing shortage housing affordability crisis, or did that simply slip his mind?

When it comes to stupidity, The Age (through its earpiece, reporter Jewel Topsfield), shows it's no slouch itself, with this cursory investigation of the problem of "white flight" from the public education system:

The president of the Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals, Brian Burgess, said the exodus from state schools in Victoria was "more like a middle-class flight" than a white flight.

"It has more to do with middle-class people living in lower socio-economic areas moving into private education or what they would view to be a more upmarket secondary school in the next suburb," he said.

But teachers at racially diverse schools, who asked not to be named [by The Age (through its earpiece, reporter Jewel Topsfield or her offsider, Bridie Smith)], told The Age [through its earpiece, reporter Jewel Topsfield or her offsider, Bridie Smith] white flight was occurring in Melbourne.
There's nothing like investigating the facts and checking the evidence for yourself, is there? Nothing like it there at all.

Elsewhere, Andrew Bolt suggests that the term "white flight" is a misnomer. Excuse me, while I go off somewhere quiet to grind my teeth for a couple of minutes.

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